On this trip, Summer of 2017, We are heading west. To Teddy Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, across Montana, around and into Yellowstone from the west and then down to the Grand Tetons and then to the Oregon coast.
We just about got to the end of the driveway and most of that was out the window. Best laid plans sort-of-thing.
On our way back from the SW in April we were getting an intermittent slide-out room pin lock error. There is a sensor that tells the controller that one or more of the pins that lock the slide in position for travel was not locked. We could look at the display and see which pin it thought was not engaged and visually confirm that it was OK. Having a pin lock error means the transmission gets locked out and the coach goes nowhere. Fortunately there is an over-ride switch which we engaged and got home fine.
I checked with HWH (the slide mechanism and controller folks) and they suggested it was probably a bad sensor, told me what parts I needed and how to fix it. When we tried to put the slide out at home we got the same error. I was busy on other projects so I called and made an appointment at HWH in Iowa for a couple of days before our original departure date hoping it would not be too hard to fix.
A Stop at HWH
We drove south on Sunday to Moscow Iowa, about 40 miles west of Moline, IL on US 80. It takes about 4-1/2 hours to get there. Our appointment was for 7:00 AM Monday morning. We were up at the crack of dawn with the Iowa farmers and factory workers and there a few minutes early.
I was anticipating a day or two, worst case, something difficult to fix. The most experienced guy was there right away with a fairly new guy. He led the new guy through the diagnostic process one step at a time and figured out which sensor was bad. They pulled out the hydraulic powered pin lock, took out the sensor and replaced it with a new one, put it all back together and cycled the slide in and out a half dozen times. All good. One hour of labor, $90 and a sensor for $75. I got a second sensor for my spare parts bin. We had the Jeep (Cherokee) hooked up and were ready to go by 9:00 AM. No time for lunch at the Tipton Family Diner.
The Amazing Cat Band's and Cat Circus's coach was at HWH for some work too.
Time to rethink the itinerary.
West to Sioux Falls then north to Fargo then west to Teddy Roosevelt NP as planned? Or west through Nebraska then north west into Wyoming and west towards The Grand Tetons?
Hitchcock Nature Center
Nebraska won out over North Dakota. It was blazing hot either way. We drove all the way across Iowa and just got into Nebraska. We always look for city or county parks and found one just north of Council Bluffs. Hitchcock Nature Center. It wasn't far out of the way. 50 amp hookups for $15/night. We got there and signed up for two nights. We just needed a day off.
It was a very interesting place. The original Lincoln Highway went right next to the campground cutting through a ridge in the hills of very soft fine soil along the east side of the Missouri River Valley. The Loess Hills (luss) as they are called were formed after the last ice age when fine sediments were washed down in to the wide prehistoric river valley and winds from the north west blew the powdery sediment into dirt dunes more than 40 miles long. This formation is said to be globally significant in that there are only two others like it world wide.
It was a nice campground, quiet. Hot.
The Loess Hills big hills.
The nature center is quite large. The campground on one corner. Lots of hiking trails, an old ski area and a Visitor's Center right in the middle of the Nature Center on a ridge. It was at one time a YMCA camp. The entire building was rebuilt as the Visitor's center. It was very hot but out on the wide covered veranda and up on the ridge the breeze made it comfortable. There was an observation tower that I climbed. Sort of like a fire tower made out of very large timbers. It was a great view from up there.
The Visitor's Center focuses on all of the different migratory birds that pass this way spring and fall. There were lots of aids to help you learn the sounds and shapes of the different birds. There were also displays to show how the Loess Hills were formed.
The Lincoln Highway still exists although much of its route has changed and sections of the original highway are rare. It was one of the earliest automobile highways heading west.
Roger and Susan