In the Footsteps of Lewis and Clark

I’m parked at the Walmart in Council Bluffs, IA, which is just across the river from Omaha, NE, if you have your map out. Today’s drive was long but uneventful except for one tiny detail. When I left North Dakota, I felt seriously under dressed in relation to the weather while it is hotter than sin in Council Bluffs!

Dakota Magic Casino sits right on the North and South Dakota border. I got back on the highway and was able to take this picture before merging onto the interstate:

I pulled over shortly thereafter at the rest area in Wilmot:

It boasted a scenic overview of the Whetstone Valley, but it was really tough to get a clear shot of it:

I learned that all South Dakota rest areas have a no camping rule:

I stopped a few more times before having to make unexpected repairs at the last rest area before Iowa:

Believe it or not, all of the Eternabond tape I’d applied to the loft came loose!!! I was just driving along minding my own business and suddenly noticed flapping out of the corner of my eye. It wasn’t an emergency, so I drove almost 200KM like that before hitting the rest area. And not a moment too soon because I went to the shower to get my step-stool and, bam, the shower door toppled onto me. I don’t know who designed it, but it is not made for RV use. There is a pin that holds the door in place and when I am on a rough and bouncy road (which describes all of I29 in South Dakota) the door bounces up and down until the pin gets loose. I haven’t come up with a way to secure it and am growing increasingly annoyed with it. Once, the door even bounced right out of the frame, denting both itself and the floor!

After I rolled out of that rest … oh, wait. Eternabond! Yes, after I wrestled the shower door back in place, I applied some new Eternabond over part of the old stuff to stick it back in place. I am definitely going to be trying my hand at fiberglass this summer, so I just wanted this to hold till I get to Quebec.

By this point, the weather had gone from ‘getting warm’ to ‘infernal’, so I put on the AC and headed out of South Dakota to enter the state where two favourite fictional characters were born:

I stopped at the rest area to see if there was anything interesting there. Yup:

information about the only man who died on the Lewis and Clark expedition

The names of the men on the Lewis and Clark expedition were written around the building. Lots and lots and lots and lots of French Canadians, including:

I thought these benches were cute:

A good day of fishing on the expedition:

Driving along, I noticed smoke and, HOLY RANDOM FIRE, BATMAN:

you can't really see the flames in the pic but they were THIS BIG

And then, the Omaha skyline:

I decided to overnight in Council Bluff since there were a number of casinos, a camping world, a Bass Pro Shop, and the Walmart as options. I was hoping Walmart would work since I had some shopping to do. I phoned the manager and he didn’t seem to like the idea, but when I said that I had shopping to do he grudgingly gave his okay for one night.

I was excited to see an Applebee’s just a couple of blocks (walking distance) from the Walmart, making this the second best Walmart I’ve ever stayed at. 🙂 I had dinner then came home to find a note on the windshield from reader P.J.! I have no idea how she found me, but she’ll be over shortly and we’re going out for dessert. I don’t care where as long as it has air conditioning. 🙂

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  • Hello from the other side of the state! I know exactly where your staying as I have a good friend that lives in Omaha and we drive by there all the time. Enjoy your time in Iowa!

  • What a dumb rule! If a person gets too tired to drive any further and has a nap, what are they going to do? Wake them up and send them on down the road? Why call it a “Rest” area? Dumb.

    Most States (I thought all) have a much more reasonable 8 hour rule.

  • Liz, my time in Iowa is short, but it’s been fun so far. 🙂

    Croft, thank goodness for Walmart! 🙂

  • Why, you’re practically on my doorstep since I live in NE Nebr. 🙂 It WAS a little warm today, but the sun was shining and the wind wasn’t blowing too much so we consider it a perfect day, though probably a little too warm for boondocking in a WalMart parking lot.

  • I have never had a lot of success in rest areas. There always seems to be a truck parked beside you with his motor and reefer running. More than once I have had to get up and move. I think they are doing it on purpose. Trying to let us know they do not like to share the truck parking section.

  • Enjoy that warm/hot weather.

    We have been freezing here in Ontario since our return last Friday from Florida.

  • Croft, I wouldn’t take it personally. 😉 I just stop at the rest areas to use the facilities, stretch my legs, and check the toad. I’m never there more than a half hour.

    Norma, my mother near Montreal told me not to mention the weather in that part of North America. Bwa ha ha.

  • It’s not quite yet too warm for BDing at Walmart, but almost. 🙂

  • Sorry to hear about your Eternabond coming loose, Rae. Looking back at your page where you applied it, it sounds as if you did a pretty good job of cleaning and heating the roof, but put on the tape in five-foot lengths, because that’s what the local dealer was selling. (4″ Eternabond tape is more commonly sold in 37′ lengths.) That means, if I understand your description correctly, a whole lot of tape-on-tape lap joints. Eternabond doesn’t stick to itself very well, so that may have been part of the problem. Before you start messing with fiberglass, you might want to redo the tape job using a single length of Eternabond.

    About your shower door: not having seen photos, I may be misunderstanding how it works, but if the top pin goes into a hole in the door, couldn’t you replace the pin with a longer one? I’m thinking of something like a 2″ 1/4-20 bolt going from the frame down into that hole, penetrating far enough that there’s no way the door could come off the bolt. Just a thought.

  • Rae, if you are a fan of Lewis and Clarks you must check out the museum in st louis,
    it is a small and interesting place for $4.00 entrance fee, plenty huge parking lot and St. Charles is a quaint old town to look at shops and lots of cute restaurants and wine stores for tastings (of course). One of the dining places we ate at, used to have witches that lived upstairs.
    There is still a pentagram painted on the floor. Creepy scary stuff! LOL and no they won’t let ya see it, cause I asked. Check out the enchanted attic, cool store, mystical stuff. Harrah’s is nearby for free parking.
    Andy Baird …get to your own website and post something new!! 🙂

  • Andy, I have a roll of Eternabond and applied it in loooooong strips. I think I was too close to the minimum temperature for application the first time around. And I definitely don’t want to leave my rig with that stuff holding it together as it looks terrible!

    As for the shower, you just might be a genius! The current pin is about 6″ long. I’ll see if I can find something twice that long.

    Gina, thanks for that tip, I’ll add the museum to the list as it sounds like I am nearby. As for your comment to Andy, ROTFL and ditto!

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