The Ice Cream Capital of the World!
Aug 1, 2007
|(Ron writing) Wow it's August, which means we've been living in Da Honu for two months already! We're still enjoying this adventure and each other's company.
I was up late last night doing work on the computer so we slept late this morning. Then I had to do some more work while Elena fixed breakfast. She made some delicious omelets this morning with lots of spinach and veggies.
After breakfast we packed up to leave Vermillion. As we left the campground we made a stop at the "dump station" to let Da Honu go to the bathroom. Many of our blog readers are experienced RVers and know what I'm talking about but I know some of you have absolutely no idea how this aspect of RVing is handled. So we'll have a little lesson. The experienced folks can skip this section.
RV-101 Lesson #1:
All RVs that are bigger than a tent trailer are generally what is called "self-contained". This means that they have their own fresh water system and their own sewer system. Da Honu has a fresh water tank that holds 50 gallons, and two wastewater tanks that each hold 45 gallons. The shower, bathroom sink, and two kitchen sinks all drain into the wastewater tank called the "grey water tank". The toilet drains into the wastewater tank called the black-water tank. Some campsites have what is called "full hook-ups". In these campsites we connect to city water and don't use the fresh water tank. We also connect to the sewer system and leave the grey-water tank drain continuously. We monitor the black water tank and when it starts to get full we drain it into the sewer.
We often camp in places that have either no hook-ups or perhaps just electric hookups. In those cases we depend on using our on-board fresh water and grey water tanks. This was the case in Vermillion where we only had electric hook-up. We can camp for at least 4 or 5 days without having to refill our fresh water tank or dump our holding tanks.
Elena wants nothing to do with this holding-tank-dump chore! She says that's a man's job! It's really quite easy but one has to be very careful and methodical or you can have a really nasty mess. I've seen three instances over the past several years where guys made some mistake and ended up with sewage all over themselves and the surrounding area. It's not a pretty sight and it is very embarrassing. In the photo today you can see I've donned my disposable rubber gloves to perform this task. Here's what I did next. I removed the 3" flexible sewer hose from its storage place inside the rear bumper, made sure both wastewater holding tank valves were fully closed, removed the cap from the trailer's pipe that drains both of the holding tanks, attached the flex hose to the drain pipe on the trailer, placed the other end of the hose into the dump station hole, double checked that everything was in-place and attached properly, opened the valve to drain the black-water tank, wait until it's completely drained, close the valve for the black-water tank, opened the valve for the gray-water tank, let it all drain, close the gray-water tank valve, remove the flex hose from the trailer, rinse the flex hose out with the water hose at the dump station, hold the flex-hose up to fully drain it for awhile, then finally I carefully remove the flex hose from the dump station and put it back into the rear bumper storage area and put the cap back on the trailer's drain pipe. One crucial thing I didn't mention is that I always place my foot on the hose to make double sure it won't come flying out of the dump station hole when the water comes whooshing out of the holding tanks. I saw this happen to a guy and I know he will never let it happen again!
End of lesson, any questions? Class dismissed.
Back to more pleasant topics!
We finally got on the road at about noon today after one last stop at the Super Wal*Mart in Vermillion for a few food items. We were surprised that this town of only about 10,000 people had this huge store. We were in it a couple times and it seemed there were always about as many workers as there were customers.
We traveled east on HW-50 to I-29. Then took I-29 a short ways north to HW-48 and traveled east into Iowa when we crossed the Big Sioux River at the town of Akron, IA. The drive this morning was through some very hilly country that had beautiful fields of corn, soybeans, alfalfa, and pastures. The land here is almost too steep to farm and in some areas it was terraced to control run-off and allow farm machinery to operate. The soil in this area is primarily Loess, which is wind deposited silt. You can get a more complete definition here.
HW-48 changes to HW-3 in Iowa and we continued on it to the town of Le Mars. Here we spent a couple hours at The Ice Cream Capital of the World. That's quite a claim for Wells' Dairy, Inc. based in this little town to make. They are the makers of Wells' Blue Bunny Ice Cream, which they ship to all 50 states and several foreign countries. They make more ice cream in one location than any other company. You can learn more about the Wells' company and Blue Bunny Ice Cream here.
We sampled some ice cream which Elena, the connoisseur of ice cream, declared to be one of the best she's had. We shared a double dip dish of "Bunny Tracks" and "Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup" The last one had huge chunks of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups in it. We also took a tour of the little visitor center that presented a history of the company and some films about how ice cream is made. They, of course, had a gift shop also and Elena found a new t-shirt.
When we paid for our tickets at the Blue Bunny Museum, they gave us discount coupons for ice cream. Although we had already had our "fix", Elena couldn't pass up the opportunity to use at least one coupon. So, we went back to the ice cream parlor for a "Peanut Butter Panic". I think we've had our fill of ice cream for several weeks but Elena would have to speak for herself.
From there we drove HW-75 north to Sioux Center and then 3 miles east on B-40 to Sandy Hollow. Here there is a nice campground with electric hook-ups, a golf course, and a pond to swim in, ponds to fish in, and all sorts of other amenities. All this in a beautiful rural area for just $11 per night! When we got here the campground was almost full but we got a nice shady spot. It rained for about 30 minutes when we first arrived. This is the first real rain we've had in our first month on the road. I'm sure the farmers were hoping for more. It's been a very dry summer here and if they don't get more rain soon many farmers will lose their corn crop.
We're now in Sioux County Iowa right in the area where I spent the first 18 years of my life in the small town of Boyden just a few miles from here.