Monday, June 18, 2012

A Cabela

We are at the Cabela's store in Owatonna, Minnesota (map). This store has a couple dozen RV spaces on one end of the lot, completely separate from a number of truck spaces on the other end. It's a bit close to the freeway, but otherwise not an unpleasant place to spend the night. There was some serious weather north of us, with tornado and thunderstorm warnings, but all we saw was a bit of rain and wind. As with most Cabela's stores, there is an RV dump, water, and other amenities.

We had a fantastic day yesterday with our niece and her grandmother. We picked them up at their hotel downtown and then drove over to the Mall of America. We had a very pleasant lunch at the Twin Cities Grill before wandering around the massive complex a bit, checking out the aquarium and the Nickelodeon-themed amusement park in the center of it all. As shrines to American consumerism go, this one pretty much takes the cake, but when all is said and done, it's just a mall.

The mall has its own light rail station and we put them on the train to the airport, just a couple stops away, at the end of the afternoon. By the time we were ready to hit the road, however, we got more disturbing news from our boat broker. It would appear that the boat we were interested in seeing in New Orleans is a bit misrepresented. That's been a common theme with the last few boats, and I mentioned to the broker that the Yachtworld web site should really be called FantasyLand. He suggested FraudWorld might be more appropriate.

In this case, the photos attached to the listing are several years old, from when the current owners first purchased the boat. It's been sitting uncared-for for the last three or four years, and is in rough shape. On top of that, one of the generators is inoperative, and one of the main engines had a compression problem that may or may not have been properly repaired. We are now seriously reconsidering whether we even want to drive down to see it.

Since we found out there were issues, albeit without all those details, before we even got on the road, we decided to try to stay pretty close to where we were, rather than start a marathon trek south only to abandon it later. The Mall of America is very clear about no overnight parking, as is the rest of the city of Bloomington, including the Walmart. So instead we drove the eight miles or so to the Walmart in Eagan, since it was not on the no-no list. Unsurprisingly, we found the lot posted as No Overnight Parking, and so instead we headed south to Lakeville, and the closest truck stop.

Given that this truck stop was about the closest to Minneapolis/St. Paul with overnight parking, and it was Sunday evening, it was not very surprising that the lot was already full at 6pm. There were a couple of smaller spots on the edge of the lot where we might have fit, but when a truck stop is that busy, we think it's pushing our luck to try to spend the night. I'm sure by midnight the place was an absolute zoo, and hell hath no fury like a trucker with no place to park when his legally mandated rest period comes up.

We instead continued south on the freeway. There was both a truck stop and a Walmart a bit north of here, but having come this far we decided to continue to Cabela's anyway, where we knew we'd be welcome and it would probably be a bit quieter. We decided to wait here until the broker called back with the gory details of the problems with the New Orleans boat, a call which came first thing this morning.

We've spent the whole morning regrouping. Among other things, we need to get ourselves settled someplace with high-speed Internet access starting Wednesday night so we can participate in a teleconference. That's actually more of a challenge here in the Midwest than I thought it would be.

We finally decided to continue on more or less our present course at least as far as Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky, where yet another boat has just come on the market. Since we had made tentative plans to swing by and see friends in the Des Moines area on our way south, that's the direction we will head today. We'll probably be just over the Iowa border someplace tonight, and in the Des Moines area tomorrow afternoon.


  1. My wife and I are new to RVing, but not new to the nomadic lifestyle. We owned sailboats for 20 - 25 years, living on them for a couple. We decided to sell the boat 5 years ago and are now starting our RV adventure. I read that you are about to buy a boat and are unhappy with what you are finding on YachtWorld. This seems to be common in the boating world. If you are looking at boats that have been in saltwater their entire life, it definitely shows. If I could give you a bit of advise, concentrate on "Great Lakes" boats. You will generally find them in much better condition than their saltwater counterparts of similar make and age. The added bonus is that you get to go south through the Erie Canal and east coast ICW or down the Tenn Tom waterway before you head for the islands.

    Great log and the bus looks amazing!


  2. Ah, while it is a little late thought I'd through out an idea of a place to overnight in Bloomington next time your there.

    C & J Bus Repair is located there and a big supporter of us bus nuts with advice, parts and service.

    While I've not spent the night there I seriously doubt JD an his crew would have any objections. (especially when you guys typically patronize the places that allow you to stay anyway!)
    ;D BK ;D


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