We decided early this year to attend the 100th Rally presented by the Family Motor Coach Association in Minot, ND, scheduled for August 14-16. Neither of us have ever visited North Dakota, much less Minot. Despite the rainy weather, we had a great time. The town really turned up the hospitality for our group, even hosting a Classic Car Rally and block party on Main Street. Over 1800 coaches were there and the FMCA did a great job with the event prep and execution (at least in my opinion – there were other attendees who did not agree). Of the five days we spent there, three were rainy and cold. We thoroughly enjoyed wearing jackets and long sleeves in August! Because of the rain, several RV sites were underwater – those were mostly the people who weren’t happy with FMCA. However, one fun-loving couple built a “dock” out of used pallets they scavenged and set up fishing poles. Talk about making lemonade!!
The journey north to Minot was an adventure in and of itself. We finally left home base in Livingston TX on Sunday, August 4….after a very frustrating start. First the sewer hose connection broke – in Jim’s hands – and then the “toad” (our GMC Canyon pickup truck) had a problem with the four-wheel drive, and we were unable to tow it with us. We decided if we needed a car we would either rent one or call Uber. Thanks to friends and family, neither of those options were necessary. Our first night was spent in the tiny little town of Antlers, OK. Other than the mound of fire ants I found (with my feet in flip flops), the end of the day was uneventful.
Our second day on the road started out similar to our first day.. with the navigator (that’s me) having “issues” with the new Garmin. We planned to stay in Tulsa, OK, but decided instead to stay at the “Downstream Casino” on the Kansas/Oklahoma state line. It’s a beautiful resort/casino that rivals those in Las Vegas. Quite a surprise for being located literally in the middle of nowhere. We headed for their “luxurious 40-space, wooded RV Resort”. Unfortunately a surprise roundabout caused us to miss the correct turn (did I mention I’m the navigator?) However, we found a bonus: the casino offers electric and water hookups at no charge to members of their Players’ Club in their upper parking area. Kudos to the shuttle bus drivers who were all extremely courteous. One lady driver took me to the Players club and waited while I signed up. Then she took me directly back to our RV, where I found Jimmy taking photos of the buffalo “roaming” in the field next to us. Another bonus: later that night, I won a $700 jackpot!
The next day’s drive started out yet again with navigation problems…heavy sigh. After getting on the freeway, headed in the wrong direction, we got off at the first opportunity and got back on heading the correct way. ….NOT. Turns out the first direction was correct – I blame the roundabout 🙂 Once again we exited, and got back on the freeway, now truly headed in the correct direction. I have to mention the poor condition of this nation’s highways. If they aren’t under construction, they need to be. Jimmy’s a great driver and thank goodness we made each of our stops without mishaps.
That afternoon found us at the Rutlader Outpost RV Resort in Louisburg, KS. We chose this resort because it’s near my sister Marsha’s house and we planned to spend two nights visiting with her. The Rutlader RV Resort is really nice, with a very welcoming staff. After we got cleaned up, we called Marsha who picked us up and took us to dinner. What a great Mexican restaurant…good food and excellent margaritas. We then went to her house – she’s lived in the same place for the last 35+ years. It’s about 40 acres, with a pond, about an hour from Kansas City. Marsha is also a master gardener and her yard is GORGEOUS. I felt quite inadequate when looking at the bounty her tomato plants were producing – my one lonely plant died about a month ago. She took pity on me and shared her secret – a printout of things that should be in the hole before the tomato plant is planted. Before you ask….it’s a secret…
The next day started with a thunderstorm and rain, but it cleared up (mostly) around lunchtime. Marsha picked us up and we went to the Louisburg Cider Mill. What a great place! They have an extensive gift shop, fresh spices, and of course apple cider. The best offering though was their apple cider donuts. After enjoying a couple of these decadent treats, we spent quite a lot of time just looking around. I found out later that Jim was offered a job as a tour guide, if we wanted to stay in Louisburg!
We then went back to Marsha’s house to help set up for the picnic she’d planned. Several other members of my family were invited to come enjoy hot dogs, brats, salads, s’mores at the fire pit and of course home made pie! Because it was a weekday, not everybody could make it, but they were there in spirit. Pictured throughout the photos are my aunt Pat and uncle Wayne Hanna, cousin Kirk, niece Emily, her husband Chad and their son Jake Brown; our nephew Aaron, his wife Tammy and their twins Alex and Zach; along with our nephew Adam and his wife Shelly. We even “face-timed” with my brother Russ in California too. We all thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company , the great food, the whiskey and cigars, and most of all the hospitality. Thank you Marsha Parker for an absolutely awesome visit, and thank you for being our “Uber” driver.
The next day we headed toward Council Bluffs, IA. Our destination was the Horseshoe Casino’s RV Park. What a disappointment, particularly when compared to our experience at the Downstream Casino. We both expected quite a bit more from a Caesar’s Entertainment property. We stayed in the parking lot, with just electric and water hookups. This wasn’t a problem…the problem was the $40 they charged!!
The next day was quite a long drive, over 300 miles. However, we wanted to have a fairly easy/early day when arriving in Minot. So this night we stayed at the County Line RV Park in Summit, SD Very nice park, very friendly folks running it. and yet another job offer for next summer. The weather was cold and rainy and again we really enjoyed wearing sweatshirts in August!! The final night on the road was at the Jamestown ND Campground, and it is a definite “do-over”. The area is beautiful and the campground is awesome.
The final leg into Minot was short, and we started seeing a lot more RV’s on the road. We decided to make a stop (YAY!! Jim usually doesn’t like to make stops….) at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center is Washburn, ND. Jim claims Meriwether Lewis is his fourth-great (or maybe fifth-great uncle). Can you see the resemblance in the photo with Jim standing next to the statue of Meriwether Lewis?
We drove on into Minot and found the staging area with only one minor detour (the navigator is getting more used to the Garmin). Fortunately, we were able to park in our designated spot a day earlier than we planned.
We took full advantage of all the Rally offered. We both attended a variety of seminars; shopped the vendors; had some service done (the aquahot was due and Tiffin had techs on site); met some new friends, bumped into an old friend from Bullhead City – Richard Tripp – and really enjoyed the entertainment offerings. One of the “seminars” was a sip and paint….guess who sipped more from the flask in her purse?
If you ever find yourself at a State or County Fair, “Daryl’s Racing Pigs are a hoot!!” The one in the pink won!!
The way back to home base in Livingston TX was also filled with fun adventures, so stay tuned for the next post.