Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The Black Hills

We spent 4 days in the wifiless campground in the Black Hills, home of Mount Rushmore. We were very close to the big heads, but didn't go see them. Penny and I visited here in 1970, and we figured the carvings haven't changed very much in the ensuing years. Spectacular mountains (they are definitely mountains by eastern standards) here. Really pretty country. There are several national parks and monuments here as well as a great state park with 1500 buffalos (Buffaloes?) wandering around. They have lots of signs warning visitors not to approach the wildlife, but what do you do when a buffalo wanders into your campground? (See the photo somewhere in this post).

The parks have a bunch of single-lane tunnels, not designed for trailers the size of ours. But the truck did fit. I measured the width of the truck and found that it was 9 feet wide with the mirrors folded in. No problem in a 8' 4" wide tunnel, but I did drive slow. We had to stop for a cattle drive on one road, and somewhere else there was a pack of wild burros causing a donkey-jam.

When we were here in 1970, we visited Wind Cave National Park, which has its own herd of buffaloes (buffalos?) wandering around. (Not in the cave--above it.) At that time, we took a spelunking tour in an undeveloped part of the cave. We had to wear hard hats and lamps, and crawled through narrow passages for about 4 hours. No way would we fit in those passages now, so we took a more civilized one-hour tour over a nicely paved path with handrails.

More trouble with the camper. Without getting too technical, the trailer has two propane tanks, one on each side. When one is used up, we switch to the other one, and have the first one refilled.
We had an empty tank filled by the dealer when the trailer was in for service before we left home, so when the opposite tank ran low on gas, we switched to the other one. Uh oh, that side no longer worked. So when we arrived at the Black Hills campground, I tried to isolate the probem (is it a bad tank or bad regulator?) by moving the tank that worked to the other side. After that, neither side worked. The temperature was in the 40s that night, and the propane is what gives us heat, not to mention cooking, hot water, and refrigeration when we're on the road. The next morning Penny said it was like sleeping in a tent with wheels.

I called our dealer and they offered no help at all, other to suggest that I tighten the connections to the tanks. Anyway, we found an RV technician who makes housecalls, and he immediately knew what the problem was. It's something Forest River supposedly has known about, but because its not a safety issue didn't do a recall. They installed in a bunch of trailers defective hoses that connect the tank to the regulator. We replaced the hoses and now all is fine. Which is good because we're now in Wyoming where its raining and in the low 40s.

Tomorrow, we'll be on the road to Cody, Wyoming to see if the Forest River dealer there can fix our landing gear. BTW, most of the folks we've talked to at the campgrounds relate a myriad of mechanical problems with their RVs. I guess houses just weren't designed to drive down the interstate at 70mph and not have things bounce loose.


Blogger Barbara said...

Oh, I forgot to add that, IMHO, you are farblongjid. Would you believe that I found a jewish dictionary on google? Look it up, it even speaks so the pronunciation is correct. I love your stories, they make me feel as though I am there with you. Sorry about the trailer, hope everything works and you are warm and cozy. Love you both. Barbara

2:31 PM  
Blogger Colette said...

Terrific blog. I really enjoyed the pictures of the Black Hills. This is my first check in since the very start of your trip. I'm really enjoying reading and seeing "The Adventures of Lew and Penny". Stay warm and safe. It is NOT warm in NJ this June, but I know summer is coming...I'll check back again to see some great photos of yours-- Colette

7:42 PM  

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