A South Dakota bugout

 A South Dakota bugout

Last night in Iowa, I was complaining abut the gnats.

sky bugoutTonight in South Dakota, it's the Frankenbugs.

The bugs have only gotten bigger as we've moved west

Honestly, I dont know what they are. Way bigger than a gnat. Some are beetles, or what we used to call June bugs. But there are so many and they are so big that as we drove down I-90 in South Dakota, they hit the windshield with an intensity that sometimes sounded  like hail.

Jennifer said it was a bugout.

You can see from this photo and the video below what it was like.

Today was one of those awesome driving days. We took our  time, stopping in Des Moines to workout at a health club and then heading on through Iowa, Nebraska and into South Dakota. We dodged storms in the morning but otherwise had near perfect weather, bright blue skies with puffy cotton candy clouds and lush green prairieland.

prairieAt sunset, we were treated to a jaw dropping South Dakota sunset of fiery oranges and reds and pink pastels.

Then it got dark. And the attack of the Frankenbugs began.

We pulled off at Mitchell a little before 11 PM and washed off the windshield.

There were several truckers and a guy in a fifth wheel doing the same thing.S

“Something hatched,” said the trucker next to me. “Ive never see them so intense.”

Inside the station, the clerk was chuckling “Worse than a snowstorm,” he allowed.

Exactly. A bugout.

We're spending the night in a packed Cabela's parking lt. There are 14 other RVs here, Class As and Cs and a couple of fifth wheels.

Inside my eTrek, I'm running the air and we're snug as…. dare I say?… a bug.



Mike Wendland

Mike Wendland is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, travels North America in a small motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and adventure of RV life on the road at RVLifestyle.com. He and Jennifer also host the weekly RV Podcast and do twice-weekly videos on the YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel. They have written 10 books on RV travel.


  • Yuck!

  • Oh my… What lies in store for today?

  • Hahaha – snug as a bug – good one, Mike! All those bugs – sounds like summer; gotta love it! :).

  • Well I am glad it’s not just Iowa that’s buggy! Happy Fathers Day and enjoy SD. And the rest of your trip.

  • Today, maybe you’ll be storm chasing so you can get those things washed off.

  • We have encountered this type of thing north of Yellowstone and in Florida on I-10 — different bugs(?) same result — ugh. Get to a self car wash with a high pressure hose and clean them off your radiator!

  • D Smyth I just did just that… took two high pressure washes but got em off and out…

    • Are you headed to Oregon/Washington? I can recommend a few really beautiful State Parks. One in the Willamette Valley near Portland, one on the Central Coast, and one among the giant Redwoods in California.

  • We had the same experience going across IL, IA, NE, and WY and ended up with an entomogy experiment that would have made any second grade boy proud! I found Rain-X window washer spray from Walmart worked really well. The bugs didn’t stick quite so badly and I was able to get them off pretty easily with applications of the Rain-X and a microfiber towel. McGuire’s detailer’s spray worked well for the rest of the front of our 4Runner.

    The trick is to have a good clean application of both in the garage before leaving home. I’ll be researching another coating used for airplane wings and post the results here.

    Happy travels,


  • You’ve got to hear them when they get zapped by a bug zapper. It’s not zap but zaaaaaaaaaaap.

  • in 2010 we spent a few days in our RT190P in Silver City, NM. On the return trip we went south toward Demming. We found that the Cicadas we had been listening to in Silver City were migrating or something from west to east as we were going north to south. This was not so much a windshield issue as it was actually, in three to four places, a traction issue. In those places the road was covered so thickly with Cicada carcasses that it was like driving on snow/ice; I could feel the RV loose traction and start to slide.

    As for the Rain-x idea, I have heard that before. One of my truck driver friends tried that but found it to be a bit expensive. He found and reported to me that cooking spray actually works extremely well.

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