May 2020 – Onward and Upward towards South Dakota

We headed further up the middle of the country towards South Dakota. The direct route was north on Rte 83 to Highway 90. According to Google maps and signage Rte 83 was closed a few miles south of the highway. The signage didn’t offer any alternative route, so we plotted our own, a b-road that ran parallel.

Unfortunately, this road too was under construction but we took it anyway. 14 miles of dirt/mud road that seemed endless

Its always a bad sign when we can’t see the Jeep in the camera behind even though we know it’s still there.  It wasn’t going to be pretty once we emerged.  We’ve seen so much flood damage from 2019 in this part of the country, lakes where fields once were and flooded roads, so not really surprised we’ve come across roads like these.

We made it through and finally arrived in Fort Pierre, South Dakota, and the lovely Fischer Lily City Park, just south of Pierre, the SD State Capital. There were 10 spots, only 4 occupied, so we paid our $60 which gave us 6 days of camping.

A nice view of the Missouri River which splits Fort Pierre from Pierre (pronounced peer) and once again we have 2 different time zones.

Drove through downtown where even the sculptures wore masks, as usual everything was closed.

Even the statues are wearing masks

The State Capital building in the center of town surrounded by Steamboat Park with its bike and walking trails

The Missouri River, the longest in the US flows from western Montana to St Louis Missouri.

We paid a visit to the local Freightliner as our “check engine “ light had been on for a few months, so hung around waiting for the diagnostic test to be completed. Look at all the mud and dirt we picked up a few days ago

Diagnostics connected

SCR Catalyst failure. It is the big tube above connected to the tail pipe. It is a recall part, so no charge for it.

Unfortunately the part would probably take 10 days to arrive so we decided to have it replaced at their Rapid City location rather than wait. This lack of patience to wait cost us $382.00, as they weren’t replacing the part so we were charged for the test. I don’t understand the decisions we make sometimes, really, we had no future appointments or plans. Why not just stay and wait for the part, nooo,  Ironically, Rapid City ordered the part and it took 1 day to arrive.

Bath time

Ominous sky

It was a 2 hour drive to our next stop just outside Wall SD. The signs for Wall Drug store began after we left Pierre, there had to be at least 50 signs advertising the quite famous landmark., only to get there and find it closed. Wall doesn’t offer much more then a gift shop and grocery store, who wouldn’t let out of staters in, someone had to come out and take our order

We planned to stay at a boondocking spot six miles south of Wall, only a mile away from the entrance to the Badlands National Park and found the perfect spot overlooking the dramatic landscape which housed several flocks of long horn sheep

A few other fellow campers arrived later in the day, but there was room for all. We just had to endure the winds on our bluff, which were strong at times but no one was prepared to give up their beauty spot.

Our views from where we watched the families of sheep, hard to see as they’re  so well camouflaged.

We spent a couple of days driving through this immense park, fortunately our “old geezer” pass gives us free entry and it was mid-week, so not very busy and we don’t think they were collecting any fees at this time anyway.

There’s a 40 mile scenic loop through the park with many overlooks and walking trails

Layers of rock formation, home to bison, bighorn sheep, pronghorns and prairie dogs

The well camouflaged sheep against the rock formations

And here comes the posse

When the first Homesteaders started to farm, the tops of the very steep mesa was where the best grasses were. They would disassemble their ploughs drag them up the mesa then reassemble at the top

The prairie dogs have their own town, made noticeable by the holes everywhere.

Many thousands of years ago the Badlands was the hunting grounds of American Indians

In the early 20th century homesteaders began moving into this area,. They farmed crops and raised cattle. However the Great Dust Bowl of the 1930’s pretty well wiped them out.

The weather is quite harsh here, we’ve experienced heavy rains and sleet and the wind rarely drops below 20-25 mph with gusts to 40 or 50 mph.

An early homesteaders house still standing

One last glimpse of one little sheep family, mother and baby having quiet time just below us

One night we had rainbow’s followed by torrential rain, hail, lightning, gusts +30 mph. and golden sunset.

Time to move on to Rapid City and the next Frieghtliner shop. Patience this time please


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