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Old 05-28-2016, 08:38 PM   #1
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South Dakota in October

What's the likelihood of below-freezing temps around Mt Rushmore Mid-October? We are thinking of a more northerly route (vs. our usual I-40) in driving from Chicago to S Cal for the winter. We'd head to Mr Rushmore around mid-Oct; then dive south through Vegas on the way to Palm Desert.

Anyone with experience there that time of year?

THANKS
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Old 05-28-2016, 09:05 PM   #2
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I just got back from Mt. Rushmore last week. I had temps in the 20s at night. I would guess below freezing is possible in mid-Oct. There is a very nice commercial RV park just outside the main entrance into Mt. Rushmore. With full hook-ups, you should have no problems with low temps.

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Old 05-28-2016, 09:19 PM   #3
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Be sure your tank heaters are on. And don't run your macerator pump 'til you are in warmer climes long enuf to thaw it out. Or you could put some RV antifreeze in the pump before you leave.
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Old 05-28-2016, 09:26 PM   #4
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Mid October is about the time our overnight temp's began dipping below freezing. On the average, and most years are a little above or a little below average, you never know.

It's the time of the year we hook up our Airstream and look at the weather map to see if our preplanned trip to the south for the winter is going to work. If not we head toward the Plan B trip. The idea is to take a different route each year, if headed to Arizona we may see Florida or Washington State first.

We have not ever winterized this Airstream, our goal these days is to keep out of winter. We have often opened all the drain valves and let the tanks and lines self-drain, a little interior heat keeps us and the remaining interior lines from freezing.

Chances are you'll be in the winter transition period, and it will swing either way a bit. Head west to Mt. Rushmore as planned, you most likely be fine and may hit that wonderful and short moment called indian Summer. With an eye on the weather forecast keep going west to the coast if you like, it's a great trip, be prepared to make a left turn if it isn't.
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Old 05-28-2016, 10:31 PM   #5
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I've pheasant hunted in South Dakota for the last 10 years mid to late October. Though considerably Southeast of Mount Rushmore, we have seen a little of everything over the years. More than half of the years the temps have been great in the days with the lows near freezing. Could go either way though.

As Doug mentioned earlier, keep an eye on the weather forecast and go on and go as a good chance you will have some fantastic mid 60's days with nights getting near freezing. If worse is forecast, cut the trip shorter and keep heading West. Enjoy your trip and safe travels.

Chuck
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Old 05-29-2016, 02:28 AM   #6
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Hi, several years ago we went to Custer, South Dakota in October. It was Zero degrees at night and a high of 27 degrees during the day. We filled both propane tanks in Wyoming and sure glad that we did. We almost completely used up all of our propane in about five days. We ran our furnace 24 hours a day until we got out of this area. Our camp ground had 120 spaces and we were the only ones there. We also drove on snow and ice with two wheel drive and no chains.
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Old 05-29-2016, 09:54 AM   #7
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Hi, several years ago we went to Custer, South Dakota in October. It was Zero degrees at night and a high of 27 degrees during the day. We filled both propane tanks in Wyoming and sure glad that we did. We almost completely used up all of our propane in about five days. We ran our furnace 24 hours a day until we got out of this area. Our camp ground had 120 spaces and we were the only ones there. We also drove on snow and ice with two wheel drive and no chains.
And here we are, wondering if we will use our new Interstate when it is 30 to 40 degrees F in winter time. Thanks for posting that. Gives me motivation to use ours all year around.
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Old 05-29-2016, 10:05 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
Hi, several years ago we went to Custer, South Dakota in October. It was Zero degrees at night and a high of 27 degrees during the day. We filled both propane tanks in Wyoming and sure glad that we did. We almost completely used up all of our propane in about five days. We ran our furnace 24 hours a day until we got out of this area. Our camp ground had 120 spaces and we were the only ones there. We also drove on snow and ice with two wheel drive and no chains.
Sounds like you hit the year they had the horrible storm come through. Tons of cattle were lost. The fickle October weather in SD. Glad you came through it all OK.

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Old 05-29-2016, 10:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
We ran our furnace 24 hours a day until we got out of this area. Our camp ground had 120 spaces and we were the only ones there. We also drove on snow and ice with two wheel drive and no chains.
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Didn't get the memo, huh?
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Old 05-29-2016, 10:20 AM   #10
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And here we are, wondering if we will use our new Interstate when it is 30 to 40 degrees F in winter time. Thanks for posting that. Gives me motivation to use ours all year around.
I've used my Interstate for winter camping. Admittedly winter camping in the South, but on one trip while I was still working… It was New Year's weekend and I took a vacation day to give myself a four-day weekend. I went to Poverty Point State Park, Louisiana. After the first day, the temperature dropped below freezing and stayed there— for the last three days of my trip the high temperature was 27°F, contrary to every forecast for the area that all predicted the overnight lows were going to be in the 30s for that weekend.

I had full hookups, but wisely took the precaution of filling my fresh tank and bringing my hose inside so it didn't freeze. Tank heaters and furnace kept things warm enough for comfort, but I couldn't dump my waste tanks during the trip due to the macerator pump freezing. That had to wait until I returned home to above-freezing temps. Even though the macerator pump froze, there was no damage to it— fortunately I had run it dry the previous time I used it, so there wasn't enough liquid in it to expand enough to break anything.
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Old 05-29-2016, 10:40 AM   #11
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Good to hear more stories of winter travel. So is there no good solution to using the macerator pump in cold weather? I read about putting anti-freeze in there but is that an easy thing?
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Old 05-29-2016, 10:55 AM   #12
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Maybe there is a way to wrap macerator with electrical heat tape?
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Old 05-29-2016, 11:20 AM   #13
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October might be a little too chancy for me. Pretty much allergic to cold weather.
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Old 05-29-2016, 11:48 AM   #14
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Maybe there is a way to wrap macerator with electrical heat tape?
As far as I'm concerned, Airstream ought to do it at the factory as a standard feature, with it wired into the tank heater circuit.

But a do-it-yourself solution certainly should be doable.
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