Mitchell, SD to Wall, SD June 2014

Saturday, June 14, 2014 Well, we survived Friday the 13th and a full moon without any problems. Early this morning about 3:30 a storm blew in and it rained HARD! There were large drops that almost sounded like hail, but it wasn’t. You could hear it coming from a long way off, the thunder in the distance. It rained for quite awhile and soaked everything. Later on yesterday, the campsite next to us was finally occupied by a woman and her 2 teenage kids from Stuart, FL. What are the chances? More storms were expected later this afternoon, so we got an early start and left the campground at 8:40. It was partly cloudy, windy, and 70. Once on the highway, the road continued to be flat and straight with views going on for miles and miles. We made a pit stop at the Welcome Center at the Missouri River.

We took the short walk to the overlook where we could see the river and the bridges that cross it.

Once we crossed the river, we saw a few more hills off in the distance.

Some dark clouds were dropping bands of rain out ahead of us, but we only got a few drops on us.

I started keeping track of the license plates on the RVs to see if I could collect all of the 50 states. It made time go by faster. We had to drive 17 miles on a two-lane highway that was under construction. This picture gives meaning to the song lyrics “ribbon of highway”.

The further west we went, the darker and more ominous it got. We saw lightning off in the distance. Our GPS in the truck gave us a severe weather warning. Now I was getting a little nervous. I really wanted to be off of this two-lane road before the rain began.

Luckily, construction ended before the drops began to fall. Suddenly, the wind switched, it started to rain in sheets, the temp dropped to 56 degrees, and visibility went to zero. As the next exit appeared, we decided we needed to get off. NOW! We took cover at a gas station with many other RVs, trucks, and buses. The storm passed quickly and we were on our way in 15 minutes.

(Gas is pretty cheap in SD ($3.49-3.79). Indiana has been the most expensive so far and their roads were the worst.) The wind was blowing so strongly in a crosswind that part of the skirting on the trailer came loose. We had to stop to do a quick repair. Thank goodness for duct tape! That should hold it until we can get to the campground and Bob can fix it. I caught a glimpse of the Badlands off in the distance about 40 miles east of Wall, SD.

As we got closer to our destination, our excitement grew and the scenery became more spectacular.

We arrived in Sleepy Hollow Campground in Wall, SD at 12:45 (MST) gaining an hour which helped a lot.

We set up camp and Bob drove into town to the hardware store to get some parts to fix the trailer. When he got back, he said that there was a rodeo going on in town. Before he said another word, I was dressed and ready to go. We drove over to the rodeo grounds and in parking, proceeded to get stuck in the mud. It was one giant mudhole! Bob caught the attention of a cowgirl driving a big pickup truck and said, ” Hey darlin’, could you help me pull my truck out of the mud?” She replied, “Got you covered.” She was more than happy to assist, hooked up the chain, and in no time the truck was free of the mudhole. Unbelievable! After that episode, we decided to go back to the camper to change our sandals for our hiking boots. Those would be much better in the muddy fairgrounds and we would look less like hicks from Florida. We were back to the rodeo in a few minutes, and found a seat in the bleachers to watch the 4-H rodeo competition.

There were some very talented riders doing some pole bending (figure 8 racing around poles), calf roping, and bronco riding.

These were grade school and high school kids doing all the riding with their parents cheering them on. Just like soccer parents, but only with horseback riding. It was a great orientation to being in South Dakota and a super way to spend the afternoon. We had a great time and the sun finally came out to lift our spirits. Afterwards, we did the obligatory stop at Wall Drugs to check out what’s new.

There was a lot of tourist stuff to look through and of course, I had to pose with the local cowpoke. Handsome, isn’t he?

Bob had to pose with the dancehall girl! She was a babe!

We got back to the campground and relaxed a little before dinner. The sky got cloudy and it looked like rain again, but nothing came. We had chicken on the grill and took Auggie to the dog park in the campground after supper. He loves running around free and he had two great playmates! They chased each other around until they were all out of breath. 

It will be a nice evening if the storms stay away. Tomorrow we’ll do the Badlands! Can’t wait!

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