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Our First Year RVing
The year is 2005, and the topic is LTRVD0404 Our First Year RVing. We were able to sell 2 houses at the top of the market and start looking for a suitable RV. We made a visit to Lazy Days in Tampa, FL and found our dream rig, a 2004 Fleetwood Expedition.
After purchasing our rig on the last day of February, we left it at Lazy Days and went home to get rid of most of our “stuff”. Between our kids picking up a truck load and a couple of garage sales, we pared all our stuff down to a manageable stack. We picked up the rig mid month and did our shake-down at the Sun-n-Fun RV resort in Sarasota, FL.
After the initial week or two at Sun-n-Fun, we headed back to Lazy Days to have our car set up for towing at the Camping World store that used to be there. Almost $3,000 later, we were all set to begin flat towing our 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe. Eventually, we put almost 60,000 miles dragging it around the country before replacing it with a 2014 Honda CRV.
We departed the Sarasota area in early May headed for South Dakota. Along the way we made stops to see friends and family. The first stop was in Charleston, SC to see the city and visit long-time friends John and Adrienne, who would later buy their own RV. After touring the city, we left to visit our youngest son and his family in Maryland and We stayed at the Bar Harbor RV Resort nearby. We would come to visit that park several more times over the years. We had a great time with son Matt and his family. We stayed a week, but the road was calling.
Early in July we stopped near Bellfountaine, OH to visit our oldest son Steve and his family. It was there where we did our first “Black Water Dance”. Then we were off to Wooster, OH and the Chapter 36 rally there. It was our first Escapee Rally and it was great. The road was still calling and we headed west towards our goal of reaching Mount Rushmore. First up was a one night stay in Sioux Falls for our SD license plates, driver’s licenses, voting registration, and SD insurance. Then we got out on I-90 and reached the town of Mitchell and the main attraction there, the Corn Palace. Next was Wall, SD and a visit to both Wall Drug Store and the Badlands National Park.
Kathy and I finally ended up in Rapid City, SD and stayed at Hart Ranch RV Resort, which turned out to be our summer home for 4 out of the next 5 summers. We did a lot of touring making stops at Mt. Rushmore (finally!), Bear Country USA, the Crazy Horse Memorial, and the first of many trips to Custer State Park.
We started workamping at Hart Ranch, and during our off days, we visited the Iron Mountain Road inside Custer State Park, the Mammoth Dig in Hot Springs, the towns of Deadwood, Lead, and Sturgis. We were in Sturgis during the Bike rally. Leaving Sturgis, we went through the town of Spearfish and did our first tour of the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Drive. It was awesome!
We went to the Escapees Escapade in Illinois in 2005 and we became DOVEs. That stands for Disaster Operations Volunteer Escapees. Immediately after the rally, we were sent to San Antonio, TX to a shelter for folks from New Orleans. Quite an interesting 3 weeks. Then we went over to Livingston, TX to the Escapees CARE Center where we volunteered for 10 weeks. Probably our very best volunteer gig ever.