Freshly laundered wraps all ready to go
The requirement for certified weed free feed in the Midwest was one of the added responsibilities for this trip. Marg did lots of telephoning and found sources along our route. Hay was scarce in South Dakota as they have had several years of drought. We were a little bit concerned but as it turned out most of the campsites had a stock of hay for their guests although they had not advertised hay for sale. Prices for certified hay ran from $3.00 to $6.00 per bale.
Marg made several phone calls before we left home to arrange to comply with the requirement to have a brand inspection before horses are hauled eastward across the Missouri River. She had success in getting names of brand inspectors in the Black Hills area but, when we were getting ready to head homeward, frustration set in. The last straw was a half hour call from Elk Haven to an inspector in Rapid City who really didn't want to be bothered with these horses from Ontario so we took the hint and didn't bother with that bit of red tape.
Since we were crossing the international border the horses had to have current health papers. A knowledgeable U.S. customs agent in International Falls explained that the papers were valid for only 30 days; we thought they were good for twice that long. We shortened our trip by four days to stay within that requirement. Upon our return through U.S. Customs at Pigeon River the young men on duty didn't seem to have much idea of the rules about horses so maybe we could have stretched the limit by a couple of days!
This trip had a few extras in addition to the usual load of feed, tack, and clothes for all kinds of weather.
This was our first trip with a generator on board and it was very handy. The weather on several occasions was cold and wet; it was important to keep the furnace going. In our experience the camper batteries last a maximum of four nights in chilly weather. Having the generator gave us more flexibility in choosing campsites; getting one with electricity wasn't essential. I am still learning how the generator should be used. I made the mistake of letting the batteries run down before I used the generator and it took a long time to bring them up. It seems better to use the generator regularly and sooner rather than later.
Horse accommodations on this Dakota trip varied from overhead picket lines to covered stalls. The only night I was concerned was in Badlands Park south of Wall, S.D. when the boys were tied all night to hitching rails; all was well in the morning. If we are really in a bind some night, we can always leave the horses on the trailer.
Oh yes, there was a "twist" we created. When we crossed into the U.S. at Fort France, we didn't stop at Canadian Customs. When we came home and stopped at the Canadian side, we discovered that we should have stopped in Ft. Frances! Fortunately, we had a forgiving agent who sent us home after a short scolding!
Casey checking out his quarters at Elk Haven. The ridge in the background is in Custer State Park.
On Sunday, Oct.1st, we lunched at the Anchor Grille in Chamberlain on the east side of the Missouri River; Marg wouldn't let me stop on the west side of the river. As we approached the Missouri that day, Marg figured it would be prudent to get across the river without delay!
A bale with that all important tag
For many years we packed portable panels. The Tennessee trip in 2000 was the last time we took them with us; they were not unloaded at any time during that trip. We have decided to do without them.