Day One – Departure

More photos here.

We were on the road around 8am starting a two-day journey to the Badlands of South Dakota. Could have made it in a day, probably, but I wanted to start easy. We’re hauling a hell of a lot more stuff than my test runs. Upside: the rig is more stable laden with all our crap (and properly inflated trailer tires). Didn’t notice an appreciable range reduction, though I’ve stopped doing thorough calcs now. What will be will be. 

Our only real sightseeing today was the Quebec 01 Missile Alert Facility outside of Chugwater, Wyoming. It’s not a missile silo, per se, but it was part of the United States’ Cold War-era nuclear arsenal command and control. (And yet only decommissioned in 2005.) Spartan like a college dormitory and yet outfitted with a pool table, a nice kitchen, an 8-track music deck, and other amenities. Weird to think of young soldiers passing the time there — sinking billiard balls, enjoying some tunes — while the keys to launch ICBM’s that would annihilate 20 million people were in the same facility.

Some small snafus on the journey. We were blocked in while charging by someone who parked and left their vehicle. (This happens at gas stations too, of course.) Through a stroke of sheer luck we found out that the owner of the car was a line chef inside an Olive Garden across the parking lot. So, we ate at Olive Garden while the manager tried to figure out which of his employees drove the blocking car. “Eat at Olive Garden” (blech) was absolutely not on my trip itinerary, certainly not on Father’s Day, but this trip is all about rolling with the punches. Upside: my father loved Olive Garden. The more over-the-top the theming of any commercial establishment (think Rainforest Cafe) the better, for him.  So, happy Father’s Day, Dad!

Staying tonight at the first of many different KOA campgrounds (excuse me, kampgrounds). This one is not quite the low-grade MAGA rally the girls were hoping for, though that certainly awaits us. We played a round of 9 holes at a decrepit mini golf facility. Left the dog alone in the trailer for 10 minutes where he ripped into and devoured an entire bag’s worth of hot dog buns. So, yeah, basically everything going as planned.

The real hack for travelers towing RV’s with electric vehicles is hooking into the electrical connections at campground sites meant to power motorhomes but using it to refill your vehicle battery. Technically this isn’t allowed (it’s in the campground fine print), but it absolutely works. Basically Level 2 charging overnight. And if you bring a splitter, as I have, you can continue to power the RV too. This is admittedly the “easy” part of the EV charging odyssey. More on this to come.

We’re winding down and prepping for our visit to the Black Hills Institute tomorrow by watching Dinosaur 13, the story of (and at least one of several contested perspectives concerning) the legal/criminal drama behind the T. Rex fossil known as Sue. 

Black Hills-bound shortly after sun-up.