We enjoyed it so much we went back to get another night but it was Friday and the whole campground was reserved by the gamblers for the weekend so we rapidly filled the water tank, dumped the other tanks and headed West for South Dakota.
We enjoy running around South Dakota. Much of the western side is taken up with the Black Hills, famous for Custer State Park, Mount Rushmore, Deadwood, Spearfish and the Crazy Horse Monument. All of which we have visited.
The Eastern and Central part is for the most part farmland with miles and miles of corn, sunflowers, soy beans, cattle and horses. The Lakota tribal land are there also.
This area was what were called “The Prairies” when the settlers came thru. Thousands of square miles of grassland on which vast herds of Buffalo grazed and on which the Native Americans depended.
Laura Ingals Wilding wrote the famous books upon which the TV series “Little House on the Prairie” was based. Our first stop once back in South Dakota was to a small town, De Smet.
|No luxury houses on the Prairies|
|The barns were pretty fancy though|
|And the barn dwellers.|
De Smet is the home of the Laura Ingalls Wilding Pageant so I suppose they lead the field in Homesteads!
|You get to tour the area in a covered wagon|
|And with a little help you can drive the wagon,|
Of course none of the buildings at the homestead are original as the farm changed hands over the years. They are “representational” and offer a peek into the life of a prairie farm in the 1850’s. Today it is a quaint place to visit but back then it must have been a tough place in the middle of the harsh winter.
|The church was moved here complete|
|There is even a garage|
Some campgrounds belong to the US Government. National Parks, Forestry Service, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Army Corps of Engineers (COE). They can be found using the Recreation.gov website and reservations are made there too. We like them because we have the Senior Pass for getting into all National Parks free. A bonus is 50% off the cost of camping in their campgrounds.
So near Fort Thompson SD for $9 a night we got 50 amp electricity, a faucet for water (Which we were not allowed to stay attached too except for filling our tank) and a dump station on the way out.
Like most COE parks this was adjacent to a dam, the Big Bend Dam in this case. It was very well kept and extremely peaceful.
|St Josephs Indian School|
Exploring the local area we stumbled across the Akta Lacota Museum and St Josephs Indian School. We spent a morning wandering around the school museum, tribal cultural center, medicine garden and the nearby town of Chamberlain.
|In the Museum|
Sheri had mentioned that she loves reading the blog and seeing how we bump into people we know just here there and everywhere. Right here in Rapid City we saw that Ralph and Crystal who we know from our Motorcycle days in San Diego and who have just celebrated their 2nd anniversary of full timing where in town. Naturally a meet up was planned.
Then there was a message from Bob and Carol who we know from Sundance in Casa Grande. They were going to be in Rapid City too. How good was that?
And suddenly we were 6 for dinner at the Lodge and it was Prime Rib night. Everyone just got along great and the evening just flew by.
When we first started our full time adventures we had dreamed of sitting talking to fellow full timers and our dreams came true right here at this Lodge. How apt then to be back after 5 years and have a repeat performance! We met a very nice couple Austin and Leigh who are Full Timers, Escapees and Bloggers. www.boundingaround.com and we spent a great evening swapping places to go and campgrounds to stay at.
Our reason for being back in Rapid City of course was to renew our drivers licenses which expired earlier this year. South Dakota kindly extended them a year but we hope to be in UK next year when they will be due for renewal.
Anyway our appointment finally came around and in about 10 minutes we both had shiny new licenses in hand,
Immediately the dreaded “Hitch Itch” kicked in and we both wanted to move on. We squeezed in a visit with Ralph and Crystal, with a dinner out, then sketched in a route back to Casa Grande.
We are on the road again, as the old song goes.