Threading the weather needle - Spring???

Spring in Iowa!

It’s spring, and we hadn’t seen any snow all winter so I guess we were overdue. When we left Bellingham, Washington, everything looked good through the first couple of passes on I90 east. Easy pulls, light traffic, and great scenery. We were off to a great start but we knew there was some challenging weather ahead of us and it soon became apparent there was weather coming in behind us. Still, it was nice where we were at; some snow on the ground but the road was clear and dry.

Our first stop was the Coeur d'Alene RV park in Post Falls, Idaho. The park had their water turned on, but temperatures were dropping so we took on water rather than stay connected. Not a big deal; it’s handy having a self contained fresh water tank. While we were out getting fuel for the next leg of the trip, we stopped to eat at Capone’s. Occasionally, we stumble across restaurants that have appeared on the Food Network’s Drive-ins, Diners and Dives. They’re always good, and this was no exception.

Pulled out in good order the next day headed for Missoula. We were essentially unwinding our trip out to the west coast, so we had some experience with the RV parks along this route. This time we were headed to Jim and Mary’s. The weather held, and Jim and Mary’s was as pleasant the second time as the first, just without all the flowers this early in the season.

From Missoula to Bozeman the next day. The weather reports ahead of us were getting worse, but we didn’t dare delay with another storm behind us. There was a gap between the two storms, and we were in it. We wanted to stay in it as long as we could. It was still cold, below freezing at night, and we could see it had rained recently, but it was still ahead of us.

Until the next day. We were headed to Sheridan, Wyoming, and our last pass, which turned out to be more of a hill. Now we were driving in some rain, and it was cold, but most of it was still ahead of us. Lots of snow on the ground, but the roads were clear. Lots of warning signs with flashers and gates in case I90 needed to be closed, but it was open where we were at. We had stayed at Perter D’s on the way out, and it was open, but all the water was turned off, except at the office where we took on enough water for the night. It was tempting to stay an extra night, but the storm behind us looked worse than what was ahead, so back on the road again the next morning.

By the time we got to Wall, South Dakota (it case you didn’t know it was the home of Wall Drug, you get lots of reminders as you get closer to Wall), we could see the affects of all the recent snow. The Sleepy Hollow RV park there was open, but they only had a few sites plowed out. We had our choice, but our first try didn’t work out too well. It was so wet, our leveling blocks just sunk in the mud and refused to stay under the wheels, so we pulled out and tried another site. It was level enough and I really needed fuel, so we called it good and went to town. Last time we were here it as full of bikers on their way to the Sturgis bike rally. Much quieter this time. Also discovered there was only one gas station with diesel, and they were 25 cents a gallon higher than what we were seeing on the interstate. Still cheaper than California.

Pulled out the next day without a full load of fuel on our way to Sioux Falls where we expected to see even more snow. We weren’t disappointed. The Tower Campground only had a few sites open due to storm damage and a renovation. We were able to get a site for two nights, but we needed to use the truck’s 4-wheel drive to get the 5th wheel into it. Found out you couldn’t use levelers on top of snow either; they just get pushed out like they did with the mud. I really need to get a snow shovel for this spring camping. The site was long enough that we just backed up to get the wheels on a better footing and were able to setup. We needed the extra day to visit our home town of Madison, a short drive to the north, to take care of some business and collect our mail.
Gabe and Melissa

Then off to Storm Lake Iowa where we planned on staying awhile to visit with our oldest son Gabe and his wife Melissa. Things were so bad in Sioux Falls, however, that we called ahead to see if the Storm Lake city park was still planning on being open. Yep, they were. We would be their first customer. Their only customer, it turned out. Nice enough when we got here, but now that storm that was following us caught up with us. We thought it would be mostly rain, but now it’s looking like mostly snow. Going to have to disconnect the water again. Doesn’t matter much, since Cedar Rapids, our destination for most of the summer, it getting socked also with lots of rain that’s turning to snow. At least this park is open, although our park host is probably wishing they weren’t. We’ll have to see what happens in Cedar Rapids before we volunteer to leave here. We don’t mind visiting longer with Gabe and Melissa, but the roads are so bad that we can’t even do that. Spring camping in Iowa.

Hope its better wherever you are. Happy Trails......................


  1. Wow, you certainly had some adventures. Glad nothing bad happened. We were dodging storms on our way north, too but managed to avoid the snow except for a very light dusting in Omaha. Wisconsin is just cold with lots of rain. They are on track for having the wettest April on record. So far, no snow although they're predicting some flurries tomorrow. Enjoy your visit with Gabe and Melissa and stay dry and warm!

  2. You were lucky to get through all those mountainous states with good roads at this time of the year. Hope it warms up soon, as I will be heading north in a week or so.

  3. So glad you've made it this far safely. Not really a good time to be traveling in the north country. Hopefully you can stay put until things clear up a little.

  4. Glad you made it over the mountains without incident. Tower Campground was undergoing renovations in October when we were there. Geez, long time to be working on it!

  5. Glad you made it back safely to Iowa. I had forgotten what springtime in the midwest could be like. We experienced similar weather when we traveled back to Ohio, with freezing temps at night. Enjoy your time with Gabe and Melissa.

  6. Quite the trip - and, very different from our drive up the west coast!

    Glad you made it safely. Great photo of your son and his wife too!


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