We actually left North Dakota a day earlier than we had anticipated as we wanted to miss a forecasted snow storm on that Friday. So what did we run into on our way south? A snow storm of course. Actually there were only two stretches that were sketchy. We had the back end of the truck do a little fishtail on a slippery bridge just before the South Dakota border but that was nothing compared to what we ran into when we hit the Black Hills.We arrived in Rapid City about 5:00pm, there was a light snow but it was melting when it hit the surface. Barb was driving and although we were going to arrive at our property after dark (something we try not to do) life was good. Until……we hit the hills and the temperature plummeted and the roads became slick. Normally I am a pretty good passenger but with all the up hills, down hills and curves combined with the slippery roads I was like a cat on a hot tin roof. Finally Barb had had enough (of me) and pulled over and said she could not take me being a passenger-seat driver and told me to drive.
The 30 minute drive between Rockerville and Hill City was the worse with multiple spinouts along the way. We kept it in slow and in 4WD and arrived safely about 6:30. Tired and somewhat uptight we pulled onto our road and let out a sigh of relief. As we rounded the corner we saw the Jordan’s truck at the end of their driveway. We had a welcoming committee! They both jumped out of their truck as we pulled up and rolled down the window. Brenda immediately handed up a big dish of warm chili, bread sticks and freshly baked brownies! What great neighbors we have!!!!!That night we just parked and put out the slides, ate some excellent chili and crashed. The next morning we work up to......
|To the east|
|To the north|
..... then we went over to visit our neighbors and thank them for the great dinner. They weren't home but when we were about to leave, look who walked out of the trees......
|These Floridians seem to be adapting well|
The temps have been a roller coaster, with highs anywhere from the mid 20’s to 40 and lows from the low teens to 30. If the winds are not too strong being outside with temps in the mid 20’s are quite comfortable.
We did have one mini crisis the other day when we ran into Rapid City. It was 18 when we left, when we arrive home 7 hours later it was 28. Walking into the rig we knew something was not quite right, it was too cold. We like it cold but not that cold. We quickly determined that we had run out of propane. No biggy, we just put in a new bottle and we were good to go. Except……there was no water….not even a trickle….we were froze up! Ugh! 4:00 in the afternoon, with the temps getting down into the low teens I had to get to work. I ran to town and bought a small ceramic heater, tore everything out of the belly and took down the belly walls so I could access the water pump and assess the situation.
|So many hoses, which one is frozen?|
I was able to determine that the freeze was somewhere between the pump and the water tank but unfortunately the supply hose to the water pump heads towards the back of the rig into no mans land. You just cannot follow it without dropping the entire underbelly and for those of you who have done this know it is not something you want to do.So I put the ceramic heater in the belly (making sure nothing would catch on fire), turned up the heat in the rig (looks like I will be sleeping outside) and hoped for the best. After a hot restless night we turned on the water pump, turned on the faucet and prayed……nothing…Nerts!
Time to move onto plan B…. Install foam board all around the rig and heat under the rig. Just as I was getting ready to head to town for foam board we heard the rumble of a truck coming up the driveway and in pulls in a belly dumper full of gravel. Ugh! Even though we have the house location staked out we still needed to stake out the parking area and the shed. So I ran out and told him where to dump that load and Barb and I went to work staking out the rest of what needed to be done.
|Belly dumper unloading one of many loads of gravel|
|Then the skidsteer and mini excavator went to work leveling everything|
A hour or so later we came back in the house and just for fun I turned on the pump and the faucet….and….we had water! Whew, that is one stresser we can cross off our list. So while I stayed home and babysat the gravel project Barb went into town and pick up some foam to put around the rig. Since it was warming up a little and we thawed, the project was not as urgent as it was earlier in the day but regardless, we got it done over the next couple of days while watching the gravel project take place as well.
While she was gone I dropped the underbelly pan and what did I discover? The waterline going from the main tank to the pump ran within 5 inches of the outside sheet metal before it went into the insulated floor leading to the pump. The only thing protecting it from the elements was a thin piece of sheet metal. Talk about a bad design! I also saw a kink in the vent hose so I fixed that at the same time.
|All of these hoses were exposed to the elements|
|2"'s of foam and spray foam should do the trick|
Now it was time to put the foam skirting around the rig.......
We had enough gravel delivered to prep and level our building site as well as finish off the RV and shed area. Now we should be ready for concrete in the spring if we are ready for that phase of the project.
In our spare time we have been continuing our fence work putting in the remaining T posts and put up a couple more strands of wire. Barb also transplanted a few trees hoping to get a line of trees growing to the north.
Meanwhile over at the Jordan's Jim and Brenda have been busy with their own project of running sewer pipe down to their drain field.
|Jim trenching his sewer pipe|
Sound like a lot of work? Well, we have managed to get out twice with Jim and Brenda as well as Phil and Rudee. Once to dinner and once to watch the Thursday night football game at a bar in Custer.With all this going on we feel like we have been back here for weeks but in reality it has been less than 10 days. It has to slow down sooner or later!