82° / 63° Sunny ☀
TODAY’S RV PARK: St. Clair RV Resort
OUR RATING: 3 Stars – Decent campground, cell signal is terrible on Verizon and 2 bars 5G on AT&T. Constant struggle with campground staff regarding Electrical. Our Watchdog surge protector has errors. So does our neighbors. Staff says they are about to ban all surge protectors because they cause them problems. ;-( Our 50amp breaker broke yesterday and has to be replaced. Nearby towns are quaint with the Great Lake Huron a short 15 minute drive up the highway.
PRICE: (Free) Thousand Trails resort
TRIP MILES DRIVEN: 30,593
Our previous post left us in the Washington Cascade Mountains on our way to Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park. Well, Mother Nature had other plans for us. The night before we were due to drive across the Washington/Idaho state border to Glacier, the floods hit Yellowstone and the park was closed. The popular Glacier “Road to the Sun” was closed within hours, due to flooding as well. Guess you can’t drive on a road when it’s been washed away. NOW WHAT?!
I won’t kid you dear readers, we did panic. For about 7 loud minutes. Then we swung into action. We needed to act fast as all those other RV travelers who are also being re-routed out of the national parks and are also looking for alternate accommodations. RV blogs were going crazy with the news. We re-routed ourselves south of I-90 to hedge our luck on securing good vacation-worthy accommodations. After all, Tara did fly clear across the country for this trip and held a non-refundable return ticket to Tampa out of Milwaukee… in just 14 days.
KOA Super Patio
We backtracked and went straight south, losing 2 days in our 14-day countdown. Landing in Idaho, in our first ever KOA Patio ® Super Site. WOW folks! If you haven’t tried this yet, you gotta stay in one of these just once. “Patio ® Super Site” is different then the normal patios and is so new, it’s not even on the KOA website as an RV Site yet. Fortunately, you can see the options in the online booking process. These gazebo-like covered patios are fully enclosed grassy areas with brand new comfy patio furniture. Both of the ones we stayed at had outdoor kitchens, multiple seating areas for guests and a propane fueled fire pit. Our dogs were in love with these, since they were able to sun-bathe leash-free. Something they haven’t done since they had their own backyard.
Since we missed out on Glacier and Yellowstone, all our vacation want-to sights were fully rested on Mt. Rushmore. South Dakota didn’t disappoint.
The drive to South Dakota led us through Wyoming and the Badlands (photo right). There was no need to pay an over-priced wild animal park fare somewhere, the Buffalo clearly liked to roam near the highways. At least we got a stamp for our National Park stamp book at this rest stop. If you are planning a trip, by the time you read this and go yourself, the roads around the rest stop should be freshly paved. However, the roads WEST of the rest stop were awful.
A good/bad RV park can set the stage for things to come, no matter how adult and mature we try to be about things. Sometimes emotions and expectations get the better of us. In this case, our expectations were EXCEEDED by the Hart Ranch Camping Resort.
I’m here to testify, that this is the park all other parks should be measured by! It was laid out like a perfect little grid-like RV neighborhood with brand new roads, super large concrete pads for every camper and a full-time Activities Director planning tons of events throughout their many amenities. Including a super-busy snack bar by the pool with REAL FOOD and ice cream, a bar with TWO BUSY bartenders, bicycle rentals, a rodeo arena and stalls with those rodeo horses. The list just goes on. Tara and I enjoyed Happy Hour each night at the bar, as each happy hour was themed with some planned activities and fun. We only missed the live music because, well, we needed a nap. This was the only RV park where we felt like we were on a cruise ship and needed to stay much much longer then our planned 4 day vacation. Dang it if I was on vacation, the Verizon MOFI WIFI was 100/50. Oh the amount of work I could’ve done!!!!Our first day trip in South Dakota was a bee-line to Mt. Rushmore. A short 30 minute drive from Hart’s Ranch Camping Resort. It was a once-in-a-lifetime excursion that we will never forget. The most awe-inspiring thing we discovered was the bronze etched 500-word winning essay written about the History of America for the dedication of Mt. Rushmore.
Goosebumps. I want to live in an America like that.
Our second day trip took us on a white-knuckle drive through the Needles Highway. Just know this, our dually truck “Tatonka” is the same width as that tour bus! We measured just to make sure we’d fit before trying. Steve had to do this crazy maneuver 3 times. If you ever wanted to know what lies BEHIND the face of Mt. Rushmore… it’s the State park that the Needles Highway was built in.
At the tail end of our trip, we found a hack from Happily Ever Hanks on YouTube that we just had to try! While some windows are nice to have, the battle with privacy and constantly opening/closing blinds is just plain bothersome. Adding frosted/colored window tint to our RV windows was a game changer for us. What’s also great, is at night, you can’t see in!!! We have four windows that we treated, and the colored tint looks awesome from the outside – day or night. The white frosted film can’t be seen at either day or night from the outside. #ThanksHanks !!
Where We are Now
After dropping Tara off at the airport, we hung around Wisconsin for a bit and got really “cheesy”. Pun totally intended. We day-tripped to Amish country and loaded up on cheeses. Quickly passed through Chicago, and stayed only long enough to get take out deep-dish pizza from Pequods and a quick stop by a local hot dog stand. This took us to Indiana where we visited two groups of friends for lazy days by their pool. Followed by a very much needed 3-week break from the road at an RV park equi-distant between Indianapolis and Cincinnati. Since we discovered the carnival-like grocery store Jungle Jims in Cincinnati… we went twice. Just had to.
We are now in Michigan finishing up our summer Great Lakes tour and heading toward Niagara Falls for a couple of weeks. With our final destination of Maine in sights within 30 days.