2012 - 2017 Travel Map - Now in the Bad Lands National Park, South Dakota

Travel to Sioux Falls South Dakota – Got SD Drivers Licenses

July 11 - 17, 2017:

We traveled about 710 miles from Crawfordsville Indiana to our next major stop in Sioux Falls South Dakota.  We made 2 stops on the way; 2 nights in Galesburg Illinois and 1 night in Charles City Iowa.  

Our site in Galesburg Illinois.

On my morning walk I went around the lake where the RV park is.

The RV Park is owned by the city as is the water park.  We could get 4 free passes to the park per day of our stay.  We didn't use them but that is a great deal.

RV Park trail that I could do my interval walk on.

Now on to Iowa.

This a very odd RV Park.  It is right in town and was just $15 a night for 50 amp full hook up with our 50% discount!  The park was behind a liquor store.
You can see our rig in the back.

Believe it or not, the farther north we went the hotter it got.

Our site in Iowa.  Not bad for $15. Make note of our flower pots...

We went out to eat this place called Pub on the Cedar.  Cedar is the name of the river that runs through the town and the pub is on it.

The Cedar River from the deck at the pub in Charles City Iowa.

That was a quick trip for us but we lost a day flying to New Jersey for a really fun Birthday Party.  We really didn’t need to make the trip to SD that quick but we decided to get SD driver's licenses so we wanted to get to Sioux Falls on Thursday so we could have all day Friday get that done.

Our new official residence.

Tower Campground is where DakotaPost suggested that we stay.  It was a nice place and very close to everything in Sioux Falls.

Our site in Sioux Falls.  I think this may be the last picture of all our plants still in their Mexican pots.  Within a week we lost 2 pots. We lost Scarlet's pot here when a strong storm came in about 3am.  We had the awning out and tied down but that wasn't good enough!  We heard the wind start and we both jumped out of bed and were outside pulling in the awning.  However, Scarlet had already fallen from the picnic table.

We really had not made up our minds about re-making South Dakota our domicile state when we left Indiana.  We basically talked it over and made our decision to domicile in SD on our first travel day to Galesburg IL.   We have a few issues with a Texas domicile but our biggest issue is the Texas driver’s license requirements.  Texas requires anyone towing a trailer with a Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating (GCVWR) over 26,000 pounds needs to have a non-commercial CDL. We have a GCVWR of 29,500 pounds so we need the CDL license.  Also, the Texas Non-Commercial CDL will not allow an insulin dependent diabetic to get the CDL.  So Patty would not be allowed to drive the truck while towing in Texas.

South Dakota vehicle insurance is lower for us and they don’t have a vehicle and trailer inspection as does Texas now.   Vehicle registration costs and our mail forwarding costs are about the same in each state.  These all helped in making our decision.  Some negatives were that we just registered our vehicles in May in Texas and we didn’t really want to pay Texas and then SD for the same thing.  We had also just renewed our annual mail forwarding agreement with Escapees and now we would be paying to have 2 addresses.

We decided to just switch our driver’s licenses and wait on registering our vehicles.  We checked with our vehicle insurance company and they didn’t care where our driver’s licenses are from they just cared where the vehicles are registered.

So, for now we will have SD driver’s licenses, TX plates, and an address in both states.  Since neither SD nor TX has state income taxes we don’t really need to declare a domicile state right this minute.  Our plan is to wait until early 2018 and register the vehicles and get insurance in SD.  At that time we will start our termination with Escapees mail forwarding so that ends by the end of our contract with them.  By May of next year we will again be residents of South Dakota.  For now we are residents of whichever of the two states we want to be.

We also checked out all of the mail forwarding services in South Dakota before we settled on DakotaPost.  Originally we contracted with Americas Mailbox out of Box Elder.  We were with them for 4 years and were mostly satisfied. However, we didn’t find them to be very friendly and at times to be condescending.   The good thing though is that we never needed to talk to them very often so it was OK for then. But now we didn’t want to experience the same so we ruled Americas Mailbox out.

We picked DakotaPost because their site was the most professional and their rates were more understandable to us. DakotaPost also has a mail portal on the internet. Scheduling your mail delivery, changing your address, and managing your account can all be done on-line.  That was one of the downsides of the Escapees service, you either sent an e-mail or you called them, there weren’t any internet service options available. To give Americas Mailbox credit, they have an excellent internet site to manage your account.  If they didn’t have that we would have never made it 4 years with them.

On Friday morning, the 14th, we arrived at DakotaPost with all of our paper work ready to go.  We arrived around 11am and were met with Angel who I had been e-mailing for the past few days.  By 11:30 we had our new address and were out the door and ready to head to the DMV (ugh!).

On our way in to DakotaPost for the first time.

DakotaPost employees sorting mail.

Before we could go to the DMV we had to return to our RV Park and have them print us a receipt for our stay there with our new SD address on it.  This receipt is a requirement by the SD DMV to get a driver’s license.  Even the DMV in SD wasn’t too bad.  From walking in the door getting our licenses and back to the truck took about an hour.  Unlike the last time we got driver’s licenses in SD where we had to go to the courthouse to register to vote, we were now registered to vote at the DMV.  That saved us a bunch of time!

They have a pretty good way to make things work smoothly at the SD DMV.  You first get in a line to be triaged and given a number.  Once you are called you know you have the right paper work so it is very unstressful.

Now we have the entire weekend and Monday to explore our new city of residence.  We decided to celebrate the first night and eat out at a Hibachi grille which we love.  We tried a chain called Fuji.  It was a  4 out of 5 stars for us.  The only negative was that our server/cook was not as entertaining as what we have become accustomed to.  It was still a great night out at a hibachi grille.

The cook took forever to get this onion volcano lit.  I thought he may burn down the place with the amount of saki he was pouring on.

On Saturday the 15th we did a couple of things, had lunch at a farmers market, went to see the actual falls in Sioux Falls, and then we went to a free Jazz festival.  

We were under whelmed with the size of the vegetables here, very small and expensive!

Entrance to Sioux Falls Park.

The falls are very nice.  Not high or fast, just nice. 

These statues are all over town too.

The festival was less than 5 miles from us and parking there was very easy and free as well.  You could park a tad closer for $10 but we can walk still!  The only problem was that the temperature was just over 100F.  It was one of those dry heats so it wasn’t terrible, but it was still HOT! The festival offered live music from noon until the 10PM headliner who was Johnny Lang. We didn't stay that long.

We had to try monkey balls.

They were just OK.  They consist of a meatball wrapped in cheese and then in dough and deep fried. They maybe on to something but the meatball was too small and not enough spice.  It was sort of like deep fried cheese that happened to have a small piece of burger in it.  Ah, yeah, and they were $2 a piece!

Sunday the 16th we went for a bike ride on the city trail.  The city trail is just over 19 miles long and is paved the entire length and circles the entire city.  This is the second best bike trail I have seen anywhere!  The best is still the Pinellas trail in the Tampa area but this is South Dakota and it is cold over half of the year!  We went about 5 miles, 10 round trip before we had enough.  It was approaching 100F by the time we finished.

There was a zoo along the bike path and the buffalo were out!

Monday the 17th we played 18 holes of golf.  We played a city course and it was most probably the best public course we have played.  It was a little expensive for being in South Dakota at $54 each with a cart.  However, we just paid $35 because we teed off before 7am!  We would play here again.

This house was for sale on the course.  We just had to look it up online to see how much it was.  The asking price is just $2.6 million!  This house could hold 10 families!

Loads of very nice homes along the course.

Our tee time was 6:30am so we went out for breakfast at this very cool outdoor place close by.

We were in Sioux Falls for 4 nights, from Thursday the 13th to Monday the 17th of July.  That was long enough to get a basic feel for the city and to know our way around.  What we found here we liked very much.  If it wasn’t for the damn cold 6 months out of the year and no close by big body of water, we could live here.  So far we really do like South Dakota.

Next up we travel to the Badlands!

Stay Tuned! 

Crawfordsville Indiana (Family Visit 2nd half) and NJ Birthday Party Trip

June 27 – July 10, 2017: 

Back from getting the new suspension for the 5th wheel we have another week in Indiana with family.  

Needed to some surprise maintenance on our hot water heater.  I was draining the black tank when I saw that the water heater was dripping a little water, I decided to fix that.  The drip was coming from the original nylon plug so I tried to tighten it.  The nylon plug broke and now I needed to remove the plug that no longer had head on it!  Luckily, cutting very lightly against the threads was enough for me to just roll the old plug out!  Now off to Home Depot to get something brass to replace it with.

I replaced the original water heater drain plug with the brass drain valve pictured in the middle of the picture with a blue knob.  With my now 20/20 hindsight, I suggest that everyone throw away the original nylon plug and replace it with whatever you want in brass.  I was lucky that a hardware store was close by. 
Our original dinette chairs have storage under the padded seat.  The chairs need a couple of modifications for now instead of replacement.  For one, we will be adding foam to the seat that we will do at another time.  The more pressing modification is reinforcing the bottom.  The bottom of these chairs is just a fiber board stapled to the bottom of the chair.  I have re-stapled these bottoms several times in the past 5 years.  The bottoms come out because we put stuff in them that is too high and then we sit on the chair and blow out the bottom.

I came up this modification to reinforce the bottoms of our 5 chairs.  First I removed the bottom and all of the old staples.  I then cleaned the chair bottom and added wood glue along the entire circumference of the bottom.  I placed the original fiberboard back in and added nylon cross braces.  The nylon cross braces are just cut down wire ties that I screwed down with 1.5 inch wood screws.  I really don't think we will have any more problems with the bottoms now!

Last week we had each of the grandkids spend a night in our RV so we could get a little personal time with each of them.  So this week we (Patty) decided to take each of the 3 grandkids (girls) shopping for clothes.  We also went on a 10 mile canoe trip down Sugar Creek through Turkey Run State Park.  The following are some pictures of our family time here on our second week in Crawfordsville Indiana.

We tried a little Geocaching with the grandkids.  These are 2 we found in a cemetery in Crawfordsville.

Livy, Savannah, and Bailey hanging out in the RV

Patty and Livy out for breakfast.

Livy and I at breakfast.

Livy shopping.

The gang getting fitted with life jackets before the 10 mile canoe trip.

Livy and Dad Tony.

Savannah and Livy on the bus to the canoe trip start spot.

Tony and Tracy

Most of our trip was within Turkey Run State Park.  Covered bridge up ahead.

Foot path suspension bridge

Lunch time!

A bald eagle stood watch over us as we passed.

Another covered bridge

This happened a lot, Livy and Jocelyn running into the bank!

Tony and Tracy were the only ones to flip their canoe!  Patty and I just about did.  Amazingly the kids didn't!

Amazing what a flood brings down the river!

Livy and a canoe, just a nice picture.

Last covered bridge.  This was our end point.  Only took us 3.5 hours for the 10 miles.

On Thursday the 7th of July we had one more dinner with everyone and said our goodbyes for now.  We are leaving our rig at the campground here in Crawfordsville and are flying to Keyport New Jersey for our friend Rob Laughlin’s 60th birthday party.  His party is on the 8th Saturday so we are flying out of Indianapolis on Friday the 7th.  This is our first time flying on Southwest Airlines too!

For those who don’t know about Southwest Airlines, they don’t offer reserved seats.  They also only fly 737 (3 by 3) planes so they are pretty big but old.  Southwest lets you on board the aircraft by a group assignment and you take whatever seat you want.  The groups are 30 people each in Groups A, B & C.  Before boarding you are asked to stand next to lettered poles (A-C) that are labeled on each side with your number within the letter group.  We had A25 and A26 so we stood next to the pole side with A25-29.  On the other side were higher number of the A group.  So we boarded according to our letter and number group. We boarded in the first group as there is no first class.  We got pretty much any seat we wanted as the aircraft seats around 140 and there were only 80 seats sold.

We had an interesting experience at the gate in Indianapolis. We don’t know if it was due to the relatively small Indianapolis airport or if it was due to Southwest Airlines.  I think it may be due to both the size of the airport and the laid back nature of Southwest.  Our plane departure was at 8:30 but they were having a mechanical issue with the plane; couldn’t get one of the cargo doors closed.  We were told that our flight was pushed back to 9am but we were still going to be on-time in Newark!  Being on-time still was one thing but next we were told that the flight was going to be moved to another plane and we were not taking off until 10am.  This time we were not going to be on-time.  10 minutes later we were told they fixed the plane and that we would leave at 9am and that we would be still on-time in Newark!  I have never had that happen before.  My experience has been that if the airline changes the airplane then that is it, we never go back to the original plane and flight.  By the way, we left at 9am and arrived 10 minutes early in Newark!

Beautiful day in Indy and cold with rain in New Jersey.  That was the only time we had any cold on the trip though.

We liked flying Southwest and would fly them again.  The attendants had personality and were friendly.  They were also on the younger side of attendants we have had on other airlines in the past.  However, that could just be because we are getting older.  Our flights both ways were very non-stressful and actually relaxing. I can see why they get good reviews.

Rob blowing out his candles on his cake.  Cindy (wife), Leigh, and Leeann looking on.

We got back to Indianapolis, again ahead of schedule, at 8:20am.  We headed back to Crawfordsville to give our Grandchild Savannah her birthday gift before we hitched up to leave.  We had forgotten to give her a gift before we left on Friday so we made the short trip to give it to her.

By 11:30am we were heading west toward the Badlands in South Dakota as our first sightseeing destination.  We had an hour time change from Eastern Time to Central Time at the Illinois border so that helped.  Our first stop was a little over 200 miles in Galesburg Illinois.

OK, that is it for now.  Next post will be after we change our residence back to South Dakota in Sioux Falls SD.  I will write some on our decision as to why we are leaving Texas as a domicile and going back to South Dakota in the next post.

Stay Tuned!