Archives for November 2013

COMING SOON: 2014 Winter Adventures!


Now here’s something to talk about over Thanksgiving dinner…..

What are you going to do in January, February or even March?  Watch the snow fall?  Shovel?  Crank up the heat? Rent movies or flip channels on those long cold nights?  Count the days before the snow is gone?

Wouldn’t it be fun to pack a suitcase with shorts, Tees and sandals, hop a flight to Florida, get picked up at the airport, and be brought to a ready-made campsite complete with modern amenities and a week jam pack full of fun activities to choose from? And all you have to do is get there? 

Swim, Snorkel, Kayak, Canoe, Fish, Hike, Manatee and Whale watch, Airboat rides, Sight Seeing, Festivals, Outdoor Music, Horseback Rides, Wine Tastings, and oh so much more…….or, heck, just hit the beach and get to work on your tan!

Watch for upcoming organized trip opportunities in January, February and March later this month, or send a message now if you have specific dates in mind and would like to build your own personal Florida Adventure this winter.

The opportunities are endless.  What do you dream about doing?

SD0620135 One Last Wally

The last group packed up and was on the road with their limits of fish by mid-morning.  The grounds are still again.  I take the girls for a walk around the campground, then walk Buddy down to the shore of Lake Oahe.  With heavy heart, I glance from end to end, relishing the prairie view across the water.  It will be time for me to pack up soon, too.  We head back to start the process.

Back at our camp, I spy JimmyK on the riding lawn mower.  His work is never done.  Back and forth, back and forth he putts along. I contemplate how much wild animal dung he actually chops up into the soil.  No wonder the grass is always so lush.  He approaches and slows to a halt.

I look down, kicking a stone loose from the ground. “Ya know, we could go fish for a while.” I gently test.

He leans back and pulls out a smoke.  He squints his eyes, looking out to the hillside.  “Well,” he starts, “I’d have to be down to the lodge by 4:00 is all.” He lights up, takes a long drag, and then methodically taps his fingers across the top of the steering wheel.

“We can do that.  I’m ok with that.”  Our eyes lock and we both crack a smile.  He drives off.

Within an hour, we’re on the water.

Today’s weather is not the same as our last day of blissful fishing.  A front came and went, leaving churned up waters, clouds and wind.  But even a bad day of fishing is better than a good day of mowing or packing up camp.

We burst across the water towards his favorite reliable hot spot.  The waves give push back to the boat.  It could be a rough ride home, but that thought is tucked far to the back of my head.   Up front is the vision of reeling in a huge trophy Walleye.  Just one.  I just want one.  Okay, maybe two.  We coast to a stop and he drops the trolling motor in.  So it begins.  Come on, fish, we’ve only a few hours to work with here.  

Back and forth we troll along a line of structure about 150 yards out from the shoreline. We see fish on the screen.  Nothing is biting.  Come on, fish!  Hours pass. Finally the clouds dissipate and the sky turns mostly blue.  We reflect on the highlights of the last few weeks.  We talk about next year plans.  We talk about the Moose Lodge.  We sit silently, waiting for something amazing to happen.  Nothing happens.

“Even a bad day of fishing is…”  

I got a bite!  Oh, a big one!  Oh, such a fighter!  My line is darting about, plunging under the boat, wildly yanking with the strength of a whale as I try to keep tension and reel in my trophy Walleye.  JimmyK is fumbling to grab the net, get into position and we are both over the top with excitement at this first hit of the day.  Reeling and reeling, we finally catch the first glimpse of my prize fish. 

There are no words.092

JimmyK shoots me a grin and I can already hear days of teasing coming on.  He leans out to grab my line, and quickly pulls up my feisty, finned friend. 

“Nice Crappie!”  He chuckles.

“And so?  So?”  I swear that fish had the power of a whale.  The fact remains that it really is a huge Crappie!

He fights to hold back a smirk.  “I said nice Crappie, didn’t I?”

“Hmmm, I don’t see you bringing anything into the boat…”  I tease back as he drops my fish into the live well.   With that we go back to the waiting game. Back and forth we go along a line of structure about 150 yards from shore.  More fish on the screen.  Still nothing is biting.  Not another soul on the water.  No sign of wildlife on land.  Just us.  We are both thinking it, but neither of us wants to be the first to say it.  It’s about time to turn back.  I hold my tongue.  So does JimmyK.  We continue our quest to catch fish.

“Ping!  Ping!” JimmyK has a hit.  He starts reeling while I grab the net.  It’s a small Walleye.  Suddenly my rod takes a bend. I drop the net and grab my pole – “Ping!  Ping!” and I too, reel up a fish.  A Catfish!  JimmyK barely gets his Walleye off the hook and has a hit on his other rod.  Another Catfish.  My 2nd rod starts to quiver as I am removing my respectable Catfish, but it’s a false alarm.  As I grab for a fresh worm, my pole acts up again. 

“You got one.” JimmyK warns.

Sure enough, “ping, ping-ping!” and I have another small Walleye.  So much for any thought of heading back.  This action keeps up for almost an hour, and we are soon filling the live-well with small “eater” Walleyes and Catfish.  There’s something about bringing a fish to the boat. Something about the anticipation of seeing what is on the end of that line.  What grabbed that worm?  And with each of us juggling two lines, the non-stop action is nothing less than comical.  It’s excitement as though it’s the first time, every time, landing these little guys.

That is, until the action subsides.  Slowly our catching frenzy dials down to a fish here and there, with time in between.  JimmyK does a fish count.  We are golden, we’ll both have limits again today.  We are shy just three Walleyes.  I keep an eye on him for any sign of realizing he should be at the Moose Club right now.  Nope.  Seems totally unaware.  Come on, fish, just three more.  Where’s that big one hiding?

JimmyK pulls out a smoke and leans back in his chair.  “Ya know, we need to think about heading back.”

Dang, he’s aware.  “But, just three more fish!”  I respond.

He takes a long drag and looks across the top of the water.  “I’ll show you how it’s done.” He says with a sly smile, and reels in a line to re-cast. I keep fishing, hoping he’ll just lose track of the time again.

“There it is!”  He says as he completes his cast.  He gets comfortable in his chair and pulls another drag on his cigarette. There’s something about sitting quietly in the boat.  Somehow, that quiet concentration is supposed to manifest into better chances of catching a fish.  Or not.   We wait, and wait, and half an hour goes by.

“Well……. we should probably…”

“I got one!” I shout, and begin reeling.  Just in the nick of time.  I know he was going to say we have to leave.  As I continue closing the gap, I realize my fish is skipping across the water. 

“Well you caught some bait, anyway” JimmyK teases.  Okay, so now I can say I caught the smallest fish of the entire trip.  I gently release my little fishy, muttering that it sure had a big fish appetite.   As I dig for another worm, JimmyK abruptly stands up.

“Okay this is it!” he announces.  “Reel up quick. Get the net ready.  Get to the side.  Get there now. The net. The NET!”  He is barking orders, all charged up.  I grab his 2nd rod out of the way, rapidly reel in both of my lines and dive for the net just in time to see a huge dark mound surface and then plunge under the boat. 

“Get the net, the net!”

“I am, I am!” and I try to scoop the writhing fish out from the dark waters.  God, it must be one of those creepy huge carp, but I can’t tell, I can’t get it netted.

 “Quick, net it!” 

“I am, I am!” and I make another pass to pull the mesh across the long dark finned creature and pull up. 

“Oh geeze, it’s heavy and fighting like mad!”   Instantly, JimmyK drops his rod to help me lift the net into the rocking boat.

“What is it? What is it?” Violently flipping, poles clanging, people clamoring; well, we look like we’re trying to do a dance or something as the net hits the floor of the boat.  He puts a foot onto the net to hold the fish, bends over and begins removing the mesh as I scramble to make sure no poles went overboard. 076

The fight ends.  Beaming ear to ear, JimmyK rises up holding a great big Walleye. 

“Now, this is how you do it!”  He exclaims.  Wow!  It has to be ten pounds.  He does a quick measure and determines it’s just over nine pounds.  Wow, really nice fish!  Time to do the Fish Dance!!!

“There’s got to be another one down there!”  I say, quickly casting my lines back in the water.   

“Ya know, we need to get heading back.”  

“But, we’re almost there, just two more fish!”  I respond, turning my full attention out into the water.

“Ten more minutes.” 

“Okay, okay.”  I know it will be twenty.   His big fish stirs up some more thrashing in the live well.

The clock is ticking as we make another pass along the shoreline.  And another pass.  And another….

JimmyK stands up again.   “Ahhh, it’s an eater.” He announces while reeling in another Walleye.

I am cursed.  I am jinxed.  He sadly motions me to reel in my lines.  It’s been twenty minutes.  Oh, okay.  We’ve had a good day.  An unexpected, good day.  Just one fish shy of two limits.  And all those Cat Fish!  And that Crappie!  Not a bad day.  One pole done, now for the other. 

“Ping, PING! PING! PING!” 

“OH! JImmyK, OH! I got one!  It’s BIIGGGG!”  I am struggling to reel my line in.  It’s probably a Skipper Jack or a Drum, with the intense darting about.  I reel and reel while JimmyK gets the net ready.088

He snags my fish and whisks it into the boat.  We uncover the netting to discover another nice Walleye!

“That –a-girl, that’s the way!”  He exclaims as I pull my big fish up off of the mesh net.  I am beaming. A quick measure tells us it’s just under 9 pounds.  A fine Walleye.

“Don’t you have to be at the Lodge?  Like, a couple hours ago?” 

JimmyK shoots me a look, pulls up the trolling motor, and we slam across the top of the water, bracing the wind the whole way back to the boat launch. It’s a rough ride, but all we’re thinking about is the great afternoon of fishing we just had.  We get back to the camp and clean fish for an hour before JimmyK departs to the Moose Lodge.  I spend the remainder of the evening packing up my temporary home.

When JimmyK returns at the end of the evening we sit in the lodge and share some Wild Turkey Honey with his visiting brother who just purchased an outfitting camp two towns away.  We laugh and tell stories until I am too tired to hold my eyes open.  What a great way to end a most excellent South Dakota fishing adventure.  Sadly, all good things eventually come to an end, even this. With a heavy heart, I bid them a good night, knowing I will slip away before dawn, with a full freezer and dozens of great fish tales.

SD0620134 Awesome Angling

Some days a person needs to just take a breath and relax.  One of the best ways I know to do that is to go fishing.  There’s something mesmerizing about sitting on a boat out in the water, half reclined on the padded seat, feet up on the rail, holding onto my rod and reel, gently rocking with the waves, waiting patiently for that ‘ping.. ping!’ feeling of a fish on the end of my line, stealing a bite of my worm.  The quiet.  The warmth…..divine relaxation therapy.  Softly lulling me to sleep.  Drifting off……and then, the sudden “PING” of that one big fish almost pulls the rod from your hands, bending the pole down into the water, twisting and tugging like a tiger caught by the tail—you snap to it quick and sturdy, and do your best to hang on and reel that fish up to the boat after an all-out battle of endurance and strength.

Relaxation combined with exhilaration.  What a fantastic combination. 

That’s not fishing with JimmyK on Lake Oahe.   Omit the relaxation part.

Seeing as we are between groups, we decide to get out and fish for the day.  There is talk of rain, but it’s far to the north of Mobridge. He prepares the boat while I prepare our food and beverages.  I whip up a couple of breakfast bagels to go with our hot coffee.  A quick check around camp, take care of the dogs, and we head out of the property with breakfast in hand.

Today will be an awesome day of fishing.  I can tell.

We stop at the Reservation Bait Shop to gas up and get a few containers of worms.  I remember back when I was just a little girl.  When Dad and I prepared to go fishing, we would go get the shovel and dig deep into the dirt on the side of the house, collecting up dozens of big night crawlers….he always let me help, and mom would get mad when I came into the house all dirty, showing off a worm or two wrapped around my fingers.  Yup, it started with me even back then.

JimmyK comes out of the store balancing a tall stack of small containers and I smile.  We are about to go do some serious fishin’.

We drop the boat in the water while talking to some folks on the other side of the launch.  They are going the opposite way on Oahe.  Good for us!  JimmyK goes where no one else ever does and I love that.  We are floating away from shore and gone in seconds, leaving a wake behind.

He is tak072ing us to one of his favorite hot spots.  The ride will be a good half hour.  Already, the day is getting warm as the sun bursts through the morning clouds.  There is a slight breeze.  I am glad I remembered sunscreen, a hat, and thin layers. We are both glad we brought plenty of water and Gatorade. As we zip across the top of the water I am captured by the complexity of this beautiful land.  Seemingly void of life, yet lush with greenery.  There, on the high bank to our left, are a dozen or so horses. Other than that, there are no visible forms of life except the two of us.

We slow to a halt. JimmyK jumps up and starts organizing our set ups.  Me, I am still half in a trance from the ride, and must appear quite useless to him.  I finally jump up to assist with worms on hooks.  We banter back and forth about who will catch the bigger fish, who will catch the smallest, the most, and who is overall the better angler. We are fishing two poles each, which may cut down on the relaxation part of this adventure. Four lines in the water.  We get situated in our respective Captain’s chairs, JimmyK starts the troll motor, and we wait.

“Ping! Ping!” JimmyK has a fish on. 

“I think it’s a good one” He announces under his breath.  He quickly reels up to discover a Drumfish on the end of the line. 

“Hmmm.  Nice Drumfish ya got there, JimmyK.”084

“Yeah, well you better pull yours up now.” He smirks.

“Ping! Ping-ping!” I, too, have hooked a Drumfish and start reeling fiercely. He barely gets his off the hook, before hooking another, and another, and yet another.  Me too.  We are smack dab in the middle of a Drumfish school, and they are hitting hard.

Since we don’t eat them, this is all about warming up for the ‘good stuff’.  I’ve brought a dozen or so to the boat now.  So has he.  “I’m tired of this catch and release Drumfish action.  Where are the Walleyes?”  We will have to move and find them.

Suddenly I notice something out of the corner of my eye.  This isn’t the first time I’ve seen it, but it is the first time that I’ve seen it getting so close.  A grayish mound, rising up out of the water heading toward the boat, then sinking back into the water and completely disappearing. And there it is again.  And another.  And, another, right out in front of me.  They actually appear confrontational!  What do they want to do—challenge the boat?

“JimmyK!  Those aren’t Skipper Jacks are they?   What are they?” 

“Those are Oahe Carp.  Guess they are starting to spawn.  Wow, that was a big one!” he responds.  The carp are swarming around our boat, getting up close and challenging the vessel. They have to be 20 pounds or more.  Their heads look like big grey boulders rising up out of the water.  A group of them could easily rock the boat if it was their mission.

Maybe it is.  The Drumfish stopped biting.

“JimmyK, this is really creepy.  God, what if we hook one?”  One comes up along the side of the boat, almost touching, then vanishes into the deep water.  We are at about 22 foot deep, and about 100 yards out from shore.  Gray mounds are rising up from the top of the water as far as I can see.  They are surrounding us.  One comes barreling straight for the front of the boat.  What is it planning to do?  Ram us?

“Well, they’re just curious.  But they are definitely scaring away the rest of the fish so let’s try moving.” He says, and starts up the motor.  Off we go, leaving swirls of territorial predators behind.

“Maybe we could put together a bowfishing adventure next year?”  If we could get a couple three, four, pontoons out here?  Hmmmmm….  I think out loud.

“Do you ever stop with the business, girl?” He laughs and shakes his head.

Another short journey farther north up the Oahe and we stop again.  Average depth 16 to 22 feet.  Lines in, troll on, and fish!  The sun is burning down like a hot skillet.  After two passes along the hot spot, we’re getting a few hits, reeling up a couple small walleyes.  Things improve on the third pass—we’ve found the hot spot.  For the next several hours we’re presented with loads of eater walleye, and non-stop action. 

It isn’t until I turn to JimmyK crying out “are we out of bait?” that I realize to what degree we are both baking under the hot sun.  We quickly sunscreen up between reeling in fish, and he locates another container of worms.  The fish are clearly not interested in taking a break.  The only saving grace out on this hot water is a very slight intermittent breeze that flickers about every five minutes or so.  But frankly, we are both soaking wet with sweat. No wonder I don’t have to pee. 

“Ohhh shit…’s a good one…” JimmyK says under his breath.  His rod is bending down into the water and he is straining with all his might.  Or so it seems. Playing a fish is an art form. Even the smallest fish can seem to put up the most ferocious fight.  But I don’t think JimmyK is kidding with this one.  I reel in my lines and get the net ready.  He reels and pulls and works that fish up to the boat as it is thrashing, darting and diving with fight, until I am finally able to scoop under it with the net and try to lift it up to the boat.

It is darn wild and heavy!  I thrust the fish filled net into the boat with all my might and we strain to see what is thrashing around entangled in the nylon web.  087

What?  Walleye?  No…Northern?  It’s a Northern Pike! JimmyK grabs the fish out of the net and unhooks it.  Into the live well.  Lines back in.  Moments later another hard bite.  Northern!  I hold my ground and reel the feisty fish into the boat.  We continue back and forth along this hot spot and catch Drumfish, Northern, Catfish, and Walleyes non-stop on into the late afternoon.

Huh, it appears we have no more room for fish in the boat.  And no more bait. Our skin is baked, our liquids and munchies gone, and the sun is going down.

The ride back is a quick sprint across the top of the water like silk on skin.  It’s been a great day of fishing. We get back to shore and he goes to get the truck while I wait with the boat.  In minutes we are ready to drive back to camp and get started cleaning fish and cooking. I head to the toy hauler with two walleye fillets to prep for our fresh fish dinner while JimmyK tends to the rest.

I could get used to this life.  What seems like a vast wasteland of nothing actually has more than enough bounty of everything one needs.  Indeed.  Another day of awesome angling with JimmyK.

Klassic Kooked Kraut

So easy to throw this together in the slow cooker and go fishing for the day!


2 lbs red new potatoes, quartered or halved

3 c drained sauerkraut

1 large onion, sliced thin

1 c chicken broth

½ c cheap white wine

2 t caraway seed

1 t salt

2 t pepper

2 ½ lbs venison sausages*

¼ c fresh chopped parsley


Combine first 8 ingredients into a 6 quart slow cooker and mix well.  Add venison sausages into the mixture, cover and cook 7- 8 hours on low.  When potatoes are tender, transfer mixture to serving dish, sprinkle with parsley and serve.


Serves 6


*bratwursts are a great substitute

SD0620133 Fabulous Fishing

The sun is just starting to pop over the horizon line. There’s breakfast to be made, gear to organize, a boat to get into, and fish to catch.  The group of guys is up as well.  They have a couple nice boats along. Early fishing is usually pretty good. We are all darting about to get to the launch as soon as possible.

JimmyK motions me to get in to the truck.  The dogs are fed, peed, and all set for a relaxing day in the Toy Hauler, and we’re off.

There was a big fishing tournament here a few weeks ago.  One of the interesting things about the Mobridge area is how it can flux from desolate and barren to hopping with action in a matter of a day.  I prefer the desolate version, and we are basically back to that now.

The only access to Lake Oahe here is via the Indian Reservation. Virtually all of the land along the lake is comprised of huge acreages owned by private ranchers and farmers, or it’s Reservation Land. Occasionally a herd of cows or horses can be seen along the water’s edge, or atop the high cliffs along the water.  Even the most creative architect would be hard pressed to find a way around the current access situation. We pull into the Reservation gas station and bait store, fill the gas tanks, secure the required daily parking permit, then get across the road to drop boats in the water.

The wind can get whipping, but it’s fairly still now.  That could be another story once we get to our destination.  The boat ride to our hot spot is about 30 minutes.  We pass under the main highway bridge, and the cross street that heads to the launch.  There are a few cars parked close to the water’s edge; a few people already set up in their lawn chairs, shore fishing.  No doubt locals that have found ways to meander down to the shoreline; which some say is just as good fishing. 

Once we come around the corner past the last of the bridges, we get the full story.  Wind.  Waves.  Whitecaps.  The view is one of desolate beauty.  Open country, deadwood, sand ledges, green patches and prairie as far as the eye can see.  The countryside seems to be all ours.  No other life is visible. The water seems to be all ours.  No other boats are visible. It’s mighty wavy out here.

But I’ve seen worse…..we press on, slapping against waves hard as rock, and soon, we are into a better, calmer spot.  We slow to a troll.  Lines in!  Let’s fish!

In a matter of minutes it’s ‘roll up the sleeves and work’; fish after fish after fish on line, worm after worm after worm.  Everyone fishes two poles.  Four people to a boat. Skipper Jacks are hitting hard.  Drum fish, too.  A few Walleyes here and there.  Six hours of constant action, just not exactly the most preferred action.  But hey, catching fish is fun no matter what kind they are, right?  Everyone is having a blast. Then we hit a Walleye hot spot.  Eater after eater is pulled in. Now where’s that trophy Walleye?  Not today, but many fish to be caught! Walleye limits are easily filled in these great waters, with plenty of fish to spare for dinner.  We reel fish to the boat until our arms are sore.

The sun is telling us it’s time to pack it up and turn back.  Again as we come around the corner we hit the “full story”, only we are against the wind this time.  Hanging on is somewhat challenging as we pound across the whitecaps like a mallet beating a drum.  “Slap! Slap! Slap!” we hit the water hard with each wave.  It vibrates into our core, every slap.  But as we are bouncing along, hanging on for dear life, we laugh with reckless abandon. 

It’s been a good day of fishing.

As for the next day?  An exciting repeat of first day!

And the next day?  Heck, yes, another repeat!

And the next day?  Hmmmm, not so much of a repeat.

The wind has finally left the area.  The water is flat as glass.  There is not even one cloud in the sky.  The fish have disappeared.  Sunscreen, water and patience, not necessarily in that order, are pivotal for getting through a day like this. 

“What’s the deal?  Where are the fish?” All eyes seem to automatically turn to the guide for every less than perfect moment.  JimmyK is the best there is.  But even he cannot guarantee 100% action 100% of the time.  It’s a long bunch of hot sweaty hours sitting in the boat.  A bite here, a bite there, but nothing is making it to the boat. Sandwiches are gone, water is going fast, and our baking bodies are drenched with SPF 70. 

Where are the fish?

We buzz up another couple miles north and try there.  Same situation–nothing.  We fish shallow.  We fish deep, go back and forth in all of the best spots, then, suddenly on the next pass through, it’s fish on!

Again, Skipper Jacks start hitting hard.  Drum fish, too.  Then we hit the Walleye hot spot.  Eater after eater is pulled in. Still no trophy.  Two hours of action, forgetting all about the last five hours of nada.  Once again, we bait hooks and reel fish to the boat until our arms are sore, and fill angler limits with fish to spare for dinner. Once again, JimmyK is amazing.

The sun has passed over the top and is halfway to the horizon; our signal it’s time to head back to shore.

The ride back is a comfortable trip minus back breaking waves for a change. Not a bad day of fishing after all.  Nothing beats a fishing trip with fresh Walleye dinners, limits of fish to bring home, and great stories to tell.  Everyone agrees it’s been an awesome experience.  Cheers!  We pull into camp to find the new group eagerly waiting to hear about our day on the great Lake Oahe. 

SD0620132 Are We There Yet? Part 2

The eight hour drive west across Highway 12 feels more like eight years; especially driving past miles of devastation from the massive storm system that blew across the state this past week.  So many destroyed out-buildings!  So many uprooted trees and flooded fields!  So much to clean up and repair!  So much loss.  All the way to the western border, the power of the storms wrath is evident.  How do the farmers recover from such devastation?  The drive is sobering, and sad. One storm can take out an entire town’s livelihood.  Nothing should ever be taken for granted.

I drive on, now hoping to make an additional stop at the nearest RV Dealer that is open.  Assuming my calculations are spot on, I should arrive to Aberdeen just as Liebelt RV’s is opening the doors.  But no, I progress as far as the Minnesota border only to discover a detour is in place.  Is this due to the storm?  Local traffic is being stopped and redirected off highway 12, north about a mile and west across a rural road.  There is no other option. Okay then. We press on, noticing there is no evidence of storm destruction on the west side of the border.  Everything looks lush, healthy and green. Back roads with the Toy Hauler are great as long as there is pavement.  Wait.  What happened to the pavement? 

We are being directed “off road” to an unpaved maintenance road that goes about 2 miles.  I cannot drive more than 20 miles per hour, or the trailer bounces so hard it feels like it will snap off the hitch.  It’s a long couple of miles of dirt road.  So much for reaching the RV Dealer when they open.

By lunchtime I’ve made it to Aberdeen and to Liebelt’s. Their customer service folks are sympathetic and understanding, but they have no one available to work on my Toy Hauler right now. The owner says he will look at it just to make sure they have what they need to fix it. We walk over to my rig and I open the door. What a nightmare. Stuff scattered everywhere, doors and drawers opened, barely room to step.  He gives me a puzzled look; “Wow, did you go off road?”

“You could say that.”

 “How long do you think before I can have the electric repaired?”  I ask.

“Well, I got one guy at the dentist and the other one is running parts, so I’m afraid it’s going to be at least half an hour.”  He responds.

Half an hour?  Heck, I’m thrilled!  That’s a far cry from being trapped at a dealership for a week.  I let the dogs out and we find a shady spot on the side of the building to wait.  Then I go clean up the mess in the Toy Hauler and put everything back in its place.

Sure enough, a service tech arrives within 45 minutes and begins work.  My hero!  I am back in business with a brand new power cord and minimal financial damage within a couple hours. Lucky for me, the design of my awesome Toy Hauler saved me from having to have everything rewired on the inside.  Not all RVs are made that way.  I love Liebelts RV’s!  Love, love, love them!  And I love my Toy Hauler!

So after a two hour stop at the Amazing Liebelt RV Dealer in Aberdeen, we are on the final leg of our fabulous fishing destination.  The sun is still blazing.  I’ve eaten every granola bar I can reach in the truck.   But we finally arrive to rustic Mobridge South Dakota, and it is feels like home.  I slow down to a crawl through town.  Yeah, like a local.  I rubber neck up and down each street, just to see what I can see, then make that last sprint past the Moose Lodge and on to JimmyK’s.

SDTurkey2013 034JimmyK is running ragged as usual.  I pull into my campsite and start setting things up for the duration.  The dogs are excited.  They know where we are. 

Level, unhitch, plug in and see how bad things got tossed around again.  Get dinner started.  Check on the fishing groups.  The sun hangs high in the sky well into the evening in June. 

It’s still not dark even at 10:00 at night.  As I am setting up the “yard” I spy two deer on the very edge of the cut grass. They are watching me.

Good to see you too!  It sure feels good to be back!

SD0620131 Are We There Yet? Part 1

June 20th.  Toy Hauler is packed and all hooked up to the truck and ready to go.  Then the rains came.  And oh, did they come hard.  Torrential rains causing trees to fall over, sidewalks to heave up, and the ball park to be completely under water.  My basement flooded not once, but twice in two days with over an inch of water. How can I leave for South Dakota? I call JimmyK and let him know I’m being delayed.  Mopping for hours on end and waiting out the storm front, has set my departure time back several days.  057

Little did I realize things could, and would, get worse. 

After being delayed with heavy rains and flooding, the city water main burst, causing even more flooding. And then, to top things off, a sinkhole erupts, causing most of the roads around me to be closed off.  The ballpark is once again underwater, and traffic is being re-directed around our block and in front of my house.  I finally make my escape June 23rd , and pull away from the house, heading down the pavement wondering why two out of two times I’ve headed to South Dakota this year it seems so complicated?

With several false starts, our 7 a.m. departure seems a little uncomfortable.  I call JimmyK and let him know I’m on the way.  I start re-reviewing my checklist in my mind.  Yes I got all the food back into the fridge.  Camera is right here.  I remembered to grab the hammock, just in case.  Treats for JimmyK, got it.  The bike is tied down in back.  Buddy’s toys.  Best fishing hat.  OH where is my good fishing hat?  Right.  Sitting on it.  And then I get a sinking feeling something is wrong. Very wrong. Still, we pull away to go.

Not even a mile down the sinkhole detour, I pull over. Something’s wrong.  I get out of the truck and do a walk around. Everything looks good.  Wait. I forgot to close the flap for the power cord.  Wait. Where IS the power cord?  Oh my word, it’s not there!  With all the false starts, delayed departure, plugging and unplugging, the extension cord was unhooked and put away, but not the power cord itself? Now it’s gone. 

What now?  I turn around and drive back home.  I park along the side of the block, and walk back and forth along the route I just drove, looking for any evidence of my power cord.  I have no idea what losing it means. Does it mean hundreds of dollars?  What do I do now?  I call my neighbor and tell her why I’m still here.  She joins in the effort to search for the long black cord.  We canvas the entire road, curb, boulevard, and edges of yards and there is no power cord. Now what?

I walk back to the house and make coffee.  Do I need to unload the fridge?  I call Lois and Boy Scout Buddy.  They instruct me—starting with calm down, it will be okay.   Just flip the switch to propane and I’m good to go for weeks as long as I don’t need power for anything else.  Keeping the fridge cold is the main concern for now. Take a deep breath. Okay. I know there is an RV dealer not far.  I will get right over there and get the power cord replaced.  Depending on how my Toy Hauler is wired, this could be an easy fix or a very expensive fix.  Don’t worry about it right now.

Always do a walk around before driving off with the Toy Hauler. Always. But I did!  I thought I did?  I know I did, each time I thought I was actually going to be leaving.  Didn’t I?  I switch to propane, put the dogs back in the house, then head down the road to the RV Dealer.  To my surprise, they are not open. Really?  Good grief, now what?  I go home, tired and frustrated and it’s almost 2 p.m. If I leave now I’ll be driving directly into the sun almost the whole way.  Not a good idea.

Time to crack open a beer and watch crowds of people swarming around to look at the sink hole.  I call JimmyK again; I will head west in the morning.  Cheers.  Ya, right.


At 4 a.m. on June 24th, I finally pull away from the house and head down the road, wondering why two out of two times I’ve headed to South Dakota this year it seems so complicated?