|Thu, 10 Jun: Today's drive took us from our WalMart roost in Gillette, Wyoming to High Plains Campground in Piedmont (about 11 miles north of Rapid City), South Dakota. Our total distance was 150 miles, which included a detour up US 14 to visit Devils Tower National Monument (remember Close Encounters of the Third Kind?) South Dakota marks the thirty-fifth state we've visited in our motorhome.
The weather threatened rain most of the way, but we didn't get any until just before arriving at our campgrounds. Then, it stopped long enough for us to get leveled, plug in electric and connect water. Then the skies opened "mit Blitz und Donner"...
We're planning to be in the Rapid City area for at least ten days to two weeks. Watch this space for more pix as we visit the Black Hills, Mt. Rushmore, Custer State Park, Teddy Bear Museum, etc.
Sun, 13 Jun: Where has the time gone?
On Friday we spent the day dealing with the "business of life", which included picking up mail and "goodies". More photo gear and a brand new Kindle, which we hope will eliminate our worry about overloading the coach with books.
Yesterday, Saturday, it poured all day so we stayed home and caught up with the barrage of paper the mail brought. High temp for the day never left the fifties.
Today the morning was cloudy but no rain (yet!) so we took a scenic drive through the Spearfish Canyon. Despite the overcast we still enjoyed the outing. We stopped at Roughlock Falls, which allowed some photo ops even though the rain started while we were on the trail. Next was the Fort Mead museum, which Bob enjoyed. Did you know that the campaign to make the Star Spangled Banner our National Anthem originated at Fort Mead? Neither did we...
Lunch at Sturgis, home of the famous August motorcycle rally. This weekend things are a bit tamer—a Cushman rally! Now back home listening to the rain on the roof. More forecast for tomorrow, but then it should clear up. Hope so, we've got a lot of toursting to do.
Mon, 14 Jun: Flag Day! We tried to fly our flag but the wind was just too much so we reluctantly "struck the colors". The forecast called for clearing in the afternoon, so we set out after lunch on a 190 mile loop that took us through Bella Fourche, SD and then back to Devils Tower in Wyoming. Weather liars lie! It rained all afternoon...
Belle Fourche is a small town north of Sturgis. Its claim to fame is its proximity to the geographic center of the United States. "Whoa" you say, that doesn't make sense!!! But it does when you consider Alaska and Hawai`i. Anyway, we've posted some pix of us near the monument (between rain).
Next along SD24 and then WY34 to Devils Tower National Monument. We had hoped to get some good pix of it bathed in sunlight with a cobalt sky fringed with puffy white clouds. Not so! We took out our cameras long enough to shoot some cloudy and dull pix and dove back into the car.
Interesting Lakota legend about Devils Tower... Seems the tower rose from a tree stump to save some children from a giant bear called Mato Tipila (Bear Lodge). The bear was pretty ticked at missing dinner so he clawed at the former stump leaving the signature vertical "claw marks" (that we'd always thought were erosion). A painting hangs over the fireplace in the National Monument's Visitor Center depicting the episode. We managed to get some decent photos of it which are included here.
Tue, 15 Jun: Sunshine!!! Today it didn't rain! We didn't know what the bright light in the eastern sky was. It was dry and warm...
So, off we went touristing. First to Hill City, a small town on the way to Mount Rushmore that boasts the world's largest Teddy Bear collection (6,800+ at last "census"). It is a free museum and must be seen to be believed. Pictures just don't do it justice, but we have quite a few of them and even posted a few.
Next Mount Rushmore. It was mobbed! Seems everyone else in the area was also waiting for the rain to stop, and when it did off they went touristing. We spent about an hour there and did manage to get some good pix. Again, a few are posted.
Finally, we went to Ellsworth Air Force Base just east of Rapid City. Ellsworth was a busy place during the cold war, first as a B-52 Strategic Air Command (SAC) base, but also as a major Minuteman II Missile Command Center.
We thoroughly enjoyed the static aircraft displays. We also took the Base Tour which included a visit to one of the few remaining Minuteman Silos (decommissioned, of course). That was really fascinating to see. Took many, many pix, but only posted a few due to upload limitations.
We were back home in time for happy hour. Don't tell us we don't have our priorities right...
Thu, 17 Jun: We are currently at the Pennington County Fairgrounds in Rapid City, SD. Yesterday we moved Carpe from the High Plains campground to here so we could attend the South Dakota Good Sam rally. Enroute we stopped and got the 150 hour service done on our generator.
Now that we're "downtown" we got some shopping done as well as haircuts. Last evening we dined at the Firehouse Brewing Company, a highly-recommended Rapid City brew pub and restaurant. Bob enjoyed their stout (Sandi, the "DD", got a sip). We both enjoyed the Chicken Fried Steak, and have two more meals in take out containers in the fridge. Definitely worthy of return visits...
The weather has been pretty aggressive, yesterday hot (mid 80s), then severe evening and overnite thunderstorms. Today is sunny and cool with winds gusting to 50 mph! It reminds us of a lesson learned during our sojourn in the midwest—the weather never lets you forget who's boss!
We'll be here through Sunday morning, and then who knows?!? We're still not sure where we'll head from here. Stay tuned...
Mon, 21 Jun: The Good Sam rally ended Sunday morning and we moved to a different RV park in Black Hawk, about five miles north of Rapid City. Three Flags RV Park is a very nice, modern, clean, family run Passport America park.
We spent today (Monday) wrapping up business in town and getting ready to roll wheels again after more than a week in Rapid City. Destination, North Dakota's badlands.