We spent a full day driving north to Columbus, Ohio. Our trailer needed some repairs, and we couldn’t get an appointment at the dealership before going to North Carolina. A few small things needed fixed (deadbolt adjustment, loose letters on the front of the Airstream, and a few missing rivets), but the main repair was for our furnace. It just hadn’t been lighting. We haven’t needed to run the heat recently, but wanted to have it fixed before heading into mountains.
Monday morning we dropped the trailer off at the dealership, and spent the day running errands and doing laundry. We were hoping it would be finished that day, but it wasn’t, so we had to sleep in a hotel. We don’t have luggage, and checking into a hotel carrying our stuff in reusable grocery bags made us feel pretty homeless! The furnace was fixed the next morning (a switch was stuck and needed to be replaced), so we checked out and went to pick up the trailer.
On the way back to the dealership, a yellow wrench indicator started flashing on the truck’s dashboard, and it wouldn’t accelerate. Brian coasted onto the shoulder, turned the truck off and on again, and it ran fine. Apparently an issue occurred that caused the truck to go into “limp mode”. We picked up the trailer and towed it to a campground just outside Columbus, crossing our fingers the whole time. We took the truck to a Ford dealership and begged them to look at it that day, and they agreed, diagnosed the issue as a faulty throttle body, and 3 hours and several hundred dollars later we were on our way again.
Once repairs are done, it doesn’t seem so bad, but while things are broken it is stressful to not know what is wrong or how long and expensive it will be to fix. The Ford dealership’s service manager told us that the throttle body is a “known concern” on our model. We have had every “known concern” become an issue for us! Timing chain, turbochargers (needing three separate repairs to fix), and now throttle body. Plus, we think the new engine and starter issues were caused by other repairs that were made. All in 10 months! We have an ongoing debate on whether to buy a bigger truck, or try to make this one last another year or so of high-mileage towing. It feels like we may be pushing our luck, but trucks are so expensive.
After all the repair excitement, we left Columbus heading to western South Dakota, which is about 1,200 miles. We didn’t have a great plan on what to do along the way, but we found a few fun things to break up 2.5 days of driving.
We drove all day until we made it to Iowa, and then stopped at the Iowa 80 World’s Largest Truck Stop. It is three floors, with a food court, a diner, a large store, and trucker services (showers, laundry, dentist, library, and more). We ate at the diner, and then really enjoyed looking at all the trucker accessories for sale. There were all types of LED lights, shifter and steering wheel knobs, lug nut covers, “mobile urinals”, and truck nuts.
We slept in a Walmart parking lot, and the next day visited Maytag Dairy Farm in Newton, Iowa. Maytag was the first producer of blue cheese in America, in 1941. We visited the small store at their office and watched a video on the cheese making process and sampled the available cheeses. We learned that there was a recall of Maytag Blue last year, and it still isn’t available. Over 900 pounds of cheese were recalled over listeria concerns, and the process was changed to use pasteurized milk rather than raw milk. Since the blue cheese ages in caves for 6 months, there isn’t any that is ready for sale yet. We did enjoy and buy the Summer Bloom soft Brie-like cheese, and the La Petite Blue cheese, which is a creamy cheese with some blue mold that was made in collaboration with another dairy farm. Even though we couldn’t try the blue cheese or see the packing and wrapping rooms in action, we enjoyed this mini-tour.
Shortly after crossing into South Dakota we stopped at Falls Park in Sioux Falls. We walked around the waterfalls and stretched our legs. It was really cool to see the falls and the nice park right in the middle of the city, but we were surprised that it smelled like manure.
A few hours later, while driving through Mitchell, South Dakota, we decided to stop at the Corn Palace. The World’s Only Corn Palace!
We thought it would be a goofy roadside tourist trap, but it’s a serious place! The original version was built in 1892 to encourage people to move to the area. It was rebuilt in 1905 and again in 1921. The most interesting part is the the inside and outside are decorated with murals made of corn. Every year the murals are redesigned and replaced with a new theme each year. It’s almost time for the redecoration to start!
The drive from Ohio to South Dakota ended up being pretty fun!
Day 302 | Mile 31,587