The Great California Escape – Week Three and Four

When we decided that we couldn’t be in California another day and started out on our trek, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally never crossed my mind. We had business to take care of in Box Elder, South Dakota, next to Rapid City. The entire area is inundated with bikers in the first half of August. As the owner of a famous biker bar for over twenty-two years, I appreciate them more than I can say. However, my honey was not excited about sharing the highway with thousands of them while driving a motorhome. Finding an RV park to stay in anywhere in the area was also impossible, so we decided to putt around North Dakota for a bit.

Our first stop at the Camp on the Heart in Dickenson, North Dakota, wasn’t much of an RV park, but for a two-night stay, it worked. We had full hookups, and it was only $30.00 a night. The nice fella who runs the park works another full-time job, but he promptly answers his cell phone and is very accommodating. He told us to pick a spot when we arrived and that when he got home from work, he’d collect the funds for our stay. The weather was finally cool enough to sit outside, and Paddy was thrilled to be in his playhouse. I took a walk and met up with a couple of horses that had a blast sniffing my hair. I love the way I seem to be meeting up with horses and cows on my walks.

Our next North Dakota stay was at the Bismarck KOA. I requested that we have a site that would afford us satellite service, and it wound up being a mistake. The beautiful wooded sites were further from the highway and much nicer. The new full hookup sites have no problem with satellite reception because they are basically in a gravel parking lot. They are right next to the road. It was a nice park, and I used the laundry to wash sheets and towels. I’d chosen Bismarck because they were supposed to have the largest RV dealership in North Dakota. Their website listed nine motorhomes for sale there. That turned out to be a complete misrepresentation. We used Lyft to get there, and it was a complete waste of our time and money.

We are just being looky-loos at this juncture, but there was nothing to look at. The two motorhomes on the lot were nothing special. There weren’t any restaurants within walking distance, so we had to call for another Lyft. The good news was that Lyft was available. Many cities that used to have Uber and Lyft drivers lost them to COVID. It’s unfortunate. So many jobs gone that will never come back. Anyway, for those of you thinking about visiting North Dakota, Bismarck is a pretty large city with lots of shopping and restaurants, and there is plenty to do in the area. Without the luxury of a car to drive around, a four-night stay was plenty, and we headed to South Dakota.

The South Whitlock Resort in Gettysburg, South Dakota, was our next stop, and it was a nice one. There isn’t much to do in the area unless you like to fish and hunt. It was unseasonably hot like just about every place we’ve been. The park was relatively empty. The sweet gal in the store where you check-in told us that it had been so hot that the fisherman gave up fishing. She said the fish go so deep to get to cooler water that they are dead by the time they are reeled in. The store was loaded with fishing gear. They had every lure you could imagine. They also had many necessities available, which is good because it’s pretty much in the middle of nowhere. It’s a pretty park with easy access from the highway. Surprisingly, there was a great little restaurant right across the parking lot. We enjoyed visiting with the locals and ate there twice. I had a great place to walk. I walked down to the lake every day that we were there, and the walk back up the hill was torture. It was great, though. I love to feel the burn from a walk. However, after a few days of it, getting out of my chair was a challenge. I would gladly stay there again. Full hookups were only $27.00 a night. A little more extended stay would be great if we had a vehicle and could explore the area. Maybe next time.

Presho, SD, was our next stop, and the New Frontier RV Park was lovely. It, too, had a bar and grill within walking distance. Are you seeing a theme here? We love visiting with locals and enjoying good food and beverages. If I have a good place to walk, it is the icing on the cake. Our stay there was pleasant, and we almost stopped there again when we left Box Elder. We are changing our domicile to South Dakota, as I told you in my earlier post. A prerequisite to doing that is staying at least one night in Pennington County. America’s Campground in Box Elder has seen a lot of folks from California. America’s Mailbox does a lot of business there as well as the Escapees, which we belong to. While I was waiting to get checked in, I chatted with a man that not only had escaped California but had once lived in Shingletown. What are the odds of meeting someone in South Dakota from our tiny town?

The campground is pretty much a parking lot. We had full hookups, and Lyft was available to take us to the Pennington County Treasurers Office, where we switched our California plates to South Dakota ones. Our motorhome registration was $1000.00 less in S.D. When we find a tow vehicle, I’m sure that it cost a lot less for that too. Crazy Cali will tax you to death. We met a lot of people that were changing their domiciles. Our next-door neighbor was switching from Delaware. We met the sweetest folks from San Diego, and they were very helpful because they had already gone through the process. That is one of the best things about living on the road. You meet the nicest people from all over the place.

We are SO happy not to be in California and to be enjoying our trek across the country. We’ve experienced a variety of RV parks, and most have been good. We covered over 20 states staying in many places for only one or two nights on our first cross-country trip. We don’t roll that way anymore. We prefer to keep our miles down to 200 a day and spend at least two nights at our destinations. We’ve been amazed by how many campgrounds look empty on our arrival and then fill up, some people pulling in as late as 7:00 p.m. We try to be settled wherever we stay before 3:00. The next day those same people are gone by 10:00 a.m. We are so blessed to be taking our time. We’re flying by the seat of our pants in many ways. Sometimes I don’t make our reservation until the day before we leave. So far, that’s working just fine.

Thanks for tuning in and taking this voyage with us. I’m excited to bring you along. It’s easier to post all of my pictures on our Facebook RV Road Trip with Tom, Cat, and Paddy page, so if you want to see them all, be sure to check it out.

God bless you. Keep on praying and believing. God’s not done with us yet.