Thursday, January 26, 2017

4,000 Miles in 4 Days!


Ask fulltime RV’ers how many miles they travel on a typical day and you will get a variety of answers; 200 miles? 300 miles? Certainly no more than 400 miles……so traveling over 4,000 miles in 4 days is absolutely crazy! Who would do that?!?! That is exactly what I did over 4 days last week. To be fair, I did have a little help from both Delta and Spirit airlines.
The mission was to fly from Phoenix to Minneapolis then drive from there to Custer, South Dakota to have another look at a piece of land we were interested in. Kind of like a mini vacation! Why fly into Minneapolis instead of Rapid City you ask? First it was crazy expensive to fly into Rapid City and second, my friend Kevin volunteered to come along. Since he is a general contractor his advice and support would be greatly appreciated. Roundtrip the flights were a whopping $135 with taxes included on two different airlines. This was reduced $85 after receiving an unexpected credit on our credit card for booking airline travel. How cool is that?

Having never flown Spirit Airlines I did not know what to expect. We knew they were a low cost budget airline but did not really know what that meant. The first thing we found out is that they do not serve a beverage or a snack…. No problem. The next thing we discovered is that there is less leg room then other airlines…..Again no problem. But after borrowing a carryon from Steve and Dianne and packing for the trip we discovered that they charge $45 carryon luggage. Yikes, that really cuts into the low cost tickets! You could however carry on a personal item as long as it was no bigger than 16"x14"x12". Other potential fees include; a $35 fee if you need agent assistance when booking your trip, a $10 fee if you need your boarding pass printed out by an agent (free at in airport kiosks), and a seat assignment fee from $1-$50 if you want to select your seat (random assignments are free).

My challenge was to avoid the $45 carry on fee; I considered wearing four pair of underwear, socks, shirts and jeans walking onto the plane like the Michelin man! Instead I emptied out my camera bag, rolled, stuffed and jammed 4 days of clothes into such a small little case.

The flight itself was great. I rolled the dice and went with the free random seat assignment. The flight was virtually empty so I had a row all to myself. I would definitely fly Spirit again.

My brother Bob picked me up at the airport about 7:30pm and drove back to his house. I had not seen him and his wife Greta in over a year! We visited until about 11:00pm before we called it a night. The highlight of the evening was the fact that Greta made chocolate chip bars for me to take on the trip...Thanks Greta!!!! Kevin picked me up about 5:15 the next morning and we drove the 10 ½ hours to Custer.
Barb and I have pretty specific criteria in what we were looking for in land. Number 1 it needs to be remote, no neighbors, we don’t even want to see our neighbors. Our #2 item is the view, whether it be a long distance view or we can only see 100 yards we would like our view to shout Black Hills. This was the easiest of the criteria as almost every piece outside of town checked this box. Last but not least is accessibility. Finding property with all three of these criteria in our price range is somewhat challenging. There is plenty of property for sale but most are very close to roadways or have neighbors in close proximity. Many of the remote properties were 100 acres or more pushing it out of our price range while others were so remote they only offered seasonal access or did not have electricity in the area.

Armed with a list of about a dozen pieces we were interested in we started our search. First up was a remote 80 acre piece of property outside of Pringle that Barb and I walked in November that we were really interested in and wanted to get another look at. It had incredible views and plenty of wildlife in the form of deer, elk and turkeys. But after walking it with Kevin he pointed out that building a road, driveway and running power onto the property would be too expensive to make it viable.
View from the 80 acres

View from another potential building site on the 80
We walked each of the properties on our list slowly eliminating them for one reason or another.
This one had a great view but the nearest power was 1/2 mile away
Kevin checking out the view on another piece

In the end we had three properties that met all our criteria with our top choice being a 20 acre piece ½ mile down the road from the 80 acre piece we originally liked. Located right on a nice gravel road, it had power along the property line, a combination of open and woods with a deep ravine running through it, great views and lot of wildlife! Next step is to get Barb up there to look at it in early April!

Our initial plan would be to put an RV pad on it for us to stay on and eventually build a house over the next several years. We don’t have any immediate plans to get off the road but instead use it for a home base several months out of the year and of course we would have the pad for all our RV friends to use when they are in the area
These guys were camped out on the 20 acres we liked

This would be the view from the house site
Google Earth view of the approximate boundaries

This gnarly old tree was in a ravine on the 20 acres
Satisfied we had a successful trip we drove back to Minneapolis and Kevin dropped me off at the airport on the way by where I waited 2 hours for my flight back to Phoenix. The Delta flight back great, it was on a 575 and again had a row all to myself. While working I flew quite a bit but I bet it had been 7 years or more since I have flown out of Minneapolis. The airport has changed quite a bit for the better and each of the seats on the 757 had a monitor where you could watch shows, play games and get flight details. Very cool!

We are pretty excited about this adventure and if everything goes well we will be South Dakota landowners in the spring! In the meantime the Quartzsite RV Show is in full swing here in so there is lots to see in and around town!

26 comments:

  1. My fingers are crossed! The Black Hills is the one place I've seen that I feel would be a great place to live.

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    1. I thought about looking up Rudy and Phil since we stayed right in Custer but figured they were here at the show. Ends up they are not here and must be back home!

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  2. We hope all goes well for you two.

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  3. How exciting! I've heard so many great things about that area - got to get there someday!

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  4. Looks like a great spot. Hope it works out for ya!

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  5. Fingers crossed for successful land acquisition!! We've spent most of the winter looking for a slice of land in Texas to do exactly what you guys are doing!

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    1. We also love the hill country of Texas and if it was more centrally located to some of our other activities we would definitely consider it!

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  6. And it is only a hop, skip and 3,000 mile jump to the great Salmon fishing in Alaska! Hope it works out for you.

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    1. Ugh! We are really going to miss fishing up there this summer but alas, Ontario is calling us so we are going to head up there this summer.

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  7. My guess is, if you can love it in the bleak of winter, it's a shoo-in come April! And at that price, accrual of the frequent flyer miles alone is worth it!

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    1. We actually miss a little snow. I am guessing we would stay there November and December each year then get the heck out of there after getting a taste of winter!

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  8. Hope all goes well. Hey if you're going to have space for RV's maybe we'll have to come visit in 2018 when we have to return to SD to renew our licenses!

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    1. Having a place for our friends and family to park their rigs is one of our top priorities!

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  9. Great pics of your potentials ... hope you get the property you want. Not as much snow there as I thought.

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  10. Looks like a beautiful piece of property! I love the wide open view:) How sweet to see those little girls there to say hello. Too bad they don't know why you are moving there!!!!! Hope the property waits for you:) Looking forward to meeting up in Tucson!!

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    1. Shhh.... don't tell the deer anything! See you in a couple weeks!

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  11. That is absolutely beautiful. We love that area. Save a spot on one of those pads for us to visit ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  12. Exciting! We really enjoyed SD when we visited that area. We too keep looking for that 'home base' parcel. Hasn't been easy. Look forward to hearing more about things in the spring.

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    1. We have found three areas that we could see ourselves living long term.... the Sequim area of Washington, the hill country of Texas and the Black Hills. We are leaning towards the Black Hills as it offers 4 seasons and is centrally located to our families.

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  13. With all the interest, Jim...you are going to have to open a campground!

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    1. I think once a few people see the road they would have to go down they might change their mind!

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  14. Looks like a great place,hope it all works out for you guys :)
    The Black Hills are great place best wishes to you both Rick

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  15. We were surprised how much we really liked the Black Hills too. Hope it works out for you! And Jim is right, you may just need to open a campground!

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  16. Sure hope this works out for you. We hope to visit the Black Hills sometime in the future. Perhaps you two can be our guides. :-)

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    1. If we are there, we will be more than happy to show you around!

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