Our trip from Wall to Custer State Park, SD was a short 81 miles to the outskirts of Rapid city and then on to the park. We did stop near Rapid City and give the Mothership a drink - diesel is still a little over 2.50/gallon - much better than the last few years!!
We are staying at the Game Lodge Campground
inside Custer State park. The sites are huge but only have 50 amp electric - no water or sewer. We made sure we filled the fresh water tank before departing Sleepy Hollow so we are set for the six days we will be here. We had a clear shot to the satellite and very strong Verizon reception.
Shortly after getting set up we headed for the wildlife loop which covers a good bit of the park. It was much as we had experienced on our way back from Alaska in 2009. The only difference was that the Pronghorn Antelope were less in evidence though there were still some here. Maybe it is still too early in their migration from farther south?
Tuesday we headed for some mountain driving. First was the Iron Mountain Road
just outside the park. They are repaving almost the whole length of it but it was still usable and was a great ride. It has three very small tunnels on it as well as playing peek-a-boo with Mount Rushmore as you round the curves or exit tunnels.
Next we drove the Needles Highway
but had to take a detour through Custer, SD as the regular road to the highway was closed. We were able to hike a little around Sylvan Lake, seeing a little wildlife and enjoying the beautiful lake. From there we were able to access the Needles Highway and partake of its uniqueness. It also has a few tunnels which are actually smaller than those on the Iron Mountain Road as well as some very good scenery involving the spires that give the road its name.
Wednesday was spent relaxing in the Mothership and listening to the constant patter of rain on its roof for the whole day. Thursday, it was still drizzling but we decided to give it a try as we wanted to visit the Wind Cave National Park
and the Mammoth Site
. We knew that there were none of the cave tours that Doris would be able to handle but we wanted to visit our country's sixth national park. They did have a good movie and some good exhibits without ever setting foot in its dank darkness.
We then went a little farther south to Hot Springs to visit the mammoths. They have done a remarkable job here of digging down into an old sinkhole that contains many mammoths and other animals that died in that one small area over a several hundred year period about 26,000 years ago.
We also decided this morning that we would go on to Buffalo, WY tomorrow (Friday) rather than wait until Sunday as scheduled due to the approaching storm. We knew that this area was expecting some snow on Friday night and Saturday but the forecast has changed and they now expect it to be very heavy snow on Saturday continuing on through Sunday when we originally planned to depart. Our site is reserved for Sunday so we have to be out Sunday and didn't want to travel in those conditions. Leaving a couple of days early seemed appropriate and we had seen everything we wanted to here as well.
We will now leave for Buffalo tomorrow and stay there five nights before going on to Montana.