Saturday, June 18, 2011

Heading East + GPS Review

Hi all, Dianne here.  Check out the "other" Falls Park in our adopted hometown -- (for the uninitiated, our former hometown (Pendleton, Indiana) also had a Falls Park and waterfall in town).  The park above can be identified by the beautiful pink granite that makes up Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  The falls are really gushing right now, due to all the rain that has occurred in this area.  

 In fact, the reason we went to Sioux Falls and not Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota is due to the flooding Missouri River.  Record snow melt and flooding rains have closed many roads and campgrounds where we had planned to go.  Guess we'll have to make that trip another year.

Once we drove east from the Badlands a bit, the terrain flattened out and, though still pretty, started to become monotonous.  

I got the brilliant idea to play our iPod playlist using the dock.  Good idea, but just as we were really getting into some of our new iTunes (James Durbin) the battery in the dock failed, and then we were back to monotony.  Gotta remember to charge it before we hit the road!  

Once the music was gone, I got out one of our favorite road games.  We bought this auto bingo game years ago, when we traveled with our girls.  They never wanted to play it, but Roger and I over the years have used it from coast to coast, trying to get through all five pictures of every cube in a trip. We've never played it as intended (Bingo).  One year, on a trip home from Idaho, we even drove around the block in Pendleton, Indiana (our former hometown) when we arrived, in order to turn the last square (a barber pole that we knew was there).

  The picture above shows some of the easier squares.  As the cubes turn over to different sides, the items get more and more difficult to find.  What can I say?  I still think it's fun!  We tried audio books on one trip, but it made Roger sleepy -- not a good thing when you're driving a huge motor home down the highway.  

We intentionally crossed the Missouri River on I-90, feeling that was the safest area to get across. We decided to stop in Sioux Falls to get our motor home title updated (it was paid off in 2009, but still had the bank's  name on it).  While in the court house, we even registered to vote.  Hopefully we won't get called for jury duty in South Dakota in the dead of winter!

Roger here...  The trip all the way across South Dakota was actually Plan C.  After abandoning Roosevelt National Park due to water, Plan B was to cross the Missouri River in the middle of South Dakota on I-90 (which we did), and then head straight north on local roads to Highway 2 in North Dakota.  The night before our departure from the Badlands area, I did some checking on the computer.  Every county going north from I-90 in SD and ND on the planned route was under a severe flood warning along the James River, and further rain was in the forecast.  Some of the roads were surrounded by water to the point that cars needed to take turns crossing the narrow stretches.  Not worth the risk.  Besides, there was the mundane paperwork to take care of in Sioux Falls. Nice to have that done.  Nice to be able to vote again.  Back to Dianne...

No trip to Sioux Falls is complete without visiting the lovely park and falls, so while there we walked through the park and stopped for lunch overlooking the falls.

From Sioux Falls we headed north on I-29 and spent a $10 overnight (with full hookups) at the Dakota Magic Casino in North Dakota.  (R:  Finally, a night in North Dakota, albeit only one.)  We've never overnighted at a casino before.  It's probably a cheaper choice for us than wineries, because we're not tempted by gaming. We've read that it's a good deal.  Some are free, and the buffets are usually cheap for an easy travel meal.  

We'll probably stay at a casino again sometime, but might skip the buffet.  The food was plentiful, and they were featuring snow crab legs (all you can eat), but the waiting in line, cramped dining room, smoky interior, and just-okay food wasn't worth the hassle or the $15 each.  (R: I did a lot of grumbling waiting in the line -- lots of empty tables, but no hurry to seat people.  Also, I ate way too much greasy fried seafood that was not on my diet and not really that good.  I must admit, though, that the soft-serve frozen yogurt at the end of the meal was a highlight.  Tasted soooo good.)

I'll let Roger finish the blog with his review of our new Rand McNally RV GPS (spoiler:  he LOVES it!)

Roger here, again....  What a difference!  Waldo rocks in so many ways!  He speaks clearly, thoroughly and logically.  We don't wonder about what he means to say.  There is a boatload of information on the display screen, including the current speed limit, our speed, miles to go, info about our next maneuver, and the ability to easily, look at the next three turns.  It is simple to program.  I have been using the POI (point of interest feature).  So far, all three of our camping destinations were POI's that were actually on the GPS, so programming involved only a few clicks. 

It is advertised to be programmed specifically for RV travel.  So far, that has been true.  When I made an adjustment to the route, Waldo recognized what I was doing, and immediately reprogrammed and did not insist that I make a u-turn.   Waldo verbally warned us of a speed zone ahead.  He also warned of some (not all) of the construction along the route.  I think this will be better after I update it on the Rand McNally website.  Oh, and the tether connecting Waldo to the 12 volt battery doesn't fall out and drop to the floor when we enter a heavily-congested area.  

Dianne again:  Here's a link to Amazon if you want to read reviews and learn more.  We bought ours directly from Rand McNally, because Amazon didn't carry them yet.  I think the price is similar.

We decided to continue to use Sacajawea in the car.  We may change our mind about that:  In Sioux Falls, she did not recognize the county courthouse as a POI, and she made several routing mistakes. She identified the destination on the wrong side of the street, told me to turn right when she meant left.  Ugh!  I was tempted to throw her into the falls, but that would be littering, wouldn't it?  

The pet photo of the day shows Bandido peeking out from under the driver's seat, where he had gone to spend quality time with Charlie (who was hiding under the driver's seat to get away from Bandido!)


Margie and Roger said...

Glad you like your new GPS - I think we need one too!

Don't worry about being called to Jury Duty in SD. We have both been called and the form you receive will tell you to call a number and then you hear a pre-recorded message telling you to write "full-time RV" on the form and return it and you don't have to go for jury duty at that time.

Mike and Terri said...

Glad to hear you like your GPS and appreciate your review.

Absolutely love your picture of the day and the story behind it. LOL.

Nancy and Bill said...

Sorry your plan trip had to be changed:o(( But how cool is it that you can just start a new adventure in a new direction and plan to return in the future to see the things you missed:o))

Safe Travels and Happy Trails.....

Sue Kyes said...

If you are in Minnehaha county and they see your home address is a mail forwarding, effective this year,they don't even send you a jury duty notice. Be sure to call when you get to Duluth. Sue

Gin and Syl said...

We've been leaning towards getting that GPS. I think you may have just pushed us over. :) Travel safe.