Day 10, Thursday, was off to a pretty good start. Penny and I woke up fairly early and started making use of the Amazon packages from the day before. While I was productive, Penny took her time slowly waking up and enjoying the cool morning air. I put the magnetic CB radio antenna on top of my car, routed the wire to the front, got the power lines routed better, and put up the window screens to make the sun less obnoxious while driving. I flipped the radio on, but this time the lights of the screen didn’t pop on. I checked all the connections, made sure the car was supply power, but still no luck. I hadn’t even used it yet. A quick check of the fuse showed it had blown and some investigation showed that while Amazon showed “people often buy these together” the plug I got was not well suited for the CB radio I bought. I’d need a higher amp fuse.
At the suggestion of my friend, Adrian, I decided to make a stop in Ames before I continue on to Souix Falls for the night. He recommended I stop at Thai Kitchen for some lunch. On the way into town, I stopped at an electronics wholesale shop that claimed to be able to serve all my electrical needs.
Fortunately, the guy was able to get me exactly the fuse I needed and I was able to get the CB radio working. A quick test was answered by a trucker from who knows where and I was in business. I rolled into Ames right around lunch time, but I realized my stomach had been bothering me that morning. Despite my hunger for some delicious Thai food, I reluctantly settled for some Jimmy John’s, something I knew wouldn’t bother my stomach.
While I ate, I looked for a place to stay near Sioux Falls for the night. Options seemed to be pretty limited unless I wanted to sleep in a Walmart parking lot, which wasn’t exactly ideal. Eventually I found a listing for Heib Memorial Park, a small town park in Marion, SD that not only allowed camping, but had power hookups for 8 RVs and potable water spigots throughout the park. I was a bit apprehensive because it seemed too good to be true, but thought I’d at least check it out.
As I got close to the campground I realized I had just put in the name of the town I was going to, not the specific address. I flipped over to the freecampsites.net listing and tapped get directions. I was 20 minutes away from the campground, and was ready to be done driving. When I pulled up to the park I found a bunch of families picnicking, but didn’t see any other campers. I slowly pulled by the park twice, looking for the electric hookups and spigots I had read about, but wasn’t seeing any. In fact, the park had medal posts with chains between them lining the perimeter that were somewhat cosmetic, but primarily functional. It was clear vehicles were not to be in the park. I popped open the website again and realized I had accidentally gone to another location nearby, one I had settled against because it didn’t seem above board to be sleeping there over night. The campsite had been right next to where I was when I got more specific directions, 20 minutes back.
When we pulled into the parking lot I was worried we wouldn’t be able to find a spot to set up because the parking lot was full with cars there for the 2 little league games going on. This was essentially your local park, but with RV hookups. I noticed a few other campers, but there were no open spots near them. Back by the entrance to the park I noticed a few more hookups, and to my luck, an open spot directly in front of it. I actually preferred this since it meant Penny and I would have some separation from other campers once all the Little League attendees left.
Once we set up camp, Penny and I took a stroll to check out the rest of the park. The sun was setting over the pond and it was gorgeous. Once again, the ground was soggy from all the recent rain, but there were plenty of high parts for us to walk across. When we got to the water front, there was a suspended wood bridge that was dipping into the water due to the influx of water. We started walking towards it and all the sudden Penny was on high alert. I looked towards the water and I noticed little animals popping their heads up from the water. I finally got a few good looks and realized they were beavers or otters. I’m not certain which one, and some quick googling suggests both could be present in the area.
Penny and I enjoyed the rest of the sunset strolling around the park and slowly the little league families emptied out. She was a little on edge after I made her sit on the wood bridge for a quick photo shoot, so she wasn’t super on board with the kid that came running over full speed to pet her. Penny and I made some quick dinner and it was time for bed. It was nice to see that just before I was ready to head to bed, a sheriff drove through.