We were so happy to put Minot, ND in our rear view mirror on Wednesday. The previous evening, Don took me to the nicest restaurant in town, 10 North Main. With a decor and atmosphere that reminded me of Berkeley, CA, and a menu to match, it’s a rare find in North Dakota. The restaurant is in a restored building downtown and is partially owned by Minot native and actor Josh Duhamel, who played Danny McCoy in the TV show “Las Vegas.” We really enjoyed our meal (salmon for me, lamb chops for him) and the service was great, too.
Earlier in the day, as a thank-you for my doing all the hookups, dumping, flushing, etc. during his hospitalization and rehab, Don bought me a new RhinoFlex sewer hose with swivel fittings. Good-bye awkward clamps and twisted hoses!
I think my posting about this gift on Facebook drew more comments than anything else I’ve ever posted. What a guy; he’s a keeper, for sure!
Early Wednesday morning, we took the motorhome to the Minot Cummins shop for routine maintenance. They finished in time for us to make it to Don’s PT appointment at 10:00 a.m. However, just before buttoning everything up, the tech noticed a slight oil leak. We left him to investigate further while we went to the PT session. Upon returning, we learned that the tech couldn’t figure out how to get the engine cover off in the motorhome bedroom floor. Don showed him how, then we went to Kroll's Diner for lunch. (Click the link and view some of the outtakes for some laughs, North Dakota style.) Upon returning, the tech still hadn’t fully diagnosed the leak but said it didn’t need urgent attention. We decided to take the coach to the shop in Rapid City the following week.
Departing by 1:00 pm and planning to stay overnight in an earlier time zone in Dickinson, ND, we had plenty of time to drive about 180 miles. I drove the first 100, and Don took over and drove the rest of the way. He had no problems driving, and was happy to be behind the wheel again. North Park Campground has changed a lot since 2005 when I stayed there in my 5th wheel. It’s grown to include mobile homes and park models in addition to RVs, and is home to a lot of area workers. There’s still a lot of dusty roads and sites, but they’re in the process of adding gravel. That made it hard for Don to walk around, but it does help control the dust. A cold front blew in and kept us sitting there another night. It’s not fun, and frequently unsafe, to drive a high-profile vehicle in winds of 35-45 mph, with gusts even higher. The direction of the wind would have been a direct crosswise hit on us, and we just didn’t want to fight it.
The only problem with staying another night in Dickinson is that we missed seeing some of our good RV buddies, Chuck and Jan Moore. They had already delayed their departure from the Black Hills area by a day in order to catch up with us. They have a new granddaughter in Seattle, so they were eager to be on their way toward the west coast. Too bad, but we’ll manage to see them somewhere else in the next few months.
When we did finally leave Dickinson on Friday, there was no wind. Not even a whisper. After a day of heavy winds, this was amazing. We had a great travel day, and again shared the driving, with me taking the wheel first for about 120 miles, and Don finishing the drive of about 130 more miles with a brief stop for lunch.
Arriving at Hart Ranch always feels like coming home. In fact, the lodge displays a “Welcome Home” banner over the entrance. It’s a beautiful park with over 450 full hook-up sites and 47 partial sites in The Meadowlands. It was hard to get a reservation at the last minute for Labor Day weekend, but reservation agent Margaret worked her magic on the system and got us in. We would have to move from site to site a couple of times, but at least we’d get in. When we arrived a day late, I asked if we could stay the first two nights in the same site. Margaret had just come on duty for the day, so she knew our situation and was able to give us two nights in The Meadowlands in the same site. This was fortuitous, because we immediately spotted our friends Betty Anderson and Duane Peyton nearby, and got together with them for happy hour later. And while walking Shadow around the loop I encountered Steve and Lynette, friends of Bill and Helen Moll who had asked us to look for them. A few more sites down I ran into Mick and Dorothy, who spend their summers here and winters in Benson, AZ where we last saw them shopping at Safeway. I guess we were meant to be here!
We’ll move to a FHU site on Sunday, then on Tuesday we have a motorhome service appointment (a.m.) and Don’s doctor appointment (p.m.). In the meantime, maybe we’ll find a spot among the holiday weekend crowds in the hot tub and dust off the bicycles for a gentle pedal around the park. At any rate, it’s nice to be back ‘home’ and we’ll enjoy our brief visit to Hart Ranch.
A final note: the Kindle e-book that Don bought for my birthday almost 2 years ago died. I went through several troubleshooting routines with Amazon’s excellent customer service on the phone, and they determined that it needed to be replaced. They could send me one just like what I have for free, or offer $75 off on a new 3rd generation Kindle, now priced at $139. Don paid over $300 for each of our Kindles, and that included a $50 discount through Oprah in 2008. My new one will cost $64 with free shipping, and is now on backorder due to the popularity of the device. I can still use my current one; it just has to have the Reset button pressed every time I turn it on, or it doesn’t show any content. I’m a happy camper and hope to have the new Kindle in a couple of weeks.