Ok… Ok… We are a bunch of tourists

We are the type of people that head East to go West…. Trust me it’s faster than the alternative…..

We left the Badlands and drove 160 plus miles to Rushmore and are sitting at 5200 feet eating a sandwich before taking obligatory pictures of picking Roosevelts nose.

Rushmore is a must see, and fantastic.

Note, I am posting pictures of the badlands and Rushmore tomorrow…

We are off to crazy horse and firehouse brewery for dinner…. It was the 1000 signs on the side of the road and the fire engines…. Who doesn’t like fire engines!

The Z was good

About 5 minutes ago, the only thing making noise out here was me. Now an owl, turkey, cricket, a few birds and others have joined the chorus

I awoke at 3:30, silly animals… The coyotes or wolves were howling in the distance. I checked our camp which was miraculously still there.

That’s when I looked up…. I was able to see so many stars in the night sky! If it wasn’t in the 40s last night I would have retrieved the camera.

Now sitting here after getting up at 5:30 to see the Sun come up, I can finally reflect on last night.

Maddog and I get to the Badlands and of course choose the campsite without potable water, or water that I would jump in. I see the campsite from the 13 mile road and think well that desert looks promising, let’s camp at the far end of the ring away from the setting Sun.

I grab the two collapsable chairs and we grab our drinks and sit in the shade of Bessy.

After an hour of chill-in, Maddog sees another truck of his dreams; the picture is attached. He wanders over to introduce himself to our other neighbor. Maddog gets the new age brushoff,” I am on the phone, aka my truck rocks and you don’t make enough to warrant my time.”

Maddog comes back, and we begin to think what-the-he’ll, is everyone this bad…. I thought the Midwest was fun, and polite.

Maddog is persistent and greets the next folk who drive in, two burning-man cuties, who instantly hooked on the mountain man charm. I think The collective 6 week beard is what does it. They then drive up a little hill and camp. ( worry not fellow readers He tries tries again)

We get diner started and meet our neighbors to the right, two post-grad dudes with tunes and an idea to play bacchi ball. They bring the tunes over, and we chill, and the first of the two girls arrive and lay down a fun story.

They, one German 26 year old, and one American are on a “road trip” on the way to burning man. You should look on NPRs website to learn more about burning man.

The American girl has just returned to the US after disaster relief in Africa, Peru and Haiti. She previously worked in Alaska at a cannery in Anchorage while going to school, and leaving with one semester left to Graduate.

She is about to work for Raytheon in Antartica and had a brainstorm of going to burning-man. The German girl gets wind of it, and asks to come to the US and join her. She gets a one way ticket, and tries flying over, the immigration officials don’t let her on the plane, and she buys a second flight back to Germany from NY. The German girl now has 30 euro on hand and flies over to begin the trip.

Can you see the foreshadowing? American girl prepaid for burning man, has just enough cash to avoid toll roads and get to South Dakota. She leaves from NY goes to Ontario visits a friend, drives around Chicago, and drives to South Dakota. She only pays for gas, begs for water, and looks for ways to get food. The German girl is freaking out, and overly pessimistic, and brought the moral down for their trip.

She comes to hang out, and we invite both of the girls for dinner. Note, the way Maddog and I pack we always have plenty. They join us for dinner, and we talk. We all rave about the zuchinni.

Mister Opportunity, aka Mister Persistent, cracked the shell, the story told and a good time had by all.

Now to pickup the site and move on!

Posting pics on Monday!


We drove over 1000 miles in 24 hours

We did

We are in Wisconsin

We had Dinner at fuddruckers
Ben is buying new shoes, thank god ( I have never seen more worn shoes )
We checked the oil and transmission fluid, cleaned the windows, aired the van, and did an hour cool down.

We are ready for the next ten to waldrug

Ps I now have a driver’s sun burn left side only

Problems with the Conversion Van

Have you ever had to deal with a custom part / installation?

Wow it’s a pain.   My Dad, who works at Napa, and I have been looking for replacement parts with the 57x Upfitters kit.  It’s an extension and pressure relief valve for the conversion van.  You would think that OEM parts would be easy to find.


The Rusted Corroded Valves (All Four)
The Rusted Corroded Valves (All Four)

PS. I would like to get this working so we can travel through Death Valley