June 29, 2017
Day 1 – We drove from STL to Wilson Island State Recreation area in Missouri Valley, Iowa. We were supposed to stay overnight at a Walmart, but we decided to go a bit further and get some nice accommodations. That night, it rained and hailed on us. It was nothing too major though.
Day 2 – We got up early and hit the road. After a while, we decided to take a break, and a rest area was approaching. We stopped and walked around a huge statue of Sacajawea and a small trail around the visitors center there in Chamberlain, SD. And inside there were displays of the Lewis and Clark exploration. Once we were done, Grandpa informed us that we were a day ahead of schedule! So, that night, we booked a reservation at Circle 10 RV campground. It was nice.
Day 3 – The next morning was very busy. We got ready to go and headed to the Badlands. We were staying at Cedar Pass Campground inside the National park. Grandpa pulled into the spot and I helped him get the RV set up. After that, we hiked a few trails, climbed on a few rocks, and relaxed. It was very hot; we came back to the RV and got ready for Wall Drug. I was expecting it to be busy, but not as busy as it was. We ate lunch and shopped around a little. I bought a souvenir while Grandma and Grandpa went home empty handed. We all had decided we wanted some of Wall Drug’s “homemade” pie. I got cherry pie while they shared a huge pecan roll. I tried the pecan roll too, and they were both very good. We decided enough was enough and headed back. When we got back to the RV, right when I got comfortable and was about to take a nap, Grandma comes up with her camera and wants to go on a hike. Grandpa says no and I complied. We got up to the visitors center and saw a bird. She took a few pictures of it. Again, due to the heat, we returned to the RV. I started to look in the bird book they have and found that is probably a Western Medowlark. It was a cool looking bird. I set up my hammock and hung around outside because after the sun went down, the weather was tolerable. We ate dinner at the lodge then went to bed knowing tomorrow was going to be fun. All in all, the Badlands were pretty cool, but we were literally just staring at and standing on rocks. Just saying…
Day 4 – We, once again, got up early and hit the road. We drove around 100 miles to Crooked Creek Campground in the Black Hills National Forest. We, once again, got set up and got ready to go to Mt. Rushmore. I put together my water bottle and backpack and we embarked on a 14 mile ride to see the rock carvings. My first impressions when we got there were: surprised, happy, excited, and in-shock. We took the Presidential trail, which allowed us to take some amazing pictures. We went to the Sculptor’s Studio and heard a ranger presentation on how and why Mt. Rushmore was built. It was very interesting. Once that finished, we had to hike up about 10 flights of stairs. That was ok for me but brutal for the “old people”. After that, I felt like ice cream. Nothing like working to burn 500 calories and just eat them right back in. The ice cream was very good. We shopped a bit in the gift shop and left. Somehow, we managed to spend at least 3 hours staring at rocks, again. We headed back to the RV and Grandma and I started to fix dinner. The dinner consisted of a fillet, black eyed peas, and mashed potatoes with gravy. It was really good.
Day 5 – We got up early and got ready to go. I was informed that we had a 375 mile trek to our next stop, Walmart. This day was pretty uneventful other than having a long drive. One thing to note is that the temperature reached a scorching 102 degrees. Since we were tired from the drive, the heat was horrible, and we had to stay at a Walmart without the slides out, we decided to try to find an RV park. We found one called Yellowstone River RV Resort in Billings, MT. This campground actually made our trip a bit shorter this day by about 25 miles since it was in Billings, not Laurel, MT. It was pretty nice considering it was not a Walmart parking lot. Once we got set up, we went to go to find a place to eat. Grandpa and I decided on Texas Road House. Ironically, our waitress was actually from Park Hills, MO, near Farmington. That’s the second person, on this trip, we have met that is from Missouri! It’s a small country! Once we finished, we went to Walmart to stock up on food for our next excursion (you will have to wait and see what it is…). We got back and got ready for bed. All in all, it was a pretty boring day until we got to Billings, MT.
As Grandma says, stay tuned…