Minnesota

Current Location: Jackson KOA, Jackson, Minnesota

We were on the road around 8:00 am this morning and made it to our next destination just in time for lunch. These relatively short drive days (200-220 miles) make for a relaxing day on the road. Also, we get to the next destination without having to stop to fuel up the truck on the road. We typically unhitch when we arrive and run the truck into town to fill it up.

IMG_6848

Jackson MN KOA

The KOA here is nice. Fairly open, but still has some trees around. We decided to catch up on laundry by using the campground washers while they weren’t busy. We brought our wet laundry back and have been drying it in our washer/dryer all afternoon. Saves a few quarters and standing around the laundry room.

 

Minnesota – Our 33rd State

Current Location: Wagner Park, Barnesville, Minnesota

We were up and going this morning about normal time (8:00 or so pulling out). We’ve been having a little trouble getting our off-door slide to come in (more on that later), which put us behind a little bit. Malcolm tried a couple adjustments before we left the campground, but those didn’t help. We got everything going and headed down the road.

Last night, when driving to the gas station to fuel up, the low Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) warning came on. It gives you 500 miles to put more DEF in. We decided to just stop in a truck stop along the way and use the bulk DEF pump today. We did that about 40 miles down the road. Malcolm paid for the DEF and what little fuel we needed after a short hop.

The truck still said the DEF was low (even though it appeared to overflow when filling it). We stopped later at another truck stop and Malcolm bought a 2 1/2 gallon jug of DEF and poured just a couple ounces in before it, too, overflowed the filler neck. Malcolm put the jug in the back of the truck and decided we would probably have to have the truck looked at somewhere. Once re-started, the truck decided it was happy that the tank was full and the warning went away. Oh well.

We arrived at the campground here in Barnesville, which is run by the city. You pick up an envelope on the way in, find a spot and set up, put your money in the envelope and drop it in the box at the entrance. Our fee for one night was $22, which is a bargain for 50 amp electricity, water and sewer hookups. The park is nice and quiet and well kept.

Our site

Our site

Malcolm decided to look into the slide problem some more. After trying a couple of adjustments, he finally figured out that the hydraulic ram that pushes the slide out was pushing it too far, which caused the slide floor to go past the roller on one end and dropping behind the roller. When pulling the slide in, the slide floor had to jump back over the roller. The pressure being exerted by the hydraulic ram pulling the slide in over the roller was causing the bracket to bend (and would have eventually broken somewhere).

Malcolm adjusted the bolts on the slide ram which limits how far the ram will push or pull the slide mechanism. He set the adjustment so that the slide ram gets to its full extension before it can push the slide past the roller. After a few tests of running the slide in and out, Malcolm declared it a success. We’ll keep an eye on it to see if there are any further adjustments needed in the future.

Tomorrow, we head on to North Dakota, which will be our last new state this trip (and probably this year). Our son-in-law has been keeping us up to date on the wildfires around Lake Chelan, Washington, which is where they are headed this weekend and where we are headed on Sunday. Hopefully, the fires and smoke will dissipate by then.

Adding Minnesota to our map

Adding Minnesota to our map

Downtown Barnesville, MN

Downtown Barnesville, MN

Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, Corn

Current Location: Lake Mitchell Campground, Mitchell, South Dakota

We got up this morning with the sound of distant thunder in the background. Looking outside, we could see rain heading our way. The Weather Channel radar verified that we had until about 9:00 AM to get underway if we didn’t want a soggy departure (though it did storm off and on through the night). We rolled out of the campground a little before 9:00 AM and hopped on I-35 northbound.

As we got to the northern-most exit in Iowa on I-35, we stopped for a break at the rest area and browsed the gift shop. Iowa has about the nicest rest areas on the interstates that we’ve run across so far in our travels. We were impressed by the number of huge power generation windmills we saw through Iowa, Minnesota and especially in South Dakota.

Today, we traveled up to I-90 and headed west on it. We’ll be following I-90 all the way into the Seattle area. It was spitting rain off and on during the trip. There was a short period of headwind, but mostly it was blowing from the south and hitting us on the driver’s side. Fuel mileage improved to nearly normal today.

We decided to do a little easier drive today, since we are nearly a day ahead of schedule. Instead of pushing for Kennebec, SD, which was our original planned stop for tomorrow night, we stopped 100 miles east of that in Mitchell, SD. One reason was to check out the Corn Palace. Malcolm’s grandparents had visited it during some of their travels and Malcolm wanted to see it for himself. Might as well do a few sightseeing things while we’re traveling.

Site 0 (zero) in Lake Mitchell Campground

Site 0 (zero) in Lake Mitchell Campground

Once we parked the trailer in site #0 (zero) in the Lake Mitchell Campground, we headed out to eat dinner at The Depot. After that, we visited the Corn Palace and a candy store right  down the street (like we didn’t have enough candy already from Wakarusa). On the way back to the campground, we stopped by a grocery store and picked up a few needed items.

The Corn Palace

The Corn Palace

The Corn Palace is, essentially, an entertainment arena. The claim to fame is that each year the outside and inside murals are changed and decorated with corn cobs, grains and grasses. In the picture, above, the street beside it is blocked off because they are still working on some of this year’s murals down the side of the building.

Our license plate game didn’t garner as many hits today. I-35 and I-90 were not very busy. We didn’t have nearly as many people passing us, especially trucks. We got 24 out of 51 (including D.C.) plates today.

Today's license plate wins

Today’s license plate wins

Tomorrow’s planned destination will probably be somewhere around Gillette, Wyoming, if not a little sooner. We are going to attempt to visit Mount Rushmore on the way through the area by just parking and visiting, if they have an available long vehicle space.