The Devil’s Tower hikes in the early am are really awesome. As long as your 6 year old isn’t whiny. Also avoids 94 degree August afternoon weather….
We are staying at the Devil’s Tower KOA. It conveniently located RIGHT outside the gates to the National park.
So we took our RV up to top of Devil’s Tower park at about 8am and there were really only climbers getting ready in main parking lot. There were very few people around for our hikes. Lower section was similarly empty.
Unfortunately, the visitor center up top was closed (Covid – Ranger shows up outside at 9am) so we couldn’t get National Park Sticker, but we did get cancellation stamp for kid.
We started on the 1.3 mile tower trail and the 6 year old incessantly whined about wanting to climb the boulders and the tower. Incessantly.
Honestly, I just wanted a nice walk on the trail.
And enjoy the views (which were really awesome) in peace and quiet. Doesn’t everyone (but 6 year old) want a quiet walk?
Finally, my husband just went bouldering with the kid just get him to stop whining at us. Ugh.
We have now promised kid climbing lessons when we get home.
Honestly, we need to get back into shape too. But oh the whining this morning….Staying on the path/trail apparently was THE worst thing we have ever asked him to do….
Of course the deer and her fawns didn’t seem to be very interested or impressed by our presence or kid nattering.
After doing the Tower Trail hike we headed down to do Prairie Dog Town. The Valley View Trail was only .6 miles. It wasn’t that cool of a hike. But I did enjoy the sculpture,
4. A bunch of the cheap ass drawer locks are broke; and now…
5. The Outdoor Awning.
A bolt and the end cap came off and wires were loose. Ok. It got stuck extended out. If we can’t get this awning thing fixed we won’t be going anywhere….
We tried zip tying wires and cap (Good Sam guy also recommended – more on that below).
Zip tied wires up – still wouldn’t work.
Undid zip ties. Tried to retract – no good. So then we read Thor manual. We checked fuses. We looked online. There was no awning manual included with our RV manuals. Also, more on that in a minute.
We called the Thor “Elite” service (they are on East Coast time – and Thor was closed for the day – they couldn’t tell what type of awning we had).
The Elite guy (Tom- very helpful BTW) and I couldn’t find the brand of awning on google. The brand isn’t visible on the awning itself. He (Tom at Elite) said be getting back to me tomorrow (Friday) (fingers crossed) after he called Thor.
We called Good Sam early Thursday afternoon. They said they’d get back to us. They didn’t. We decided to try again in Friday am. We then went to bed frustrated.
But wait, there’s more….
Ok, it’s now Friday morning. And last night SUCKED. Wind and a storm came in at about 2:30am. There was lightening and rain. And remember the AWNING is STUCK in the OPEN position. We don’t want that thing to tear off or blow into neighboring RV.
We don’t have an awning manual.
We can’t find anything on youtube.
We get the motor end cap off – but can’t figure out how to get the thing to retract. This just sucks.
I call Good Sam (again) – this time they manage our call/request. We end up having a mobile repair guy get here at about 4am. He does something to wires, says to zip tie end cap again and deal with it when we get back from trip.
Awning is broke for the remainder of trip. But at least we can drive this thing. And we of course have to pay for mobile repair service trip.
This morning’s pictures –
Elite guy (Tom) called back first thing this Friday am. He had been hard at work and talked to Thor and got awning manufacturer information.
The awning is made by Carefree of Colorado. “Specially” for Thor. Model Latitude – OEN. Dual Pitch. Carefree’s tel is 303-469-3324. I’m feeling real “special” right now….I probably need another cup of coffee.
Elite guy also got awning manuals and wiring information to me.
This guy was awesome. He e-mailed me the PDFs. We’ll review tonight (because I’m working on low sleep today…).
But our awning is still broke and now I need to order parts from Carefree so they can be waiting for our service stop.
The RV house side thing sometimes kinda sucks. I oscillate between this is fun and WTF broke now? Perhaps on a Saturday with some sleep I’ll be more chipper.
But damn. I’ll try to regain some perspective tomorrow – after more sleep.
We are staying at Rushmore View, which is an interesting/quirky tiny RV stop. We are here for four days. The RV office people were absolutely lovely. But it is a SMALL RV park – in fact they say right on their website – “Built in the days when RV’ing was car-camping and compact motorhomes, most sites are short and close together.” No fooling. There was truth in that advertisement.
Totally reasonable distance to right side neighbor….
But…we kind of like it. Walking distance (less than a block) to a laundromat (totally empty of people in am in August). A little convenience store – and this cute little creek thing runs right behind us….
I was ticked because originally we booked a pull through spot here that I immediately hated (#27). ‘Cause nothing ever goes as planned….
Once they changed it – I’m perfectly content. Go figure.
Anyways, we like Keystone, SD. You can pretty much walk everywhere in town tourist trap wise.
The boys panned for gold at Big Thunder Gold Mine while I worked at this little,!funky, rinky-dink RV spot.
So mom told me that power outs at RV places are typical. She was right. This is our third real RV camp stop …and we lost power.
We had bought a Temp Stick. This sucker is easy to use and alerts your phone via app if temp in RV gets too hot (we set ours at 80).
Yes, we have auto generator start for certain temps, etc., but we also leave elderly dog in RV with air on while we go goof off for an hour or two. And nobody needs a tech malfunction in this scenario.
While we didn’t need it this time…I’m glad I got this as backup so I don’t inadvertently as mom said “cook my dog” in the heat. Vomit. Shudder. And now you know where I get my Snark from….
I need to get this Blog organized. Truly. But I’m going to start posting about boondock stops we love. We had pulled into Love’s Truck Stop…and pulled right the hell back out because it was FULL of the Sturgis/Covid Rat (aka Soon to be Donor Bikes) Crowd.
Don’t post here re anti-motorcycle stuff. My husband, father, and I have all owned motorcycles (including Harleys).
That being said – Sturgis this year was DUMB. Seriously Darwin at his finest. DUMB. Anyways, we are dodging that Covid rat crowd as we travel through SD. We even wore two masks in Wall Drug – because those idiots were THICK in there and maskless. Dumb.
Anyways, we ended up staying/boondocking at a BP lot called Coffee Cup Fuel Stop in Hartford, SD that was wonderful. Truly.
So we made a “friend stop” in Illinois. First, it pays to have awesome friends. Gratitude. Second, this post should be sub-titled “excellent product discoveries via other more experienced moms…”.
So we were introduced to some truly awesome, easy to load, water balloons. They load about 40 – 60 or so at once off of a hose and self-tie. SELF-TIE! These suckers rock. Ordered some that are waiting for us when we get home.
We also learned about non- paper, but marine biodegradable in 50 days straws. This stuff rules – and no icky mouth feel. Love ‘em.
We had a really great time visiting. We were really sad to have to leave so soon. We are hoping we can hang longer (maybe meet in Wis Dells?) next year!.
We have now been living out of RV for about/over two weeks. Some stuff is still broken. But some things GParents were able to help us make, fix/modify.
We needed interior step cover so elderly dog didn’t fall to her doom while we are driving.
We had been using beanbag chair – that was too big. GParents suggested we make a step. This was a three day build because of stain, polyurethane, glue drying issues. The whole family worked on this one. Looks easy – but….
It worked PERFECTLY. Looks good. And does not rattle – a nice snug fit.
Also, we had Callie’s stitches removed while we were here.
Head stitches are out.
Things that haven’t worked out:
First sewer hose.
First water hose – same problem. Too short.
Banging curtain on sides of house needed weatherstripping:
Bought chocks. Not sure if necessary, but….
Boppa made wood pads for jacks:
Mirror magnet didn’t work – new magnet.
Needed additional magnet for when those heavy paper cups tip over? Not even kidding.
Needed temp curtain (thank you Grandma Kathy) until we can figure out how to purchase permanent one. Why this wasn’t included with a new RV purchase?
And the damn Dinette/bed. It does not lay flat. Cannot be pushed down or cusions changed to go flat. We have tried.
Sleeping on it was impossible for the kid. Pushing it down wrecked edges of table (this is some cheap POS).
So GParents gave us cushion mattress to go over top of table. And we are sticking beanbag in space to fill gap.
No idea who thought this design up. Design and construction for this just sucks.