The Five Star DEF Story: Got DEF?

On day three of the trip, about 1000 miles from home, I did a system check and discovered the Exhaust Fluid level was under 1⁄2 full. This caught us by surprise, and was somewhat of a concern, since we were traveling off the highways and we had not seen DEF by the bottle at any of the fuel stations in rural Idaho or Montana. We stopped in Spearfish, South Dakota and located a Ford Dealer, hoping to buy Motorcraft DEF by the bottle. The parts department was closed, so we could not purchase any DEF, and the manager advised us that the nearest DEF was in Rapid City, at a Pilot/Flying J Truck Stop. We checked the auto parts stores, and several stores, but could not find any DEF that afternoon. Since our planned route southeast was another 800 miles of 2-lane road on the scenic byways of WY, NE, and IA, we began to consider a detour to Rapid City to fill up with DEF at the Flying J and then backtrack to Mt. Rushmore. We located a great RV campground outside Spearfish for the night.

At this point, we were a bit irritated that we needed to refill DEF so soon and needed to detour in order to assure finding some. That evening we used and other internet resources to locate DEF along our route, but it soon became clear that DEF is scarce on the scenic byways and in the small rural towns we like to visit when we are travelling. This convinced us that a stop at the Flying J was a must, and then we would buy some 1 gallon containers of DEF when we arrived in Waterloo IA to make sure we had some on hand.

The next day, we got on I-90, and stopped at the Flying J in Rapid City. The DEF lanes are well marked and are all located in the “Big Rig” 18-wheeler area of the truck stop, where we found an open lane. We soon discovered that there are some fundamental, and no so enjoyable, differences between a fuel stop at a typical gas station and a stop at the Flying J (or any other truck stop as we discovered later).

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