2017 Travels travel blog

Carpe Diem at America's Mailbox Campground

Downtown Lusk WY

Old RR Station in Lusk WY

US 85 in eastern Wyoming

Nice rock formation along US 85 in Wyoming

From US 85 north to US 18 east

Welcome to South Dakota

US 18 in western South Dakota

South Dakota 79 south of Rapid City

Arriving at America's Mailbox

AC unit with condenser fan removed

Kevin replacing condenser fan bearings

AC unit ready for reinstallation

Teddy Bear Town sign showing population of 10k bears

Carved bear commemorating 10k bear milestone

The three bears we donated to Teddy Bear Town

Sign showing up-to-date population figure

Teddy Bear Town

Teddy Bear Town

Teddy Bear Town


Tue, 30 May: Back "home" in Box Elder...

Today's short-ish drive took us from Lusk Wyoming to our "home base" in Box Elder South Dakota. We refer to this as our home base as it is where our mailing service is located and our official address. We don't get here very often, but this year we must spend thirty days "at home" to satisfy our legal residency requirements. Hence, we'll be here till late June.

It got fairly cool overnite in Lusk Wyoming where we were boondocking in the Outpost Truck Stop parking lot. We piled up an extra blanket and around 0330 turned the bedroom furnice on to low. Those two actions kept us warm and comfy. Despite being surrounded by trucks it was fairly quiet, even when our next door neighbor started and idled his engine for an extended period.

We arose around six and got ourselves and the coach ready. We started the generator for its monthly "exercise", and the AC power to run the heat pump was a nice bonus. Following breakfast we went thru our checklists and repositioned the coach so we could connect our tow car. That accomplished, brake and lite checks complete, Bob rolled wheels a few minutes after eight.

North on US 85 took us thru downtown Lusk, complete with its old railroad station that is beautifully preserved. North of town we continued 45 miles to the intersection of US 18, which we took east ten miles to the South Dakota state line. Once in South Dakota the road undulated and curved its way around the many hills native to this region.

We avoided most of Hot Springs by taking the truck bypass. A few miles east of Hot Springs we transitioned to South Dakota 79, which we took north fifty miles to Rapid City. Then US 16 Business Loop around the city to I 90 and today's destination, America's Mailbox Campground. We pulled into their driveway at eleven having driven 151 miles with an overall fuel economy of 8⅓ mpg.

As mentioned above, we'll be here till the end of June. We have no concrete plans, but intend to handle some business and play tourist a bit. We'll try to update this as the month progresses so please feel free to revisit...

Fri, 09 Jun: RVing is not maintenance free...

Nor are the repairs free! This week Carpe Diem has been in the "hospital" twice, one visit planned and the second courtesy of Murphy and his "Law".

The first visit was to Dakota RV, the local Winnebago/Itasca dealer and repair shop. We'd called a few weeks ago and set an appointment to bring the coach in to have both slide toppers replaced. Slide toppers are canvas covers that extend with our room slides to keep rain & other detritus off the top of the slides. Ours were getting a tad threadbare and cracked (UV really does them in) and during the high winds in Albuquerque and Denver they tore and needed to be replaced. This seems to be an every four to five year task, and Dakota RV claims to have a superior product to the factory original so we set up the appointment for Monday, 04 June.

Well, Murphy had other ideas... Saturday was quite hot and we were enjoying the cool air conditioned life inside. Sandi went outside for some reason and heard a noise that sounded like a couple of gravel trucks colliding with a trash truck or some such. It turned out to be coming from the air conditioner, so we shut it off. After letting things settle we tried to re-start it but all we heard was a loud hum and no air was moving thru the condenser. So, we sweltered Saturday & Sunday without a/c. Ugh!

So, on Monday we drove the seven miles to Dakota RV and Carpe was rolled into the shop by Kevin, a very experienced RV tech. By noon both toppers had been replaced. He then tackled the a/c unit and agreed with our diagnosis that the condenser fan had feized up. Parts got ordered and we set a return visit for Thursday.

Thankfully, the first part of the week was a tad cooler with overnite lows in the fifties. In short, we survived. Thursday we drove back to Dakota RV where Kevin removed the a/c unit (on our Itasca it is in the "basement" adjacent to the engine.) By mid afternoon the new condenser fan was installed, the remainder of the fans lubed and tested, the condenser and evaporator fins cleaned and "combed", and Kevin started the reinstallation.

All went well and by 1730 we were back in our site at Americas Mailbox and the a/c unit was humming away cooling us down. What really needed cooling down was our credit card. Both the toppers and a/c repairs left a major KA-CHING!

Fri, 23 Jun: Two weeks of ???

It has been two weeks since our last post. And just what do we have to report? Truthfully, not a great deal. We've not moved the coach and, really, we haven't moved ourselves all that much. Vegging is a good definition of our activities.

The "Cliff's Notes" version would include an enjoyable dinner at the Firehouse Brewery in downtown Rapid City with Americas Mailbox owners Don and Barb Hume. They're always so busy with their business during work days, so it was great to get them out of the "shop" so we could visit.

We did manage to accomplish a great deal of catching up with our finances. That seems to be an ongoing task and we're in the discussion and evaluation phase of turning some of our day-to-day portfolio management over to our broker.

Yesterday we drove to Hill City to visit Teddy Bear Town. This is the world's largest Teddy Bear collection, now in excess of 10,000 resident bears. We have donated three of our bears to the collection and were delighted that all three "live" right in the reception area where they can greet all visitors. Jackie, the "Bear Lady" was not feeling very well when we visited and we hope she'll be feeling better ASAP.

Which brings us to the present. We're on our "last week" here in Box Elder as we'll head east toward Iowa next Friday. There are a few things we'd like to do during the next week, but our serious R&R is also appealing.



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