Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Bad Day at Black Rock

Odometer 33251
Trip miles  282

What a day.  I hardly think I have any reason to complain after watching the news about the EF-5 tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma.

Even though we are somewhat reclusive, not by choice, but by circumstance, we certainly heard about the poor folks in Oklahoma.  Tonight we are in Plankinton, South Dakota and we have two TV channels, one of which is NBC news.  Our hearts go out to those who lost everything.

Joan and I left Forest City, Iowa, this morning and we compromised on our route for today.  Our goal was to get to Presho, SD by late this afternoon.  I wanted to keep going across Route 9 over to Sioux Falls, and after the punishment we got from the pavement coming in on 9 last Sunday, Joan preferred to take our chances on the Interstate.  The compromise was to take 69 north to 9, west on 9- 23 miles to 169 , and north on169 up to Blue Earth, Minnesota, where we got onto I-90 west.

Jeff glanced up and noticed that we now have a second crack in our windshield, right next to the first.  They start down from the top of the windshield above the driver.  The first one turned back up and we rejoiced, now this one is heading down, down, down.  Joan marked it's endpoint at when we stopped at Worthington, Minnesota for lunch with a permanent marker.  If you missed our last post, the cracks are due to rust forming on the window frame underneath the adhesive that holds the glass in. ( there is a lot of buzz on the internet with others in our same situation.)

The weather today is cloudy, with rain showers the temperature is chilly in the mid 50's.
We passed by the Porter Sculpture Park and the world's largest bull head- sculpted by artist Wayne Porter, the bulls head weighs 25 tons and took 3 years to build.

At about 2:30 in the afternoon, we drove into a storm and the wind and rain pounded down on us.  Joan had been driving and Jeff  was now behind the wheel.  We heard this thumping sound coming from the rear of the motorhome, and realized that the bedroom window awning was trying to unfurl!
Jeff quickly pulled over to the shoulder and sure enough the window awning was partially pulled out.  Jeff got out the ladder and, as you can see here, the wind is blowing fiercely as he trys to maneuver the awning back in and use tie wire to secure it in place. It is cold!
At times, Joan had to hang onto the ladder when I stepped off to keep the wind from knocking it down.  Jeff ended up wiring both awnings just in case.

Well it gets better.  We took off again and the wind was knocking us around a lot, and the rain was coming down.  We began to re-think our end point for today.  The wind gusts coupled with heavy rain were making it very stressful to press on.  We knew we had to stop and fuel up soon, so we scanned the exits as we approached each one.  Finally Joan said we are so close to a Passport America affiliate park (1/2 price!) let's just go on to Plankinton and pull off for the day.

When we took the exit we saw a Sinclair station, but as we passed we didn't see any diesel.  We noticed the RV park but elected to get fueled up first, so we crossed over the interstate to check on fuel.  On our way back by the Sinclair station we see a small sign $3.86/ gal for diesel- pretty steep.  On the other side of the freeway, nothing!  We couldn't even find a place to turn around.  We tried backing into a driveway going to someone's barn and only manage to get cross ways in the road.  As we are evaluating our situation, a local resident in a pickup truck suggested that we continue on down the road away from the Interstate another mile and a half take the next road left and it would take us onto the a paved road back to the Interstate.
I wasn't too keen on continuing becase the road became muddy gravel from this point, and a mile and a half would pretty much trash the outside of the bus and the car.  I relented, and we got straightened back out and headed down the road.  What a mistake- Joan took this photo as we started off on what we assumed to be a gravel road.  It got worse and worse until we were plowing through sloppy mud- and more rain falling.  I drove 15 miles an hour to keep the mud from flying too far from the wheel wells.

Okay- we got back to the pavement at the interchange east of where we started and there was a truckstop with diesel for $3.79/ gal.  I pulled in and started to fill, and immediately the nozzle burps back and soaks my right  pant leg!  What a great day.  I have to stand there in the driving wind and rain and nurse the diesel into the tank.  I look down the side of the MH and the mud is splashed up 3 feet, the wheel wells are dripping with mud.

We drove back to the Hills RV Park and chose our spot.  

Tough decision there is only one other rig in the entire park.  As I hooked up the utilities, my angel Joan hooked up our spare hose and rinsed off the MH and the car.  A glass of whiskey later, the world doesn't look so bad.  I look up and see the crack in the windshield has moved another 3/4 of an inch since we marked it at noon.  Joan takes Simple Green to my jeans as I take a hot shower and change into fresh jeans.

Warm and dry we have dinner and watch the coverage of the tragedy in Moore, OK.  The high point is the great outpouring of sympathy and help.  Neighbors helping neighbors, strangers helping because they can, and through it all, the indomitable spirit of those affected that refuse to classify themselves as victims.

On to Rapid City tomorrow,  on our way west!

Your Traveling Friends

Jeff and Joan

1 comment:

  1. Let us know if you coming By West Yellowstone MT?