Before leaving Ron and Terri last night we all agreed to be ready to roll at 8:00 am. Rudee takes care of our alarm clock (she uses her cell phone) and she set it for 6:45 to give us time for showers and to get the rig ready for the highway. One thing we never anticipated about being fulltimers and traveling is the changes in time zones and the effect it has on you. Maybe other fulltimers don't have this problem because they are retired and can be less structured? Anyway, she started getting ready for the day after her phone went off. I was already up and having coffee when she got up and told me I had better get moving. After our showers I asked her what her hurry was since it was only 6:45. She then looked at her phone and realized she had missed a call. Our son, Matthew, had called when he got off his night shift at 7:00 am eastern time and we were in the central time zone (6:00 am) and Rudee thought it was her alarm :-).
She was mad the whole day (not really) about missing her "extra" 45 minutes of sleep :-).
Ron was out walking their little dog Daisy when I came out around 7:00. He came over and told me they too had some clock trouble. They use an atomic clock for their alarm and I guess it sets itself to changing time zones. Well it had not gotten the "signal" to change and was still on eastern time when they went to bed. Terri compensated for the hour difference and set the alarm. I guess sometime during the night the clock "woke up" and reset itself for central time so their alarm was an hour early too. :-)
Since we had an early start we drove over to the Pilot Truck Stop and fueled up. They had a nice restaurant inside so we had a nice hot breakfast as well.
Heading west on I-90 we stopped at Al's Oasis near Chamberlain S.D. There was plenty of parking for big rigs and they have a restaurant, large gift shop and a grocery store all hooked together. A lot of times when we stop our rig draws some attention. This time was no different and a truck driver approached me. He wanted to look things over since he also had a Montana, a Harley and owned his Kenworth that he was using to make a living with. His wife was with him and we spent a little while explaining things to them. He was really excited to see that it really is possible to "take it with you".
Our big purchase at Al's was a bag of grapes to snack on in the truck. I think Ron and Terri just browsed.
Heading west again we set the cruise control and settled in. When traveling like this I usually feel comfortable driving between 60-65 MPH. The speed limit in South Dakota is 75 on the interstate but I don't feel safe towing at anywhere near that speed. Ron and I talked some back and forth on the CB. I have always had CB radios in my tow vehicles and I keep them on channel 19, the "truckers channel" and here is why. I passed a truck and flipped on my signal to move back into the right lane. The trucker called me on the CB and told me the turn signals on the Montana were not working. He could see the one on the truck flashing and knew I had turned it on but had a problem. With him following me I did a "light check"over the CB, no turns or brake lights but had running lights ..... hmmmm, better check this out.
We ended up getting off at the next exit we found with a truck stop a few miles up the road. Ron went to wait in line for fuel while I checked my lights. The plug in from the trailer to the truck seemed a little loose so I unplugged it and plugged it back in and had Rudee run through the lights for me. Everything was working! Looks like the plug was just vibrating loose a little and not making a good connection. I guess they call these trucks "freight-shakers" for a reason. :-).
Back on the road with Ron leading we went about a mile when he called me on the radio and said his heat gauge was in the red and he was pulling over. That doesn't sound good. We got off the highway as far as we could onto the berm and when I walked up to Ron's truck I could see the antifreeze running out onto the ground. Not good at all!
Ron had the hood up and we could see the problem. The upper radiator hose clamp had failed and the hose was leaking. All we needed was a hose clamp that fit and refill the coolant.
I went back to our rig and pulled out my tool box. I knew I had a couple of small hose clamps but thought they were too small. I opened the tool box and right on top was the correct size clamp! I grabbed it and some hand tools and Ron and I had it on in a couple of minutes. He had a gallon of anti freeze and we supplemented that with water from our rig and were back on the road in about 15 minutes. Another crisis handled.
The rest if trip was pretty uneventful. We started seeing the Black Hills in the distance and knew we were getting close and were ready to be parked and relaxing.
To get to the campground we are staying at we had to go through Hill City S.D. and then turn in Custer S.D. We took US 16 which is a nice 4 lane road that winds through the hills (they call them hills but they look like mountains to me, LOL). As we were coming into Hill City we heard a familiar voice on the CB. Niles and Deb were on their bike and had ridden out to meet us! We followed them the rest of the way the campground.
We are now settled into site #19 at Custers Gulch Campground. The park is really nice and our site is very large. I think we are going to like it here :-). I'll add some photos soon and of course, I'll keep you posted!