Within 15 minutes of starting our trip, I started getting an idea of why my dad had reservations about us setting out on the trip -- my knuckles were white from firmly holding the steering wheel after numerous gusts of wind seemed to be trying to push the R.V. into the ditch or, worse yet, oncoming traffic. By the time we reached our first night's stop in Sioux Falls, S.D., I was glad to be in camp. We were camping where I could get wi-fi and I had brought my laptop. I logged on to see what the weather had in store -- and it was clear that the winds that we had fought coming this way were just the beginning of a huge storm that was just West of Sioux Falls -- this is the one with all the tornadoes, lightning, etc. I remember thinking at that moment that perhaps I was a bit careless as a parent -- why would I have placed my family inside a tin-can when a huge storm was heading our way. I scoped out the nearest storm shelter and made a plan. As it turns out, the storm moved to our South and we only got rain.
The rest of that South Dakota trip was pretty much uneventful, but I found that campground selection plays a huge part of how satisfying the trip will be. We stayed in five different campgrounds during this trip -- and several were clearly wonderful -- Badlands K.OA., Deadwood K.O.A. and others, not so much. One of the campgrounds near Mount Rushmore (sounds like MOA) was clearly cattle-car material. The place was so huge that we felt forgotten. Our camper neighbors around us seemed self-absorbed and not friendly at all. I began to look forward to coming back home -- which is never what you want to do on a vacation. I decided that perhaps RVing was just not for me.
So I somewhat reticently agreed to look at the 1966 Shasta Compact that my wife had found on Craigslist on that fateful Sunday morning. I later found out that we were extremely lucky to have been the first call that they guy selling it received and he agreed to hold it for us -- we bought it sight-unseen. We later found out that he had dozens of calls -- one guy tried to buy it out from under us... but the seller was true to his word -- he kept it for us. $650 later and it was ours!
I have to say that this was a bit like buying a mystery prize -- we did not know what we were buying and we certainly did not know that we were now in the vintage travel trailer club. It has been fun seeing how others have refurbed their Shastas. I will say that it is a bit of a fever.
That was mid-April. A lot has happened since that day and I hope to catch you up to date in the coming days, weeks, months...
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