Seems the facilities and prices on my wanderings through the Dakotas and the tier of even more conservative states due south have been disappointing of late. Last couple falls the North Dakota state parks have been trying to resolve the deficit left by the floundering oil tax revenues by nickel and diming us for every tent and every extra night we stayed at their half empty state parks. This year the formerly hospitable southern Dakota twin got chintzy too, deciding to remodel the rest rooms conveniently located across from our normal campsite in Randall Creek State Park. They didn’t close the restrooms, we crawled over the badly sagging orange fence and found the doors unlocked, but holes in the floor where the porcelain should have been. Next to the stripped facilities was an afterthought of a restroom & shower trailer, plumbing hooked up but doors locked tight. Being dignified motorcyclists, comfort breaks thus required a several hundred yards walk to a functioning one holer or even further if plumbing was desired.

But we persevered…

DSC_5755Great weather, so we checked out South Dakota’s first schoolhouse amongst other dubious attractions. This was never a big rally, we peaked at 13 riders the first night and lost a few to attrition over the weekend… Perhaps due to South Dakota’s absent facilities.

Now before the fiscal conservatives feel picked upon, time to call out the EPA’s environmental extremists and their latest bit of micro management. Haven’t gotten it in writing, but several sources have told me that the EPA set the terms for VWs recent feeding frenzy sale of the 2015 TDIs in dealer inventory. Not wanting to call attention to the continued popularity of diesel cars, the EPA reportedly wouldn’t let VW advertise even the mere availability of said diesel cars, never mind the generous rebates on them. Heck, VW didn’t even mention the deal on their website, and not giving notice of a de facto “insider deal” like this is a definite no-no these days. EPA also reputedly dictated that those generous rebates would only be available with a loan or lease from VW, so they could yank the cars back if buyers failed to return them for the rest of the recall work or worse yet, another buyback.

Now VW maybe sells 20,000 cars a month these days, and if normal industry practices prevail, maybe finances 10,000 of them. In a couple short frenzied weeks VW sold most all those 12,000 TDIs, and it looks like every one was financed through VW to get the $5000 to $8500 rebates. Thus the workload over at VW finance doubled or tripled thanks to the EPA’s stupidity, and buyers have first payments coming due but no notice from VW as to where to send said payments, etc.. Fortunately VW Finance has been pretty good at heading off these crisis over the phone… Thus I have a nice letter from VW telling me that my loan is paid off in full.

So sorry, EPA… Despite your attempts at petty micromanagement, my VW TDI diesel is mine and mine alone to do as I please with. And despite your attempts, I’m havin’ fun drivin’ it anyways!