Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Storms in Des Moines and RV Work

Location: Saylorville Lake Campground (COE); near Des Moines, Iowa (elev 950 ft)

Note: all pictures taken with Nokia Lumia Icon cell phone

First, I need to apologize to two people who tried to leave comments on the last post. I don't know who you are because your comments flashed up for just a second, then *poof* they were gone. I may have imagined them, but I wanted to make sure someone didn't think their comment was being ignored. I bet they were two world changing comments too and they just disappeared. Wow.

I pulled out of the Kansas City area early and since no one else was leaving the campground, I took my time at the dump station. While emptying and flushing the tanks, I checked out the weather. I had been a little worried because there has been a low front hanging around north of KC with the possibility of thunderstorms. Sure enough, there were storms heading northeast on a parallel track to I-35 which was my planned route. Doing some quick math, I thought I might be able to get to the Iowa Welcome Center before the two lines crossed. If I made it, I was leaving early enough so I would have time to park and wait for the storms to pass. But, of course, "the best laid plans of mice and men". The first storm hit me about 45 minutes from the welcome center, it was a short but vicious storm that left me driving blind for a short while. It passed quickly, then stopped raining entirely. My gas stop was about 30 miles before the welcome center so I made it in a drizzling rain. The clouds were banking up again and the last blinding storm was still fresh in my memory. I decided to go for it since the welcome center would be a better place to hole up than this gas station. So off I went, one hand on the steering wheel and the other calling up Accuweather radar. It was a close one, but I pulled into the welcome center and shut it down for about an hour while the strong storms passed over. A short nap later, and I was now north of the front and the storms were passing to the east and south. It was an easy drive onto the next campground.
I knew the storms path and my path were going to cross sooner or later. You can see the downpour ahead. Luckily it was just thunderstorms with moderate winds. No tornadoes.

The first storm passed quickly and the sky looked clear. The storms came back as I approached the welcome center.
This campground is another Corp of Engineers Campground, and with my one week old, old timers pass, the cost is only $11.00 per night. The campsites only have electric and you have to fill up your water tanks either at the dump station or one of the water spigots scattered around the campground. I chose to get water at the dump station since it was empty. As I was finishing up, an older class C camper pulled in with two ladies about my age or slightly older. They were unsure what to do so I helped them fill their water tanks. Then one opened the water heater panel and a brand new anode rod was laying there. I told them what it was and then pointed to where it went. Ut oh, there wasn't one installed. I went to get my tools to put it in for them but as I was doing so, the threads wouldn't start. I looked closely and calcium scale had hardened on the threads preventing the threads from catching. I informed them about the problem and showed it to them. I told them they needed a small wire brush to clean the threads before the anode could be installed. They said they would take care of it and we went our separate ways. I guess it must have just been a strange day since while I was setting Liberty up, two older men in two Class C's pulled up to the water spigot close to my campsite. I could see they were struggling with what to do. I asked if they needed help and sure enough, they needed it. I helped them add Clorox to their water tanks and let them use by filler hose and Clorox dispenser. I'm not sure what was going on because during conversation, they said they live in Des Moines and camp here a lot. Oh well, I built up a little karma, so I was happy.
It's a nice campsite with 50 amp service and new, level concrete pads. All for $11.00 a night, loving it. 
I also went to Home Depot and Walmart today in between storms. I bought some nuts and bolts to take care of my spare tire bracket. Having the lugs on the bracket spin without loosening won't happen again like they did after the blow out. I'm posting pictures here to document the work for future reference.
These are the two culprits. I kept them so I could embarrass them by posting about them. You can see where the square part of the carriage bolt has been rounded, thus the reason it was just spinning. The flat pieces were what was suppose to keep them from spinning. 

New set up with new carriage bolt. Also a washer set up with a final lock washer and nut. This ain't going to spin and of course if it does spin in the future, I won't post about it here. lol

Spare tire mounted. More secure than that original set up. The center blot is what holds the hard tire cover. If you're wondering what that white stuff is around my electrical cord, it's cotton twine. I wrapped it around so I could soak it with ant and roach spray to prevent bugs from crawling up the electrical cord. 
Some of my karma paid off today. I passed an RV place and took a chance they may have that center dust cover that is missing on the right tire. The original one is somewhere along the Indian Nation Turnpike along with parts of my old tire. Sure enough, they had the part. Also, while I was waiting I found a furnace floor register vent that I had been looking for. It is an odd ball size (2" X 10"), but they had one. I left the place in a really good mood. Karma sure is good when it is working in your favor. :)

Storms are popping up all around my location with a Tornado Watch to the northeast of me. I have a local radio station tuned in that is giving weather updates. I guess that is something I'm missing about not having my TV working. Usually, when storms were around, I could turn on the TV and get local weather updates, especially hazardous weather. Since something happened to my roof antenna, I guess I'll look into one of those antennas that mount directly to the TV. I'm sitting in prime tornado territory and this weather front is still hanging around. The forecast calls for more storms tomorrow but with clearing on Friday which is the next moving day.
This is the view across the fields today. They are definitely "pop-corn" storms. Popping up here, there, everywhere.
The weather has put a stop to any exploring. But that may just be an excuse since I didn't see a lot to explore in this area. I was able to make reservations at the next three campgrounds and takes me through June 30th. I'll need to decide which direction I go after that. East into Wisconsin and Michigan or west through Minnesota and North Dakota. I'm leaning towards west since I've never seen North Dakota. My father was there once and he always said,,,, "North Dakota was so flat that you could turn a bucket of water upside-down, remove the bucket and the water just stand there because it didn't know which way to run." If I heard that once, I heard it a hundred times. From what I've checked, there isn't a lot to see in North Dakota, but I guess its one of those things I have to see for myself. 

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.


  1. Good morning Darrell, Google "The Enchanted Highway"...that for us along with Theodore Roosevelt National Park was enough for us to love North Dakota. I'd love to get back there sometime. Those storms look scary glad you are safe.

    1. Hello K&S. Those were two things I found about North Dakota. Also the sunflowers but I don't think they will be blooming yet. Have fun.

  2. Have you ever driven along the western coast line of lower and upper Michigan? Lots of nice scenery and camping. Look up Cooper Harbor on the upper peninsula, visit shipping sights, light houses, etc. I would go there rather than North Dakota. Like you said, not much to see in ND. Because it is so flat, the expanses of the horizon is very very broad. What I remember most about ND is driving through the sun flower fields.

    1. Hi Gene, Yes, I've been to all of the Great Lakes and camped along the shores of all of them. That is one reason I thinking about heading west because it will be less backtracking. Although, the UP sure was pretty.

  3. Sounds like you are over your illness. Yay! Weather is a challenge to travel so keep an eye on the news and stay safe. We stayed at another COE campground in Des Moines last year. We love that low price tag. Des Moines has a beautiful Capitol Building if you have good enough weather to explore. Enjoy.

    1. I'm feeling a little better Barb, Thanks. Tomorrow is moving day and the rain was on and off again today. The Capitol building was on my list, but it looks like it will remain there until I pass this way again. Ya'll be safe out there.

  4. Love reading this blog. Looks like the good Lord is keeping you on your A game with tire trouble and weather! Well at least it's not boring. Stay safe & keep posting.