Well, the morning started off regular enough. I went to Jewel Cave National Monument only to find out that they do tours at certain times and I didn't have time to go on one. Gee, missed my chance to go underground and test my claustrophobic limits. I went on a little walk on the "rooftop" and saw a deer looking at me about 100 feet (not yards) away. Neat. I also saw results of a major forest fire that ravaged through the area in 2000 - bare sticks coming out of the ground, and charred wood laying on the ground, as if someone spread out their old campfire.
Then I went to the Rapid City airport and picked up my mom who landed on time and had good luck changing planes in Chicago. This was a very happy meeting for both of us. She had already found out that the yearly motorcycle rally in this area was going on and sure enough, there are motorcycles and the sounds of their engines everywhere! And this will be going on the whole week we are here!
On the way home, I had to pull over, and go back to the gas station to wait out a severe thunderstorm that overtook us for about half an hour or so. The sky got very black and hailstones the size of marbles came crashing down on the car. The wind was fierce for most of it also. Dad heard the storm through the cell phone! Then, the sky lightened up and all the bikers and vehicles started to move out again. Along the road was the results of the storm - looked like snow on the road and in the fields. Rivers came out of nowhere! The horses frolicked in the cool, breezy sunshine. It was quite a sight.
I got real worried that my awning might have blown off. The forecast was for a 20% chance of thunderstorms in the late afternoon, so I had left it out to show Mom what home looks like. The storm blew threw about 20 miles northeast of the campground and didn't hit there at all! I guess I can't leave the awning out, even if the weather forecast says I have nothing to worry about. Never know around these parts!
I got us lost getting back to the campsite, but it was a good thing, because Mom saw her life's dream destination spot from the roadway I ended up on! THe faces on Mt. Rushmore can be seen from many vantage points! We plan on coming back to see it properly, alon with the visitor's center and exhibits.