As a full-time RVer I’ve seen my share of state park campground showers.
Sadly, most are old, dirty, and in desperate need of repair.
South Dakota’s #bigsiouxrecreationarea is a nice exception to the trend. While it won’t displace Utah’s Kodachrome State Park from its solid hold atop my #bestcampgroundshower ranking, it’s nice to see Big Sioux campground bring its A-game.
Not all mountain bike rides are “epic”. Some, like today’s are low-key, loads of fun, and also offer the conveneince of a trailhead minutes from your in-laws house.
Three million visitors annually position Mount Rushmore as South Dakota’s top tourist attraction … it’s kinda a big deal around here, even if designated only as a National Memorial.
After paying the $10 parking “donation”, Kelly and filed onto the grounds Saturday night with thousands of others, all of us intent on catching the fading daylight hours and subsequent 9:30pm lighting ceremony.
We arrived about 90 minutes early, which allowed us plenty of time to explore. Similar to nearly every national park, monument, or memorial we’ve visited before, the areas adjacent to the visitor center and gift shop were jam-packed with people. But for those few of us venturing just a few minutes away from that madness, we quickly found ourselves mostly alone, quietly walking the broader memorial grounds.
It’s a shame to come to this place of Americana nationalism and not escape the crowd madness, for the surrounding national forest really is quite nice. There is a path rewarding those who take the time to sneak away multiple, up-close views of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln.
Eventually the sun faded and we were all kept in suspension for the presentation. Predictably, the lighting itself was unnecessarily hokey and a bit underwhelming. As to be expected I suppose.
My bigger compliant dealt with the ice cream shop frustratingly closing well in advance of the lighting ceremony – literally with armed park rangers stopping anyone from attempting to secure a tasty (and I’m guessing overpriced) double scoop waffle cone one minute past the 9pm closing. By contrast, the gift shop remained open until 11pm, providing those who found themselves waiting for the parking structure exiting chaos to diminish, ample shopping opportunity to purchase just about anything nobody actually needs.
The American consumerism culture on full display. I cannot imagine this national memorial would have it any other way.
Summer rain and hail storms here in the Midwest can be something fierce.
This week an afternoon a storm cell quickly snuck-up on me, bringing heavy rains and ferocious winds. Despite my best efforts to hastily retract the (Zip Dee) patio awning, I found myself wrestling with what was effectively a 20 foot sail. While I eventually managed to retract, I did not do so without escaping damage … specifically the ‘claw hook’, which is a piece of connecting support bracket hardware.
Fortunately, the claw hook is seemingly designed to fail under certain circumstances; I suspect this design helps avoid even more significant damage .
A quick internet search pointed me to a parts dealer and within a few minutes I had a replacement part on its way. The part was easy to replace and cost only $21.
Unfortunately, 2-day shipping from Utah set me back $20 dollars.
Pushing west towards Colorado, we are back at our favorite Black Hills campground for the week. Kelly is in San Francisco for the week, so it’s been just Lilly and me the past few days. All is good through – I’ve been fortunate to have great neighbors supplying me with good conversation, they’ve fed me, and they have a big lovable dog that Lilly has completed ignored.
Speaking of Lilly … it seems she too has embarrassingly levels of adoration for this quickly campground – albeit less for its laid-back vibe and surprisingly nice bathrooms. For her, this place is all about the field grasses steps from the camper. Undeterred by aging barbed wire fencing, she is having loads of fun stalking field mice who dare enter her turf.
Fear not mice … Lilly and I are leaving tomorrow; the reign of terror will be ending soon.