Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Day 5

Once again we woke up and were amazed how beautiful it was where we ended up.

Sheridan Lake was lovely!


Of course, you just pour it in a porous chunk of wood, break of the chunk of wood and use it in the stove.   How else would you dispose of hot bacon grease in the middle of the forest?   :)  That's my brother!

And pancakes.  Boom!
Joshua packing up the tipi

Me loving my wool socks!
Feeding the restless natives

Gathering fuel for the the dinner fire.  How's that for thinking ahead!

The stove fire built and ready to be packed, then pulled out at a moments notice and lit!
Then we hit the road again.  This is the lake we were camped by:
They do that out here too.

Harney Peak.  Highest point in the Black Hills.
Proof I've been there.

These rocks were really sparkly!  And the sparkles flaked off, sort of shredded, and felt like plastic.  Very interesting.

We took a Highway 87 up toward Needles Highway that had wonderful views and a tunnel!  They wanted $15 to drive through Sylvan Lake to Needles Highway, so we turned around and I got to take pictures of the other side of the road!

Some poor guy got his camper all the way up this mountain, around all the hairpin switchbacks and then couldn't fit through the tunnel.

They wanted $28 here at Crazy Horse, so we skipped it.
 We headed south to Hot Springs, SD, drove through the Wind Cave National Park with its miles and miles of rolling prairie.  The dirt around the prairie dog holes was red.
More bisons!
Hot Spring is a rather neat little town!  Spent some time talking to the gentleman at the visitor's center.  Got ice, gas, grapefruit for Mom, dog food, and stopped at the HeartSong Quilt Shop.  Very beautiful fabric selection in there.  Made me sad that I, as a habit, refuse to spend more than  $6 a yard on anything.

We decided to camp at Angostura State Recreation Area.  They have an odd reservation system.  You wander around, find a campsite, and then call the number to check if its available and pay over the phone.  The problem is we liked all the reserved campsites.  Lots of phone calls later, we found a nice site, near the lake, in the Horsehead Campground.  Jeremiah mumbled about the "shanty town" (summer homes) behind us on the hill, but it was close to the lake, faced east and had nice shade.  It has been in the 90's and I'd determined to stop at the first thrift store I cam to and buy another short sleeved shirt.  I'd only brought one.  After all, we're headed north, aren't we?


It was a pricey campsite, with electric.  We charged up every electronic device we owned and determined to get our money's worth.  Our sourness over the price quickly changed when we went to the bath/shower house.  Oh my word.  Spotless.  I mean, immaculate.  Not a water stain, hooks everywhere, shelving in the shower stalls, and a hot fire hydrant of a shower.  It was lovely.

We got camp set up and most of dinner made before dark.  We had sausage hash and steamed cabbage.  It was pretty tasty!  We had to restart the stove fire halfway through the cabbage steaming and Jeremiah babied it through.  I really like cooking on it.  It gets hot fast and is fairly easy to manage.  It has a pretty short burn time though, so I've gotten good and having everything ready before it gets lit.  It requires some babysitting early on, but once it gets in the groove it's fantastic!

The tipi is working great!  The liners prevent condensation for getting all over us and our cots and  sleeping bags.  Mom got two solar lights (came free with something somehow) that work great as tent lighting.  They live on the dashboard of the minivan during the day to get charged.

 1,320 miles in.

Day 4

We were up by 7am and gaping at the views.  We started in on the huge stash of granola.

I took a bit of a walk so Emily could run around off leash.  Gathered myself, my thoughts, my feelings, prayed, and took pictures.

This is what I was calling false sunflower.  Is that right?

Because barb wire pictures are so cliche.

Our campsite from the backside.

 This grass was really neat colors ... and sharp.  I got a splinter from walking around in my chaos.  It worked itself in about half an inch.  At first I thought I had a blister, thankfully not.

We were back on the road by 10:30am.  We drove back to the Badlands Park entrance near Cactus Flat so I could have a picture of the sign.  I've taken to sign pictures so I can keep track of where we were at when and what scenery was around what town without having to write it all down.  Where was that picture?  Oh it was between this water tower and that town sign.  :)  It's working pretty slick so far!  Other than that Jeremiah has obligingly slammed on the brakes and even backed up on a few occasions when I hollered "PICTURE"!  We've got our system down and he humors me.

And then we proceeded to explore.  To touch and feel.

Pretty proud of this shot.  Like a movie.

Totally "on leash"

The boy and his dog.

Waxing eloquent ... most of the time.  :)

Selfies with a go pro.  Snort.

We drove the Badlands Loop Road and lunched in one of the valleys.

Lunch spot.  Hot as blazes.

Cloth, collapsible water bowl.  The best road kill ever.
We took Sage Creek Rim Road and various county roads....

Big horned sheep

Pesky varmit.  :)  "Allen!  Allen!  Allen!  Al!"  :P

De Bisons
... which spit us out at Wall, SD.  And, despite cries of filthy tourism, I insisted we go to Wall Drug.  There was one, I repeat one, cool shop in there, on the very south end of the building.

"Take you for a ride ..."
We did our grocery shopping at the Breadroot co-op and Walmart in Rapid City, SD.  So here's a bit of how crazy we are.  Ya'll probably know we're raw milk drinkers.  Well, there is no way I'm tracking down raw milk while road tripping, plus the boys are kinda skeptical of the non-pasteurized stuff.  But they are totally on board with non-homogenized.  So I brought my little plastic half gallon jug.  Because, you know, most of this sacred stuff comes in glass jars with an at least $2 deposit.  So what did I do?  (After I asked permission of course, cause I'm not all rebel.)  I bought my jug of milk, took in out in the parking lot, poured it into my plastic jug, and took the bottle back into the store.  It did feel kinda weird.  But the sweet girl at the checkout had been so kind as to go ahead and credit my bottle return when I checked out.  She was very gracious about the whole thing and had an "of course, why wouldn't you do that" attitude.  Bless her un-awkward self.  That's the great thing about hippie co-ops.

Then we proceeded to the Black Hills!  We followed the GPS to Sheridan Lake South Shore because Pactola and several of our other first choices were closed.  That was kinda scary.  Total blessing in disguise.  Again we arrived well after dark and some extra-gps exploring to actually find the campground.   There was no water or trash facilities, only vault toilets.  I stubbornly stuck to my menu plan for the sake of keeping up with the food I'd bought.  We licked our plates clean and rinsed the cooking dishes in about one cup of our precious water.  The dogs seemed extra thirsty as I watched them tussle over the full nalgene that eventually ended up in their bowl.  We opted not to filter lake water.  Lesson learned.  Fill every available water container at every available time and buy some more water containers.

Still in Rapid.  Walmart parking lot.  Scariest Walmart yet.