Wednesday, September 1, 2010


As I closed the bedroom slide this morning, I heard a BANG so loud it brought Odel inside.  Uh, oh.  What now?  We gathered our limited technical wits about us, moved the slide in and out, flashed a flashlight beam here and there, scratched our heads and wiggled our eyebrows, each secretly hoping our spouse would have an a-HA moment.  Still not fixed – darn!

North Dakota: green grass, wheatfields, blue lakesTo the computer we went, resulting in a few phone calls to repair facilities in Billings, on today’s route.  No luck, as both places have a two-week waiting list.  We got the name and number of a mobile service operating out of Billings, so we left a message and waited for a call back.

Meanwhile, the slide is only sticking out a little bit (it still moves in and out), so we are once again on the road in our quest to reach Livingston, Montana, on Friday.

We left Crookston, Minnesota on Monday morning and stopped half way across North Dakota that afternoon, at pleasant Roughrider Campground (click here to read our review and see photos) in Minot.  Once again, driving through North Dakota’s beautiful, rolling green hills and farmland, we commented over and over on how appealing the state is in summer.  Pity the poor pioneer who arrived during the season of lush green grass, bottomless blue lakes, and brilliant sunshine, happily selected his homestead and built his sod house, only to be buried in winter’s blizzards.  Surprise!

Becky, Lonnie, Sharon, Don and Odel Tuesday was so unusual for us – we spent the entire day socializing, and in Minot, ND of all places.  Boomers Sharon and Don have been “settled” in a campground there for five weeks while Don recovered from a ladder accident – the idea of a visit with them guided our choice of route to the west.  We met for a late breakfast at Denny’s, where Sharon and wheelchair-bound Don showed up in the company of another Boomer couple, Becky and Lonnie.  After commiserating with Don and Sharon’s plight, our breakfast chatter turned to the usual full timer topics: campgrounds, rallies, places to visit, places to avoid. 

Back home after breakfast, we awaited the arrival of virtual friend Sue Malone and her traveling partner Mo.  I first “met” Sue when she left a comment on our blog a couple of years ago, and we’ve exchanged emails from time to time.  Sue and Mo are on an extended loop trip from Oregon to the east and back, and when it looked like our paths could cross, we were determined to make it happen. 

Odel, Sue, and me; thanks for the photo, Sue! Right around 2 pm, the MoHo pulled into the vacant site next to us, and we finally got to exchange hugs and hellos with Sue and Mo.  Their overnight site was still a hundred miles to the east, so they weren’t able to linger too long, but we packed a LOT of conversation into the time they had!

Then, in spite of pouring rain (it had rained all day), we headed to Sharon and Don’s spacious Phaeton for happy hour with our hosts and Becky and Lonnie.  At his afternoon doctor appointment, Don’s cast had been removed and he was out of his wheelchair!   Sharon and Don were spinning with the excitement of being able to move on.  Big smiles all around.  After a couple more hours of quality social time and snacking, we took our tired selves home to a dinner of salad and popcorn.  :)

On Wednesday, we were on the road shortly after 9 am, heading to Glendive, Montana.  All of the sudden, we were in the WEST.  The big sky, the buttes and bluffs, the sage covered hillsides and towering cottonwoods.  The only green patches are the irrigated crop squares and circles, and the sinuous curves of the riverbanks.  What a dramatic change from the green of the east.

Makoshika State Park badlands Just north of Glendive, we checked into little Green Valley Campground (click here to read our review and see photos), set up, and immediately took off for Makoshika State Park, hoping to find a good hike.  Wow, did we stumble on a beautiful surprise – gorgeous badlands, fascinating hiking, and few people.  We spent the afternoon exploring the weird formations and enjoying the fantastic weather – big puffy clouds, sunshine, 70 degrees. 

As I write this, we’re heading west on I-94.  Jim, the mobile repair guy, called back (hurray for cell phones and cell service on the road!) and we’ve made a plan to meet at a truck stop in Billings this afternoon.  With any luck, the BANG will just be a blip in the travel plans (fingers crossed).


  1. I'm curious to know what is wrong with the slide. I couldn't get one of mine in completely when I left Savannah, but after a couple of nights on the road it finally retracted all the way. I never did hear a bang, though.

    You are probably glad to get back to the west, but I sure am ready for the green of the east.

  2. Bangs are never good. We're crossing our fingers for you. Hopefully it's something easy and quick to fix. Like a bolt popped out or something. Keep us apprised.

    I agree with you on the vast difference between the east and west landscapes. What a wonderfully diverse country we live in!

  3. The last time I heard a bang after I opened it I found that the little latch that acts a a safety for the glass door had failed and the left glass door had popped open from its magnet and when the slide went out it crushed the glass and broke it. It cost me $40US to have a smoked glass door made and I did the install myself. I put a bigger safety catch on too. Hope that isn't what happened. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna.

  4. I hate those noises that I can't identify right off. Travel safe


  5. The slide in our Cougar broke once..Luckily McGuyver could fix it...something about the turning gizmo lost a clip...Heck, I'm not sure...but I'm sure the Traveling Magic RV Fixer will fix it...

  6. Hope the slide problem is easily fixed, and hope you don't get into a big rainstorm. Thanks so much for stopping by to spend time with us! We enjoyed the day with you and were glad it worked out for Becky and Lonnie to be there too.

  7. Hope you guys get good news at the truck stop today.

  8. I hope the BANG turns out to be something simple and cheap to fix!

    Oh -- I LOVED your description of driving into Montana: "On Wednesday, we were on the road shortly after 9 am, heading to Glendive, Montana. All of the sudden, we were in the WEST. The big sky, the buttes and bluffs, the sage covered hillsides and towering cottonwoods."

    I've never been there (yet!), but that is how I've always imagined the drive to be like.

  9. As green & lush as this side of the country is I still long for the wide open spaces of the west, & like you, look forward to returning there soon.