Thursday, May 20, 2010

From South Dakota

The Blue Ox folks refurbished both our TruCenter steering control and our tow bar yesterday, returning the latter about 5:30 p.m. There was no charge for either service, and we had two free nights in their full-hookup RV park. So, our only cost was going about 500 miles out of our way to go to Pender, NE on our way from Benson, AZ to Rapid City, SD.

The tow bar is clean and shiny and has two new handles, with all the hinge points tightened and checked for safety. I’m very pleased with this service.

The TruCenter is another matter. When we left Pender this morning, I was anxious to see if it worked. We’ve had this device for almost a year and have never been able to feel its effect. The initial installation last July was done incorrectly, which caused the wiring to pull out. After the wiring was re-routed by a second RV shop, we still couldn’t feel any discernable effect. We had it checked by two other shops, both of which confirmed that it was installed right. Blue Ox techs took it apart, found some water inside, replaced a solenoid and a few other parts, and re-installed it.

With a mild cross-wind, I pressed the button. I felt a slight improvement in the steering, but I was still having to pull the wheel to the right against the wind. I tried it several times on different roads and going against the wind in a different direction. Still, I couldn’t feel a real effect on the steering. When Don took the wheel, he said he could feel it working. Oh, well, maybe I’m expecting too much. But for a $1300 purchase and 4 service calls, I think I should really know that it’s working!

We’re spending tonight at the American Creek Campground on the Missouri River in Chamberlain, SD. I stayed here about 6 years ago in my Montana 5th wheel. We have some nice views of the river from our windows.DSCN2109 DSCN2111

Below is the site originally assigned to us when we checked in. But the manager’s bifocals weren’t working very well in reading his computer monitor; he didn’t realize the Alfa had already been given the site.DSCN2112

We had dinner across the river at Al’s Oasis. This family-owned restaurant/market/gift shop has an interesting history. Read about it at

The sun is peeking out from behind the clouds, and there’s a little wind, but this is one of the prettier days we’ve had recently.

Tomorrow we have about 215 miles to go to Hart Ranch, our legal “home base,” where we’ll be for 2 weeks. We will have driven almost 2,000 miles since leaving Benson, AZ on May 6, about 2 weeks ago. It’s time to sit still for awhile!

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely time to sit still for a while! Glad you got the service on your Blue Ox tow stuff! It's a good free service they provide! Our first year out, we went to the Steer Safe factory and had them install a Steer Safe on our Itasca. What a wonderful difference that made in the handling! A couple of years ago, we went back, they inspected it, made a couple of small adjustments, and proclaimed it to be in tip top shape. We love it! Why don't original equipment manufacturers just incorporate things like that when they manufacture the rig? That's easy, it would raise the price and might scare off some buyers. Then we buyers have to go out and make the purchases ourselves at higher cost, and we feel good that we have done it. Hmmm.


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