RV Log Page # 0039
Wednesday - May 19, 2010
204 miles today.
Copyright - leDragonfly - All Rights Reserved
Approx. 7104 miles thus far.
Approx. 2296 miles to go.
We departed Medora at 7:30 this morning trying to get going before the winds picked up. It worked for a while and then, as we turned onto US 85 South from I-94 East, we were right into gusting headwinds. Our mileage suffered considerably, to say the least. I figure we got about 6.5 mpg for the day. The highway was fairly nice with long rolling hills, up and down, with straightaways that went on forever. We'd clear one hill we had seen in the far distance and the road continued on straight to the next hill miles ahead. Also, we gained another 1,600 feet elevation!
We caught sight of a few Pronghorn Antelope along the way and also a few domesticated (future food!) bison within fenced range areas.
We arrived at the Elkhorn Ridge RV Park just south of Spearfish, SD at around 12:15 and checked in. This is a fairly new park and it is pretty nice. The season hasn't started here yet so the park is sparcely populated. We did manage to grab a spot right next to the restroom and showers which are about the best I've (Bob) seen thus far on our trip. They are unisex units (knock first - or not!) and are spacious and VERY clean!
The weather, which was warm and windy coming down has changed and it is cooling off, with thundershowers predicted. We'll probably just hunker down for the night. Shirlee just made up some chicken and red bell peppers on toasted English Muffin bread (a parting gift from Shirlee's dad) and they smell great. Back to this log later!
Thursday - May 20, 2010
A bright light woke us up this morning and guess what? . . . It was the sun! The wind was a bit breezy but doable, so I unloaded der bike and we were off. Our first stop was to be Sturgis, SD, home to the well known biker rally in August of every year. No such goings on this time of year . . . just a sleepy town, still with lots of stores open selling bike stuff . . . just like we like it.
We didn't stay long and we headed back across the freeway (I-90) to the equally infamous town of Deadwood, SD, where Wild Bill Hickock met his end. We didn't stay there long either, but we'll return tomorrow.
Continuing on, we traveled up the road to Lead, SD (pronounced leed) and the start of a beautiful ride on a very curvy blacktop road called Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway, through some gorgeous scenery. There were still some patches of snow along the way and it got fairly cool up on top at an elevation of 5,300 feet, a 2,000 foot climb from the beginning.
Down at the bottom on the other side we pulled in to the Spearfish Chophouse & Whiskey Bar for a bite. Just one more place we've been with GREAT food! Shirlee suggested we return tomorrow for supper. I heartily concurred.
We returned to camp fairly early in the day with not much else planned for the day so, know we were done with 'Belle' here, I went ahead and loaded her back up in the 5th wheel.
We've got a 'Monumental' day tomorrow so we'll just take it easy the rest of the day.
Make sure you revisit Photo Page 'P' for a couple of late pictures!
Friday - May 21, 2010
It rained and blew last night after going to bed. It's cloudy and drizzly this morning, but we plan on visiting places that we had made preparations for earlier.
It's been a great day here. The weather cooperated fairly well, at least until the late afternoon when the skies, literally opened up - a real gully washer!
Our first stop was at the Mt. Rushmore Monument, after driving many miles on nice roads and beautiful scenery obscurred by huge roadsigns advertising all things under the sun! Talk about commercialization ugliness! We then arrived at the entrance where we had to pay $10 to park at the concessionaire run parking lot - the only place to park in the area! It didn't cost anything to enter the Monument. It kinda 'burned' us a little. The 'seeing' was poor at best due to low clouds obscurring the faces of the Monument most of the time. I was able to get one great picture. Be sure to check it out on the 'Photos' page!
At one point in our walk at the base of the Monument the clouds had again rolled in and we were in a group we had been walking with when I spied a Mountain Goat ambling down the rocks about 150 feet away! I called out, "see the Mountain Goat!" Man, the cameras really started clicking then. Soon after another goat came into view. They were foraging on new leaves of what appeared to be birch trees. They are spectacular and bigger than I had imagined. We continued on down the very nice pathway and reached the bottom where the sculptor's studio was and off at the end of a parking lot, about 300 feet away, was another Mountain Goat! Shirlee, brazen as she can be, walked on down to get a better look, trying to keep vehicles between her and the, now two, goats, as she crept up to them. As she disappeared from sight I thought that I had better check up on her situation and I also quietly crept up until I saw her standing about 20 feet from the big goat, probably a male. He had longer and thicker horns than the other, which was also a tad bit smaller, and I would guess it was a female. They both had tags in their ears and what looked like radio collars around their necks so they were probably used to the presence of people trying to sneak up on them. Still being wild and unpredictable animals, Shirlee said later that she had kept an escape route to under a vehicle should things have turned ugly. A wise woman that wife of mine!
After a visit to the gift shop at the Vistor's Center to get, amongst other things, a decal, we departed for the Crazy Horse Monument, about 20 miles down the road. As we made the turn off the main road to the Monument you could see it very clearly, not obstructed by any clouds. What we could also see were four ticket booths ahead. We pulled up to the first available booth and were informed that the cost was $10 per person. We had discussed this very thing when enroute and had decided that we would pass if there was a high admission price, which we thought it was. Anyway I told the 'Gate Keeper' that we were short of monies and he directed us straight down the hill toward the Monument where, at the bottom, we could turn around. Hey . . . my phone camera was getting quite a workout going down the hill. At seeing the Monument for the second time in about 25 years, I could not readily see what progress had been made in my absence. Shirlee stated that she wasn't that interested anyway, so it was an easy decision to turn around and head for Deadwood, about 35 miles away.
After our arrival in town we parked the truck and walked to Main St., where all of the old town structures were, or would have been had not Deadwood suffered at least three 'city engulfing' fires in it's history. Still there were many older interesting buildings and places there to see, such as where Wild Bill was assassinated, and another where Wild Bill's assassin was shot, and so on.
What we were trying to find was a place to have something to drink that didn't smell terribly of old cigarette smoke. Every place we looked had slot machines and more, with people smoking away, trying for the big jackpot. Finally finding a place tolerable, we had a couple of beers and an order of wings to split while we conversed with the not too busy, friendly bar keeper.
Leaving Deadwood for the last time we aimed the truck back to the Scenic Byway we had traveled yesterday to see it again and then a stop at the place where we had dined yesterday, again! Their food really is that good!
On the way back to camp we topped off the diesel tank with $2.90 per gallon fuel at a station we had noticed before. We certainly hope this is a trend in our fuel prices!
Now back at camp we are experiencing quite a deluge, with lightning and thunder, now and for the last hour. Hope we don't have to build an Ark! There's already enough to do just getting ready to leave tomorrow morning.