From Monroe we spent a few days in Minneapolis. There, we visited family, and helped Mom with some stuff. Helping Mom involved mostly moving furniture and re-jiggering her tech. She moved to a senior community which was EXACTLY across the parking lot from a major Computer and electronics retailer.
Microcenter’s manager gave us permission to park in his lot for a couple of nights while we were working at Mom’s. In exchange (though he asked for no compensation…he was just being soooper helpful and understanding), and in addition to our full and complete gratitude, we bought a TV and various and assorted cables and doodads. I suspect we can park there again, if we need a spot and want to visit mom. With or without a purchase
And, we BROKE THE BUS. Well, not broke as in “No-go” or “uh-oh…” or “drain the bank accounts.” In the cosmic scheme of “broke,” this was a good one. Though all things broke on the bus seem to come close to or exceed 4-digits.
This time, one of the hydraulic leveling jacks broke. FORTUNATELY, the manufacturer (whom we have visited before for jack-work) is in Moscow, IA. Sort of on the way as we head south to I80 and then west, and they were able to squeeze us into their schedule. We had a 7:00 AM appointment, and they have RV parking with hookups for customers. So we arrived the night before and enjoyed the wonder that is Moscow.
While there, we insisted they also replace the other rear jack, which was going down a little cock-eyed. I was worried that, although it was currently functioning and could do for ten more years (they thought so), it was more likely to fail 3 days later when Moscow Iowa would NOT be on the way!!! Anyway, both jacks replaced with remanufactured units for about half the cost I expected.
We also developed a BAD shake on the Clown Car, which Firestone diagnosed to be a bent rim. Not surprised considering some of the potholes we have been unable to avoid on our travels. Anyway, the Firestone guys balanced it as much as they could but said we needed a new wheel. They determined this could ONLY be obtained at a Smart Car dealer. And, there isn’t one in Minneapolis!
I Looked on the map. The ONLY Smart Dealer between Iowa and Oregon was in Des Moines. I guess in the Dakotas, Wyoming, Idaho and most of Oregon, Washington and Montana, Smart Cars are not? So we arranged with the Des Moines dealer to order us one and then we swung by to pick it up. The plan was to have it installed at a garage somewhere along the way.
Instead, the Smart Car Dealer (also a Mercedes dealer…so perhaps oriented towards excellent service,..) said: “We’ll squeeze you in first thing tomorrow and get it done for you.” AWESOME. Now no need to haul around a replacement wheel (which, since the Smart car does not have a back seat, much less a trunk, means the hauling would be in the passenger seat) and no need to worry if it was the exact right part.
So, Walmart nearby for overnight. And not only did they replace the wheel, they washed the car (inside and out). And put the hood back on correctly so it no longer needs duct tape to keep if from departing the vehicle. All for the princely sum of $36. Things are looking up!! (Though I kinda liked the tape…)
After Des Moines, we pointed ourselves towards Ogallala, Nebraska. There we will gaze at the wonder of the Second Largest Earth Dam in the world on the North Platte River, which just happened to be constructed by my Grandfather. My father tells stories of attending a one-room school there for a couple of years in the 30’s. So this visit is sort of a “roots” thing. My guess is that the school is no longer there, having been thoroughly spent in an effort to edumacate my dad.