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STOP #215

Today after a 200+ mile travel day we have arrived at our third and final North Dakota State Park campground. We arrived right about check-out time, which is a couple hours before check-in time, and were told our campsite wasn't ready yet. No problem, we waited in the air conditioned visitor center until it was.

The reason we were a little bit early was because we had planned a stop along the way in Jamestown, ND to pick up a package at the UPS Store. Needless to say things didn't go as planned.

Two weeks ago on June 15th I had filled out an online warranty claim form to the manufacturer of our EMS (Electical Management System). Just an hour later I recieved an email stating my claim was approved and would be sent to the shipping department in Milwaukee, WI before June 18th. I decided to pad that timing a little and scheduled delivery to a place we would be driving past today on July 1st.

We use this super fancy surge suppressor everytime we are connected to electricity in a park. Most older state parks around the country are notorious for having outdated receptacles and poor wiring in the campgrounds.

Our EMS is more than just a surge protector. It protects THE POD and all our sensitive electronics, like our laptops and cell phones while they are charging, our TVs, radio, induction cooktop, water heater, AC and power awning controls against high voltage, low voltage, open grounds and reverse polarity situations.

Because this is all so important we decided to purchase a top-of-the-line product that has a lifetime warranty. That decision has worked out well for us. After two years of nearly everyday use our first EMS began to have issues. The hinge on the weather proof cover cracked and the insulation on the 30AMP plug began to separate from housing.

I put in a warranty claim and they shipped me a brand new unit and told me to discard the old one in lieu of shipping it back. I felt the old one still had some use so I went to Home Depot and bought a new plug to repair it. We used that one for another 9 months until it began having issues I couldn't fix. It was detecting high voltage conditions wherever we plugged it in. No worries, we had a brand new one ready to go into immediate service for us.

Now just 6 months later the brand new one has the same high voltage detection issue the old one did, difference is this time I don't have a new one waiting in the wings to go into use. Hence the recent warranty claim for a replacement.

Back to my original point, since June 18th I hadn't thought to check if my item had arrived for pickup. This morning before leaving I called to find out if my package had arrived and found out it hadn't. I called and got tracking info on it and it said it would be delivered tomorrow, before 7PM, July 2nd. Not in time for me to pickup today, so I guess sometime tomorrow or the next day I'll have to drive back 65 miles to pick it up.

As seen above, just on a whim I plugged my EMS into the electrical post
and for the moment it seems to be working again?

How about renting a Covered Wagon for $85 a night?

FRIDAY - Today started off well with Tricia taking some photos on her early morning walk, but it went downhill just a few hours later.

According to the UPS Tracking on my package it was delivered at 10:17AM this morning to Clare at the front desk of the UPS Store. But there's a problem, when I called to verify it was there before making the 130 mile round trip to pick it up I was told they don't have it. Worse yet, they don't even have anyone named Clare working there?

When I asked what I should do next, they suggested I wait to see if it arrived in their store later today or tomorrow. We'll see how that works out!

Anyway here are the photos from Tricia's walk this morning.

Looking left from the back of our campsite on the Sheyenne River.

Looking right at the back of our campsite.

While in the home stretch of her walk Tricia felt like she was being watched.

She turned around and found out she was right!

SATURDAY - I called the UPS Store today and guess what? Still no package!

They are closed on Sunday and Monday for the Fourth of July holiday so I guess things will have to wait until Tuesday.

I sure hope it arrives by then because Wednesday is our last full day here and our last opportunity to pick it up.

SUNDAY - Happy Fourth of July everyone!

Here is a photo of our modest holiday campsite decorations.

It was a little bit before noon when we heard a commotion coming from the Sheyenne River.
Just behind and below our campsite was the reason, a dozen or more kayakers were out enjoying their paddle on their holiday weekend.

Someone else was also curious what all of the excitement was about?

TUESDAY - We can't wait any longer! Package or no package, today we are going to Jamestown.

We are out of clean clothes, down to next to nothing in the refrigerator, 3 of our 4 jugs of drinking water are empty and ROVER has less than 1/4 tank of gas. We leave day after tomorrow and these things can't wait any longer.

First thing we did was get gas, $89.21 for 29.8 gallons at 2.99! Next up breakfast, $26.65 at the Depot Diner, then $3.51 for 9 gallons of water at the Walmart.

We then visited the UPS Store and I got to meet John, who I've spoken to many times over the last four days. He took my cell phone number and promised to call if somehow my package miraculously shows up today or tomorrow.

Just so today is not all work and no play we visited the site of the "World's Largest Buffalo". There is also a replica wild west town called Frontier Village and a buffalo themed museum with a live herd of buffalo you can feed. We didn't have the time or interest in all that, but we did take a photo of the 62 year old, 26 foot tall, 60 ton concrete buffalo named Dakota Thunder.

Now it's time to wash and dry of our three giant loads of laundry ($21.50) and finally hit the grocery store ($207.49) before making the hour long drive back to the campground.

Today was an expensive day and we still don't have our package.

WEDNESDAY - We have spent this week at Fort Ransom State Park which is located in the small town of Fort Ransom. Fort Ransom got it's start when in 1867 the Army built a fort nearby to protect the railroad workers who were working on the Northern Pacific Railroad.

Just five years later in 1872 the fort was dismantled and rebuilt 65 miles to the west in Jamestown at the James River Crossing, to once again protect the railroad workers. By 1880 the fort was again disassembled it's materials were put up for sale to homesteaders.

The population of Fort Ransom has rarely been over 100 and the 2019 census estimate puts it at just 75. This is by far the smallest town we've visited during our travels. The town has a post office, one bar and one restaurant. Fortunately for us the Lunchbox Eatery has excellent homecooked food and was the first place we checked out upon arriving in town.

As soon as we disconnected and setup THE POD last Thursday we were eating lunch at the Lunchbox. I had a monster sized Open Face Hot Turkey Sandwich and Tricia had the Berry Brie Grilled Cheese Sandwich, both were less than $10 each. We also sampled their Beer Battered White Cheddar Cheese Curds. Tricia took home her leftovers, me, I cleared my plate.

Saturday morning you could find us once again at The Lunchbox for a breakfast of Corned Beef Hash for Tricia and I devoured an order of Biscuits n' Gravy. Tricia once again had leftovers to take home.

In order to complete the full experience we are planning a trip back to The Lunchbox for dinner tonight. We're glad our Floridian campground neighbors from Pensacola decided to join us when we extended them an invitation.

Today I called the company that sent the EMS to me and informed them it never arrived at the UPS Store. We've made arrangements to send another unit to us when we are in Minnesota next week to another UPS Store. Let's hope we have a different outcome this time!

One other thing I wanted to mention is this park is full of squirrels, not the typical brown squirrel I am familiar with from South Florida. These are called Thirteen Lined Ground Squirrels (due to the 13 lines on their back) and they look and move more like a rat. They live below ground in shallow burrows and hibernate during the winter.

Their normal heart rate is between 100-200 beats a minute, but while in hibernation they slow that down to just 1 beat every 5 minutes. Amazing!

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