Sunday, June 7, 2009

We are Now So-Daks!!

Roger here...  We are a few days behind with our blogs and have a lot to report.  It is raining right now, so hopefully we will have some time to catch up.  This blog will cover the three-day (two-night) trip from Arkansas to Sioux Falls, where we obtained our South Dakota drivers licenses and became residents of South Dakota, as illustrated by our new cowboy hats!

Due to the fact that we have been, and will be, staying in some pretty pricey campgrounds, costing more than we have budgeted (New Orleans, Sioux Falls), we needed a few less expensive overnight options to even out the costs.  Full days of driving en-route to a destination are an ideal time to "Walmart" it.  (In our case the destination was Sioux Falls, SD).  In the RV world it is pretty well known that most Walmarts allow overnight RV parking, benefiting from the inevitable purchases that the RVers make in their stores during the stay.    For the RVer it is simply a matter of arriving in the early evening and finding a spot as far away from the entrance as possible.  In our experience, there are usually several other RVs in the lot, forming a mini-parking area.  The etiquette is that you go into the store to ask permission, and that you do not do anything other than park - no opening slides, putting down jacks, getting out lawn chairs, setting up the grill for a barbecue, etc.  We generally feel pretty safe in the well-lit lots, especially if there are other RVs nearby.  If we ever have a bad feeling about one of the parking lots, it is merely a matter of putting the key in the ignition and leaving.  

Day One...  The trip was pretty uneventful.  We traveled from Ozark, Arkansas to a Walmart in Harrisonville, MO - just south of Kansas City.  We traversed through beautiful, green mountains and forests in Arkansas, traveling through Fayetteville, home of the Razorbacks.  We then entered southwestern Missouri, where the terrain flattened and looked more like our home in central Indiana.  We intended to stay in Nevada, MO, but it was too early to stop, so we drove for another hour, arriving in Harrisonville, where there were six other RVs in the Walmart lot.  After the stop we went into the store and bought a week's worth of groceries.   (Dianne here -- Before we left the next morning, I even picked up some debris in the grassy area next to our RV, so that we left the spot better than it was when we arrived -- another "etiquette" thing about Walmarting.)

Day two...  We left the parking lot at about 10:00 a.m. for a second full day of driving.  We were soon in the Kansas City area.  The route took us across the state line into Kansas for a few miles.  We then entered Iowa, where we traveled for the rest of the day.  We stopped at one of the Sioux City, IA Walmarts, bought a few items, including a new battery for my watch (can't stand not knowing what time it is) and retired early.   (Another Dianne note:  Roger's "anal-retentiveness" was in full force when he was without his watch.  He drove me NUTS until he got a new battery.  I kept reminding him that he was now retired and didn't even need a watch.)

Day three...  Our destination at Sioux Falls was only a couple of hours from Sioux City.  So, we slept a little later than normal.  Shortly after departure we entered South Dakota, soon to be our new official residence.  Our arrival in South Dakota marked four new states for our motorhome in a little more than two days.  (See the photo of Dianne adding the new states to our map.)  We use this map for states the MOTORHOME
 has been in with us, since we have already each been in most of the states before now.

  Along the way we passed the small town of Beresford, South Dakota that we will mention again in a future post.  We were scheduled to stay at the Jellystone Yogi Bear RV Park and knew that we would be arriving before check-in time.  Dianne called ahead and received permission to check in early   :-).  Our early arrival allowed time for us to accomplish several of the nuts and bolts tasks that prompted our trip to Sioux Falls.

  Our first stop was to pick up our mail from the very efficient mail forwarding service, Alternative Resources, that we have been using since we left Indiana last December.  We then walked a few doors down to the Department of Motor Vehicles, where we waited for a while and received our new South Dakota drivers licenses.  (Dianne will tell you about a really cool experience that she had at the license branch).  We then walked to an insurance office in the complex to discuss changing our auto insurance from Indiana to South Dakota, which Dianne did later in the day by phone.  Finally, we stopped by Barnes and Noble to buy a few books using a gift card that I received from friends when I retired.   It was great to get the mail/drivers licenses hassles out of the way a day early, allowing us two full days to explore Sioux Falls. 

Dianne here -- Here is one for the "Small World" department:

As we entered the license branch, I was dismayed to see an entire ROOM FULL of people waiting their turn.   We had gotten so spoiled by our local license branch in Pendleton, Indiana, who are always very efficient, friendly, and there is usually not a terrible wait.  We filled out our paperwork and took a number.  There were five or six workers processing the applicants.   The woman on my end, who appeared to be in charge, was very "no nonsense", to put it kindly.  However, after waiting a while, I saw how expertly and quickly she was moving the large crowd, so my opinion changed, but  I still secretly hoped I would get another clerk!

Roger's number was called first, and he went farther down the line to be processed by a woman named Cheryl.   I sat wondering how it was going and awaiting my turn.  After a while, he motioned for me to join him in line with his clerk, which I was more than happy to do.   

In making polite small talk, Cheryl had asked Roger where we were from in Indiana.  After describing where Pendleton is, she asked if we had ever been to the Covered Bridge Festival in Rockville, Indiana (western part of the state, for you non-Hoosiers).   He said no, he had never been to it, but that his wife had, because some of her ancestors were from that area.  She asked what their name was, and when he said "Davies" she asked him to bring me over to her line.  Turns out, Cheryl has been to the Davies Reunion as a child (as I have -- possibly even the same one?) and she is related to me!!   What are the odds of that??  Even more, what are the odds that we would even have made the connection that we were related, in a simple paperwork transaction??  

During my turn, Cheryl and I  had a good discussion about our 
Quaker roots 
and our common Davies relatives.   I could tell she has read the same Davies geneology and history report that I have a copy of.   I'm including a photo of the old Quaker meeting house in Bloomingdale, Indiana (outside of Rockville) where Cheryl's and my Davies ancestors attended.   Roger and I took this photo a couple of years ago when we were camped at Turkey Run State Park.   For my cousins who follow the blog, Cheryl is descended from the "Finney" or "Findlay" branch of the family -- I forget which she said, and I don't have the family history with me to check which it is.

Check back soon as we catch up on our blogs and describe our tourist days in our new home town of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

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