Camper Quest Part 6: First Road Trip
The last time I wrote about our upcoming trip I said we would be packing my TRAK folding kayak into the rear storage compartment of our new-to-us Winnebago View motorhome. However, days before our departure a friend offered use of a Yakima trailer for our trip. I jumped at his generous offer because it meant we could carry not only my folding TRAK but also Mary’s rigid sea kayak AND two mountain bikes to boot.
So off we went across Wisconsin and Iowa, stopping for two nights at my mother’s home in western Iowa. The trailer performed flawlessly behind the RV. If not for our rear-view camera I wouldn’t have known it was back there. We pushed on to South Dakota for a week of sightseeing, hiking, kayaking and biking. Or so we planned. But as it turned out, we didn’t use the kayaks at all. Two reasons…
First of all, when I reserved our campsite at Sylvan Lake Campground in Custer State Park, I somehow had the notion, based on my fuzzy childhood memories, that it would be next to the lake or at least close. Upon arrival we discovered the campground is about half a mile from the lake. If we wanted to kayak, we could unhook the trailer and use it like a handcart to walk the kayaks to the lake (not a good option because the road from the campground to the lake is narrow and the hiking trail is narrow and rugged). Our other option was to drive the RV to the parking lot near the lake — also not ideal because it meant breaking camp and taking a chance on finding RV parking in the busy lot.
The second reason we decided not to kayak was weather. The sky threatened rain, and the wind whipped whitecaps across the beautiful but relatively tiny lake. Rather than paddling on a small lake in crappy conditions, we decided hiking was our better option.
Even though we left the toys on the trailer, pulling it to South Dakota and back was not a wasted effort. I consider it a useful “proof of concept” exercise. It taught us how easy it would be to bring kayaks — folding or rigid — if we plan a future trip that’s more kayak-centric. And I like the Yakima trailer for its light-weight but sturdy design.
When I take delivery of my new TRAK 2.0 kayak in a few months, I’ll be eager to see if its smaller packing size makes it easier to stow and transport. Will it fit more easily inside our Winnebago? Or should we get our own trailer? Or do both? Time will tell.
Driving the “easy” segment of South Dakota’s Needles Highway in the Black Hills north of Sylvan Lake. Dashcam footage from our 24-1/2-ft Winnebago View 24G, which is 7’6″ wide and 10’6″ tall. Hood Tunnel is advertised as 10’6″ wide and 9’10” tall but obviously it is taller than that.