Home, sweet home

After all of the fun in the Dakotas and Wyoming, we spent a couple of days back in Sioux Falls getting rested and ready to head back east.

We had been talking about trading in the Jeep Renegade for something else as Kerri really did not like driving it. So we had talked to a dealer in Sioux Falls who only had a handful of suitable front wheel drive models and none really suited us. We had also thought about going back to a 2 door Wrangler as well, but that would mean selling the dolly and getting all of the gear to tow 4 down again. We liked the looks and feel of the Cherokee, but finding FWD models was hard. They had one, but it turned out it was a loaner that got dinged up and had over 6K miles on it, and needed the windshield replaced. That pretty much put it out of our timeframe since they said it would take 4 days to get a new OEM windshield in.

So we left Sioux Falls and headed east on I-90 through Minnesota, across the Mississippi and into Wisconsin where we stayed for the night, just outside of Madison. It turned out to be a great place for some Packers shopping.

Once we left Madison, we went through Illinois and into Indiana and stopped at the Thor plant where they produce the Hurricane to take a tour. It was informative and fun, and the guy who did the tour (Derek) was knowledgeable and energetic. However, it was also very hot and our generator had been acting up when hot outside, so we didn’t want to leave the puppies in the RV for too long with an unreliable generator. Fortunately, Derek made the mistake of giving out his card and telling us to call if we needed anything, so we talked to him about having the RV serviced for both the generator and a jack issue (Leveler Retract Timeout) and he made some calls for us. But it is the busy season and nobody could fit us in right away so we decided to overnight at the RV/MH Hall of Fame and then check it out the next day before heading to NY.

The RV/MH Hall of Fame was fun and there were some really old and cool rigs to be seen in there. Visitors can also trace the history of the RV, from modified wagons to converted buses to fully designed from the ground up motorhomes. They also had stories of the people who have been part of the business, which were also interesting. A must see, if you are an RV’er.

We left Elkhart and headed east along I-90 through Ohio and stopped at a KOA on Lake Erie just across the PA/NY border called Westfield KOA. After some negotiation, we got the last pull through site so we didn’t have to unhook and settled in for a couple of days. It turns out there was a huge family reunion going on that even featured a band on Saturday night with all of my 80’s music. We danced and partied with the family and had a a great time. We also had a chance to do some minor work on the RV, getting our cup holder mods completed (spray painting them flat black to match the original cup holders) and also moving the TireMinder booster to the outside of the rear dump compartment while keeping it wired to the light inside. All in all, it was a good weekend and we didn’t even go swimming!

On Sunday, we packed up and headed north towards Niagara Falls. We stopped in Hamburg and did some shopping at the Bills Store, then Camping World and then looked at another dealer for a FWD Cherokee. We didn’t find a Cherokee there but we did go to the Big Tree Inn and got some amazing pizza.

After shopping at Walmart in Hamburg, we went to Niagara Falls to look for some FWD Cherokees that had been shown at a dealership on the web. The dealership ended up closing just before we made it there, so we went back to the Walmart in Niagara Falls, where we were joined by about 30 other RV’ers who packed in the parking lot. Some of them were exactly the kind of people who give RVing a bad name… they parked next to each other, put out their slides and awnings and lawn chairs and hooted and hollered until after 1 a.m. Once I was up and around I considered arming myself and paying them a visit, since I really needed the sleep. I didn’t pack heat but I did get dressed and walked around to eyeball them and they eventually got the hint and packed up and went inside. Of course I still didn’t get any sleep because I figured they would be the kind to come and do something after we went back to bed, so I stayed up reading some Jack Reacher and keeping an eye out.

On Monday morning, we woke up and headed back to the dealership and sure enough found the Cherokee we were looking for, a front wheel drive Cherry Red Cherokee Sport that was right in the price range. Of course, we took it for a test drive and it was everything Kerri hoped for. Then we got a lesson in interstate commerce as buying a car out of state can be very time consuming and frustrating. We had to make sure our insurance policy was good for moving the vehicle between states and it just so happened that USAA was having phone problems that day, so communication with them was a bit hard at times, plus in order to modify our policy, we found that we needed someone with a license to insure in both VA and SD to change our policy to make it correct (just changing mailing addresses doesn’t alter the policy, apparently.) It took 3 tries to find someone at USAA to do thatOnce all of that was straightened out, we finally got the paperwork signed and Kerri has herself a new 2017 Jeep Cherokee Sport in her favorite color. We went back to the RV after finishing at the dealership, got it all strapped up on the dolly and then it started to rain. Sigh.

We headed to Syracuse that evening, driving through a few showers along the way. We got to the NYS Fairgrounds around 8:30 p.m. but the gate they had said to use for early arrivals was closed. Fortunately another RV’er was also coming in and he had called and they gave him the information to use another gate and we would be escorted to a temporary site for the night. So we pulled in, got our electric hooked up, turned on the A/C and settled in.

We were told to be ready to move by 8 a.m. on Tuesday morning, so we got up early and unhooked and made ready to move. I talked to our fellow RV’er who turned out to be a vendor coming in for the show. After some discussion, we found out that we both played golf and he was looking for someone to play with on Wednesday. At that point, the FMCA volunteers came and lead us to our new site. We got settled in and as usual, took a nice long nap before setting up shop.

The Fairgrounds are different from when I was last here in the late 1970’s. No more race track (the current Empire RV Park is now sitting where the Moody Mile was) and it seems so much smaller. But there are plenty of rail tracks nearby and of course, we love trains…

So we are off to see the sights and hopefully catch up with my cousins here in the area. We hope the weather holds off so we can play some golf on Saturday morning in Marcellus and then visit with the family later in the day.

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