|Mon, 17 Aug: A rainy drive with sunshine at the end...
Early this morning, at around "dark o'clock", the rain started. It pretty much continued right up to and including time to arise. It was really dark and gloomy, just the kind of Monday mornings we loved to hate when we were doing that "W" thing. Now that we're retired we can pretty much make it "just another rainy day!"
We got things ready for for the road and completed our inside checks. Bob, ever the gallant one, offered to don his rain slickers and take care of the outside chores. "Why should we both get wet?" he asked. Sandi didn't have a ready answer so she stayed snug, cozy, and dry inside. Yes, the heatwave had finally broken and it was in the high fifties outside.
We rolled wheels around 0745 (CDT) and continued on US 14 Business thru Pierre to the Missouri River. Downtown traffic was moving very carefully so things went well despite being what passes for "rush hour" in Pierre. As we crossed the Missouri we gained an hour when we moved into the Mountain Time Zone.
Once clear of the capital city we continued west along US 14. This well maintained federal highway is a major east-west artery thru the upper midwest. We encountered rain pretty much continuously but very little traffic.
East of Wall we merged with Interstate 90 and continued west to Box Elder where we pulled into the Pilot/Flying J station. We disconnected the car and Bob headed to our mailing service (just down the road from the truck stop) while Sandi topped up the diesel tank. We paid $2.349/gallon for diesel (regular unleaded is a good 30¢/gallon more).
After picking up the mail Bob headed to the Rapid City Elks Lodge where he found a 50 amp site with water (no dump). He called Sandi on the two meter HAM radio and she headed to the Lodge and backed Carpe into the spot. By 1055 (MDT) we were parked and getting set up. We're planning to spend at least a week here taking care of some business and generally taking it easy. We've been on the road pretty much nonstop since leaving the rally in late July and it is time for some "down time".
Our good friends Domingo and Carmen Davila drove over and we went to lunch at a "new-to-us" Mexican place. Nothing to rave about and the prices were pretty high for Mexican grinds. Then back to the RV for "catching up".
Sun, 22 Aug: A busy, busy week...
It is hard to believe that we've been here a week. Our days have been so full that the time just flew. As we pen this on a delightful Sunday morning it is difficult to catalog just what and what not got done.
Since arriving on Monday we renewed our vehicle registrations, a painless process. We met and socialized with Carmen and Domingo every day. And we managed to get a bit of sightseeing in as, after all, we're in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Our vehicle registration went without a hitch. We drove to the Pennington County Building and easily found the Treasurer's Office. A clerk was available who took us thru the process and relieved us of $$$s. The South Dakota registration fees went up 20% this year and we really felt it, especially with the coach.
Shopping took the form of Bob replacing his 30-year-old rain jacket. The old one was falling apart at the seams so it was time for a new one. He found what he needed/wanted at Cabellas so he's a happy camper.
Sam's Club was the target of an extensive "big box" list. Then Wal*Mart fo some necessities.
We visited with the Davilas whenever possible, meeting them for lunch and/or visiting with them at our coach or theirs. Since they were parked on Ellsworth Air Force Base, visiting their coach necessitated us getting access to the base. Domingo helped us thru the process and we had no problems.
The Elks Lodge RV parking area went from half full to completely full with the arrival of five California RVs. They were traveling together and didn't socialize with anyone outside their group. They were mildly annoying and we were happy to see them leave Friday morning.
Yesterday, Saturday, we drove the forty-some miles to Hill City to visit Teddy Bear Town. The collection remains the world's largest standing at > 9,100 bears. Jackie, the curator and "chief bear momma", is shooting for the 10,000 bear mark. We're rootin' for her.
While at TBT we visited with "Ted", the bear we donated to the collection several years back. He remains on a top shelf right inside the entrance and Jackie tells us he gets many favorable comments. Should you visit, and we encourage you to to so, be sure to ask for "Ted, the Swanson's bear".
Which brings us to the present... Carmen and Domingo Davila left this morning for Michigan where they have family and medico visits scheduled. If all goes well we'll meet them again at RoVer's Roost in Casa Grande late October or so.
The Elks Lodge will only allow one week stays unless the campground isn't full. As of right now there are several vacant spots so we're hoping that we'll be allowed to extend our stay another few days. If not, we'll continue on tomorrow. If we can extend we'll probably mosey on mid week.
Plans are not at all firm. We need to be in Westcentral New Mexico mid month September. Between here and there we don't have any firm plans, altho we're thinking about spending some time in the Denver area. We'll see...