This week we talk about the RV industry’s efforts to do something about its biggest scandal… the unacceptable 21-day delay average to get an RV repaired at an RV dealership or service center. There is and has been a desperate need for trained RV technicians. But with the opening of a special training facility last week in Elkhart Indiana, we finally have some good news to talk about that will mean that you as an RV owner will soon be able to get your RV serviced in an acceptable amount of time.

Plus, RV News of the Week, your RV Lifestyle questions, Tips and a great off the beaten path report.

Show Notes for Episode #262 Oct. 2, 2019 of The RV Podcast;

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK

MIKE

We’re just back from a very busy week at the annual RV Dealers Open House week in Elkhart, IN. We have a full and complete video of the show waiting for you on our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel

JENNIFER

This week finds us headed to the California RV Show. This is an awesome show, the biggest on the west coast and one of the biggest in the nation. It will be held at the Auto Club Speedway, in Fontana, CA. 
MIKE
This is a new and larger facility for this amazing show and it offers free parking now, instead of the $15 parking fee there used to be at its previous location in Pomona. Jennifer and I will be there that this weekend and we’ll be doing meetups Friday and Saturday, Oct. 4 and 5. You can get tickets and learn more at https://www.californiarvshow.org/ 

JENNIFER

Friday and Saturday afternoon, from 1:30-4PM, we’ll be hanging out at the Leisure Travel Vans Display. From 11am-1PM Saturday, we’ll also be at the Camp California/Campground Views display area. The rest of the time, we’ll be wandering about shooting videos. We look forward to meeting you!

MIKE

We realize that everyone can’t attend the California show. But we are in the heart of the RV show season this fall and there ar a whole bunch. At then end of this podcast we will have the RV calendar of events that lists what’s coming this weekend across the country…and of course we have links to them all on the shownotes at rvlifestyle.com/261. But RV shows are the best way to find the perfect RV or get ideas on how you and equip and accessorize yours. Plus they are just a lot of fun.

JENNIFER

Can you believe it is October already? It’s my favorite month. I love the bright colors of the trees, especially in Northern Michigan where we’ll be heading right after we return from California. In the upper Midwest, we can have either beautiful Indian summer or freezing rain and snow flurries. So we’re hoping for Indian summer.

MIKE

Did you notice that last weekend in Montana, our favorite part of Glacier National park near the Many Glaciers are received four feet of snow? That is early. And on our early morning walks with Bo, we’re seeing lots of wooly bear caterpillars, which have the reputation of being able to forecast the coming winter weather. Whether this is fact or folklore, we don’t know, but supposedly the wider the rusty brown sections there are, the milder the coming winter will be. The more black there is, the more severe the winter. The ones I’ve seen have way, way more black.

JENNIFER

I suppose this is a good time to remind everyone of our upcoming annual winter campout at Tahquamenon Falls State Park in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The dates are January 9-12, 2020 and already, we have 40 brave souls signed up to come and play in the snow with us.

MIKE

This will be the sixth year we have gathered up there in the beautiful UP. This is an informal gathering, which means you have to make your own reservations with the Michigan DNR. Go to their website at https://midnrreservations.com/. Book the dates you want (some of us are coming Thursday, some are even staying over to Monday). After you make your reservation, be sure to join our special winter campout Facebook Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1697339513886451/and introduce yourself and tell us what site you booked. All communication, announcements, etc as we get close to the date will be done through that group. You have to ask to join it but we’ll approve you right away.

JENNIFER

They better hurry though because at the rate people are signing up so early, it looks like this one may fill up fast. By the way, we don’t charge or make a cent from this. It’s just for fun… and that we certainly do with snow shoeing, hiking, exploring and hanging around roaring campfires. It’s one of my very favorite things we do each year.

This part of the podcast is brought to you by Dish Outdoors, which lets RVers pay as they go and watch HD satellite television from wherever they are camped with easy to set up gear made with the RVer in mind. Just go to https://rvlifestyle.com/dish for details on the service and special deal just for listeners of this podcast.

RV LIFESTYLE NEWS OF THE WEEK

JENNIFER
Bull elk charges woman, knocking her down, at Rocky Mountain National Park
News out of Rocky Mountain National Park this week is a good reminder for all of us to stay away from elk during mating season – which is happening now. The other day a woman in the Colorado park was charged by a bull elk who knocked her down and repeatedly charged her with his antlers. A worker drove a pick-up truck on to the sidewalk to get between her and the elk, and then the animal charged the truck. Bull elk can be extremely territorial during mating season so remember- keep your distance.
MIKE
New policy permits off-road vehicles to drive roads in Utah’s national parks, causing conservationists to predict policing nightmare
Off-road vehicles like ATVs and UTVs will be allowed in Utah National Parks beginning Nov. 1 under a policy change that was apparently made without public input, and has made plenty of people mad. The new policy requires Utah’s national park superintendents to have their laws agree with Utah state laws which permit off road vehicles on main access and back access roads as long as the off-road vehicles are equipped with standard safety features, registered and insured. A national parks spokeswoman was quoted in the Salt Lake Tribune saying this does not mean people can take their off-road vehicles off the roads. But conservation groups say this is creating an enforcement nightmare because these vehicles are designed to go off-road, and it is impossible to ensure everyone follows the law. Conservationists and critics say the ATVs are loud, and if people do go off road, they will cause unnecessary damage to land considered a national treasure.

JENNIFER
Michigan family budgets $2,500 for camping fees during trip out west, spends just $33 thanks to boondocking
A Michigan paper ran a feature story on a family who budgeted $2,500 in campground charges for a trip west but spent just $33. Why the big savings? Boondocking. The family researched how boondocking works, and details in the article how they saved money by camping on public land, Boondockers Welcome sites, Walmart or Cabela parking lots, and more. The article was a fun read, and really shows how much can be saved by using for free or low cost camping options. If you are interested in learning more, we wrote a full guide on boondocking that could be checked out here.
MIKE
Canada’s Liberal Party promising free camping for all qualifying low income kids and their families if reelected
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made news last week when pledging, if his federal Liberal Party is reelected, to expand a “Learn to Camp” program. The expansion would provide funding so up to 75,000 low income kids could go on an all expense paid camping trip with their families for up to four days in one of the country’s national or provincial parks each year. They would also teach kids camping skills by eight grade in the program.
JENNIFER
Buffalo Roundup at South Dakota’s Custer State Park attracts 25,000 visitors

Last weekend’s buffalo roundup at Custer State Park attracted 25,000 spectators to the annual event that counted 1,460 buffalo. The South Dakota State Park brings in riders on horseback to corral the animals where they are given a health check, counted, and separated. This year 470 will be sent to auction in November. The park sets a goal of 1,000 wild buffalo in the 71,000 acre state park to maintain the ecological balance. Custer State Park consistently ranks as one of the best state parks in the country. Here is a story we posted from a visit many years ago.

 EDI EDIT EDIT

 This part of the podcast is brought to you by RadPower Bikes,an electric bike manufacturer offering direct to consumer pricing on powerful premium electric bikes. Now with free shipping  

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

QUESTION: Hi, Mike and Jennifer, it’s Chris calling from Pennsylvania. My wife and I just upgraded from a pop up to a beautiful new travel trailer and I had some questions actually just one major question regarding insurance. I was wondering if you can help me understand a little bit about how Insurance works on an RV. I know that when you have insurance on a vehicle it may cover the trailer or not. I’m not exactly certain and also what I’m hoping to find is a policy that in the case of an accident or destruction of the RV and some sort of tragic event. It would replace or cover the replacement cost. Not just the value. Say the Blue Book value like on a used car. So I was wondering if you had some maybe some suggestions about insurance, and that’s how best to ensure your RV to make sure that it’s covered. Thanks. Mike and Jennifer. I love the podcast. I can’t wait to hear your answer.

ANSWER: Our Best advice is to all the experts at lecreation Insurance Specialists – http://rvlifestyle.com/insurance  They have access to comprehensive RV insurance options with specialized coverages like Total Loss Replacement, Agreed Value, Scheduled Personal Property and Secured Storage. They can provide specialized coverage for harder to place insurance such as full-timers, or medium duty tow vehicle and 5th wheel combinations. When you go to that special link, Select the Get A Quote button to proceed with your no obligation quote.

QUESTION: Hi, Mike, and Jennifer love the show. My name is Jim here in Norwich New York and a tip for the paper towels or toilet paper roll. Unroll simple just squeeze the role so that the inside tube collapses a little bit that way it’s not round any more. It won’t spend any more money. No need for anything else no pins. No, nothing just crushed the role a little bit. It’s all it takes.

ANSWER: We thank the tipster and direct him to our RV Lifestyle YouTube RV Quick Tips playlist.

QUESTION: We live a short distance from New Orleans and really struggling with finding a dependable Class B, that we hope fits our lifestyle. Coachman Galleria has our attention, but there seems to be numerous issues presently with getting the new 2019 chassis in and ordered. Last I heard, there is not even any of these chassis at their coachmen plant no less started to fill the numerous orders we are told are pending. Our local dealership could not even get us an approximate date or price, so ordering seems to not be an option, I guess. We do have a Mid West dealer ship and an American Coach dealer ship 40 miles or so away which maybe an options for ordering. For some reason, they seem to have to availability of the new chassis, but also seems to have a much higher price tag. We would have to order this route as well.That is were we are presently in our search, and would love any feedback you two could give us.
>Lithium or non Lithium? (no we do not plan to boondock all the time, maybe 50%)
>try to find a 2019/2018 chassis Galleria and move on?
>Wait a year till things settle down and order our Galleria as we want?
>Look into other brands, like Midwest, American Coach, etc., or any others?
We are ready to move on one tomorrow or could wait, thanks for any input words of wisdom you can supply. -Deb and Glen

ANSWER We share our opinions…

Do you have a question you’d like us to answer, or a comment on the things we’re discussing. If so, we invite you to leave us that question or comment on the special voicemail number we have for the podcast – it’s 586-372-6990.  If you are driving and can’t write it down right now, just go to the RV Lifestyle travel blog at rvlifestyle.com and scroll down the page. You’ll see that number prominently posted on the blog.

This part of the RV Podcast is brought to you by Battle Born Batteries, maker of quality, safe and reliable lithium batteries that can be installed in just about every RV. Get in touch with Battle Born to find out what lithium batteries and an upgraded energy management system can add to your RV Lifestyle. Check them out at https://rvlifestyle.com/lithium

RV INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK

The Grand Opening in Elkhart last week of the RV Technical Institute

This week we talk about the RV industry’s efforts to do something about its biggest scandal… the unacceptable 21-day delay average to get an RV repaired at an RV dealership or service center. There is and has been a desperate need for trained RV technicians. Up until just now, the industry conceded it but did little to address the problem, instead raking in big bucks from sales but essentially ignoring the customer when service was needed because they could not adequately service that RV in a timely fashion.

It was and is a huge scandal.

But last week in Elkhart, Indiana, the new RV Technical Institute changed all that. It held a grand opening in its new state of the art training facility and announced a plan to immediately start training and certifying RV technicians across the country…not for a job but a career.

The ambitious goal? To add 2,000 new techs within a relatively short period of time.

RV Technical Institute Executive Director Curt Hemmeler

Our guest for the RV Podcast interview of the week is RV Technical Institute Executive Director Curt Hemmeler.

To see our video that shows the Vv Technical Institute – click here.

Here’s a full transcript of the interview:

Mike Wendland:
Well, Curt, it is a pleasure to have you on the podcast and we’ve been advocating for more service techs and industry awareness for a long time. To actually see this happening is pretty exciting. Talk about the RV Technical Institute here in Elkhart and then what that means to consumers in particular.

Curt Hemmeler:
Sure. Well first of all, thank you for having me. And so the RV Technical Institute we’re excited about here in Elkhart is because it is the joint effort of everybody in the industry to come together to help solve the technician shortage and to increase the knowledge base and credentialing of our existing technicians in the RV space. We will officially launch everything by the end of this year. We’ve already started some training with folks from Camping World as well as the Wyndham correctional facility out of Texas where they will take our newly designed curriculum out to their areas and train their folks so that we can put more trained certified techs into the industry.

Mike Wendland:
Let’s talk about that for minute because we got a chance to actually look at that class and watch that class underway. And I don’t know if that kind of registered with our audience, as you said it, these are correctional officers and they are going to learn RV mechanical repairs and service. And they in turn are going to teach it to who and how? What does that mean?

Curt Hemmeler:
Sure. Yes, they have folks already on staff, so they have some programs already in the correctional system. They have maybe some welding and different things that they’re doing. It’s a work program funded by the state that takes folks, in this case these are women, women offenders, nonviolent type incarceration and they train them in these trades so that they are not repeat offenders.

Mike Wendland:
They give them a skill. They give them a job.

Curt Hemmeler:
They give them a skill, exactly. That’s a job skill. And so where we have partnered with them is to train them on the RV Technical Institute curriculum so that they can come out and be a fully certified level one or level two technician.

Mike Wendland:
Now who else is targeted here? Obviously the dealers can send their people of course. But this is a career path. It’s not just a job.

Curt Hemmeler:
It is. Correct. One of the things that’s important, much like the IT world, if you think about an IT person, they spend their life gaining certifications and increasing their level of competency so that they can be a more value both to themselves as well as the employer they might be working for. RVTI’s following a very similar path or the industry is supporting a very similar path whereas a person, and the exciting part is, they could be a consumer as well that might be interested, but we’re going to take you down a career path. Level one, level two, and with each level becomes another area and higher competency ability so that they can receive higher pay, have more seniority.

Curt Hemmeler:
And obviously this is a succession plan as well too because we do have a lot of technicians out there right now that are in their 50s, 60s years of age and I’m hoping that these folks as they go to retire, that they will become instructors for us and use their expertise and give it back. But by having this certification path, there’s always another place that we can push a person to which just doesn’t exist today.

Mike Wendland:
Let’s go back to the RV owner and the consumer. They of course know that there is a problem getting their RV serviced. Talk about the delay that’s out there right now. How many new techs you hope to be able to introduce into the industry and what that will mean to the consumer.

Curt Hemmeler:
Sure, sure. Well, a big reason why RVTI has come alive is because as we had talked earlier, this is something the industry has done kind of in little silos but never come together collectively as manufacturers, suppliers and dealers. RVTI is really the first example of these efforts. But what that means and one of the big drivers behind it is the average repair event cycle time, the amount of time that it takes from the day you drop a unit off at a dealer or to be repaired, to when you pick it back up as an average of 21 days.

Mike Wendland:
I think that’s just unacceptable.

Curt Hemmeler:
I don’t know about anybody else, but I just say that’s unacceptable and so with that, we do believe and we do know that if we begin to certify technicians, make them better troubleshooters, make them better diagnostic folks, that we can cut into that tremendously. We are goaling ourselves to cut that by 50% within the next two years and we’re going to do that by certifying techs and certifying not just dealer techs, mobile techs. By using our partners and our licensed partners, deliver our education across the country. We have the capability here in Elkhart to train about 150 people at a time and get them certified. But we have set ourselves up as a hub and spoke model, meaning that we’re here in Elkhart because this is where, this is the capital of the world of RV and our resources are very close proximity, which will allow us to continually update what we have.

Curt Hemmeler:
But we also know that these licensed partners are going to be delivering just like Camping World, who’s here now, they’re going to be taking our curriculum and training their folks at their 160 plus locations. That correctional facilities are going to go back and train. They’re telling us almost 250, just there, potential new techs that we can begin to employ. And the nice thing about it is there’s jobs galore in this area. There’s about a 25% shortage of trained technicians out there.

Mike Wendland:
How much can an RV technician expect to make?

Curt Hemmeler:
Sure. It’s across the board. It’s regional, but we have seen anywhere from an entry level PDI or pre-delivery inspection tech who might make eight, $10 an hour up to the average being probably 45, 50,000 and then the more experienced and we hope with the new leveling system, easily there are techs I make over a 100,000 a year. And that can be at a dealership or as an individual mobile tech working for themselves.

Mike Wendland:
This is pretty good. Now you can put 150 a week here in Elkhart. How many techs do you hope to have out there in another two years?

Curt Hemmeler:
Sure. Going back and using those licensed partners that we will have, we anticipate that within the next year to two years, we will add between 1,500 and 2,000 more trained techs into our industry.

Mike Wendland:
And how does that compare with what the need is right now?

Curt Hemmeler:
We are actually doing an internal assessment to really find exactly what the need is. We know that there are about 14,000 technicians out there. What we don’t have a good, I guess what we don’t, information we don’t have is there’s a lot of technicians at the independent service centers out there and we don’t necessarily know where all of those are at. And so we’re doing some internal surveying to find out, so we have a better idea. But we do know that on the average we’re off about 20, 25% on trained technicians to meet the demand of where it’s at. With 14,000 technicians out there, 25% more gets us somewhere in neighborhood four, 5,000 more techs we need.

Mike Wendland:
And there’s how many levels that you’ll be teaching here?

Curt Hemmeler:
Sure. There are actually four levels. There’s level one, two, three and four.

Mike Wendland:
Talk about those. What are they?

Curt Hemmeler:
Sure. Level one would be your pre-delivery inspection technician. This is about a week long program. It takes you through the seven areas of an RV. Propane, electrical, plumbing, appliances, generators, chassis as well as RV body components. Those seven courses are core courses and they have modules within them. The level one person would go through all of those areas, learning Ohm’s law, learning how flow works and those different things so that they get a real strong knowledge of when you take a unit, everything that’s on that unit, you can know how to run it up, make sure it works.

Curt Hemmeler:
Now let’s say you run something up and it doesn’t work or it faults, you’re not quite prepared at that point to necessarily move into diagnostic and troubleshooting. That’s level two. Level two takes you back through all those seven areas and goes deeper into it so that you can become a very intelligent troubleshooter and diagnostic person. That takes somewhere in the neighborhood of about eight weeks to complete. Level one is one week, the level two is eight weeks because we take those seven components and we go much more in depth.

Mike Wendland:
Do they have to be here all eight weeks?

Curt Hemmeler:
Not necessarily. We are setting the curriculum up so that you can actually come to Elkhart, you’ll always be able to come to Elkhart and get trained in any of the areas, but also through our licensed partners. They’ll be offering this across the country. And the nice thing about level two is we’ve broken it out into these modules. For example, if propane systems is one course within that, you could actually come get that course by itself. You would receive a mini certification as a propane systems certified tech. Once you’ve completed all seven under level two, you are awarded level two at that point.

Mike Wendland:
This is an ongoing procedure.

Curt Hemmeler:
Oh, definitely.

Mike Wendland:
Kind of learn propane, I can go back, I can help do some work on propane, come back and then do electrical, pick that up and soon have all those. Those are two levels. Going on.

Curt Hemmeler:
And then to the third level, yep. Then we get to the third level. Now the third level is where we get into all the different vendors. Up to this point, level one and level two is very generic. We’re not necessarily teaching you one specific vendor’s product. We’re teaching what the knowledge of what a refrigerator system looks like, not all the manufacturers that do that. Level three gets into specialty areas. This is where a technician can go to individual vendor training classes and get certified in that.

Curt Hemmeler:
Once they’ve attained five of the required levels, which includes electrical specialist. There’s also a pullout specialist, there’s an appliance specialist. Those then once you have five of those, you are received level three.

Curt Hemmeler:
Level four is the master tech. And a level four is only achieved after one, two and three have been completed. And at that point you are awarded a level four and now level four we’re actually looking to add some more things to it including the ability to audit. We have partnered, our curriculum has been in development for two years. We brought in all the subject experts from all these different areas to to help us get content. We then took that content and gave it to a group called NOCTI Business Solutions, who’s a third party who put all of this in the curriculum so that we can have PowerPoints, so we can have course outlines and we can have lesson plans. And we standardized it so that we can actually through a learning management system, an LMS, we can give that to an entity. An entity could be the prison system we just discussed, Camping World, a community college, a vocational high school, a high school, and they then through sending somebody to us, we could train a trainer and they can go back and deliver that curriculum as well.

Mike Wendland:
This grows exponentially.

Curt Hemmeler:
Oh that’s the goal because there’s no way myself and my little team of seven, eight folks here in Elkhart are going to spread this to a 1,000, to 1,500 people in two years. But if we are pushing it out and making it accessible and folks across the country want to become a licensed partner, we will be more than happy to deliver this to them. And they in turn will continue to train on their end as well too.

Mike Wendland:
Well the immediate need of course is more service techs out there, but I have to end the interview by also saying as a RV user I could see some consumer benefits here too that as consumers it would really be fun to come and maybe take a level one class.

Curt Hemmeler:
Definitely, definitely. I as I was sharing, I was just in Hershey for the Hershey show and a lot of folks just full time RVers, part time RVers say, “Hey can I take level one?” Of course you can. I expect that there’ll be a lot of folks who just have their own interest in repairing their own. The tuition is going to be very affordable. We’re working on it right now but we expect tuition to be no more than probably $1,000 a week for five to seven days of training and these would be full eight hour days of training. We are setting things up here in Elkhart as well as around our licensed partners. If you want to bring your RV and train for a week and also do some camping, I think that will be just one way of being able to get this training.

Mike Wendland:
Let me be one of the first to sign up for that part and we’ll share that with our community too.

Curt Hemmeler:
We got space. Maybe you’ll be an invited guest. Please comment and we will train.

Mike Wendland:
We’ll put Jennifer out there with a couple of screwdrivers and I’ll just watch her.

Curt Hemmeler:
There you go.

Mike Wendland:
Well listen, Curt, I wish you the great success. Now we showed a little bit what a beautiful facility this is. We showed it in our video that we did just a little while ago on RV open house and we urge people, we’ll put a link in the show notes. We’ll put a link here to the a the RV Technical Institute, so people in dealerships and the industry can contact you. But thank you for doing something.

Curt Hemmeler:
You’re very welcome.

Mike Wendland:
The most serious problem in the industry right now.

Curt Hemmeler:
Well great. I look forward to it. I’ve got to say, being new to this industry, spent 20 years in education, vocational career training, and I cannot commend enough the people in the industry for stepping up and making that initial investment so that we can make this happen so that consumers can really get back to RVing, enjoying that. Even when we know things happen, let’s get them fixed and not waiting 21 days because kids get pretty unhappy if you tell them you’re going on vacation, now all of a sudden that stalls. We don’t want that to happen.

Mike Wendland:
Curt, thank you so much for being our guest.

Curt Hemmeler:
Thank you very much.

The interview of the week is brought to you by SunshinestateRVs.com, where every new  motorhome is delivered to the customer free, anywhere in the country

OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT   

Patti and Tom Burkett

By Tom and Patti Burkett

Petrified Wood Park – Lemmon, South Dakota

The year was 1930 and, just like everywhere else in the USA, times were tough.  In small towns much of the population was living hand to mouth, scrabbling for odd jobs to get the family from one meal to the next.  Lemmon, South Dakota was one such small town, but with a difference.  Local resident Ole Quammen was an amateur geologist who’d inherited some money from his family—not enough to make him wealthy, but much more than most people had.  Quammen saw the despair that was gripping his town and decided to do what he could to improve the lives of his neighbors. 

Along the bluffs that edge the northwest corner of what’s now the Buffalo Gap National Grassland, a series of bluffs is constantly eroding.  As the soft rock falls away, it reveals agates,  rose quartz, and, what most interested Quammen, petrified wood.  For three years he paid men from Lemmon to collect specimens from the area and amassed an extraordinary array.  He also paid for spherical concretions from South Dakota’s aptly named Cannonball River.

The Petrified Wood marker

Quammen directed his small army in the construction of a park that takes up nearly an entire city block along the town’s main street.  The “Castle” was built from petrified wood logs and an astonishing variety of petrified mammoth and mastodon bones.  A second building, housing the Petrified Wood Park Museum, is ringed with spires.  Inside are artifacts from the town’s past and daily life on the prairie a hundred years ago.

Near the entrance to the park is a square red stone marker with “SD” on one side and “ND” on the other.  This, it turns out, is one of 720 “silent sentinels” placed on the border between North and South Dakota in 1891 and 1892 under the direction of the secretary of the interior.  Surveyor Charles Bates opined that the red quartzite monuments, nearly as hard as diamond, “will stand until the judgement day comes.”  Well, the line has held, but many of the markers themselves have been displaced by erosion or carted off as souvenirs.  Still, many of them can still be found along the border by those walking the grasslands.

The “cannonball” Christmas tree

The little town of Lemmon, with a population a bit over a thousand, offers another attraction, the Grand River Museum. It’s impossible to miss, with a cowboy mounted on a triceratops out front under the sign.  Inside are a variety of fossilized dinosaur bones and skulls.  You can take a trip down memory lane typing something on a vintage Underwood typewriter.  The nearby Kokomo Inn, once a popular bar, is now the gallery and studio of John Lopez, the sculptor of the statue outside the Grand River Museum.  A changing selection of his work is on display, and the side of the building features a mural done by an African artist who was visiting in Lopez’s studio.

The Cowboy and Triceratops

A bit north of town is a dispersed camping area at North Lemmon Lake—no amenities, but beautiful views.  Right on the border of North and South Dakota, at the edge of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, Lemmon is two hours from Theodore Roosevelt National Park and three hours from the Badlands.  If you happen to be driving one of our favorite roads, US 12 from Minneapolis to Helena, Montana, you’ll go right through town.  And you’ll have no doubt that you’re well and truly off the beaten path.

RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS