Wednesday, May 4th, we spent with our good friends Mark & Sharon at their new digs. We met their bosses Doyle and Ty, nice people, they both wanted to know if we wanted a job for the summer. We graciously said no our summer is all planned out at this time. Doyle told us about a campground where they needed so we went looking for the campground. It was about fifteen miles south of Hill City and up in the high country, there was snow on the ground, and it seemed to me because it was so far out in the boonies they would have to pump sunshine to you. It was beautiful country but I don’t believe I would want to be so far from town.
Later we went back to their camper and had hot dogs and talked. Mark & Sharon have a great site, they are working for a federal park management company. Sharon will clean and stock the outhouses a couple times a day and Mark is on the mowing crew. They receive a wage and a free campsite with full hook ups. It isn’t a bad gig, I may want something like this a couple years from now.
Thursday and Friday Sarah had me out walking several times a day. Rapid City has a great park system and since there was one close to the park we would walk around it.
Friday afternoon Marie’s brother, sister and families arrived. They had rented the five bedroom lodge which was part of the campground. Daniel, Marie and kids and Marie’s mom and dad, Eddie and Elia, arrived around six. We visited while they all got settled into their new home for the next few days. David and Michelle, Marie’s sister and husband, went to the store for some groceries and to get dinner. We had lasagna and salad, very good meal. We all shared in the cost of the meals and each family was to prepare dinner on a given night.
Saturday we left about nine-thirty for Bear Country USA. This is a drive through park where the animals roam free. They had artic wolves, badger, beaver, big horn sheep, black bears, bobcat, buffalo, Canadian Lynx, coyote, elk, grizzly bear, mountain lion, porcupine, raccoon, red fox, reindeer, river otter, rocky mt. goat, striped skunk and timber wolf. All of the animals were out and about so we did see all of them. It was a very interesting ride and worth the price of admission. At the end of drive the last gate was guarded by two bears pacing back and forth in front of the exit, It was as if they were trained to do that and they were very good at it. We waited for an opening and drove through it. As usual the gift shop was at the exit and the area for the babies.
After Bear Country it was off to Mt. Rushmore. This is one of my favorite destinations. Every time I visit I marvel at the ability of someone being able to accomplish this feat.
We had a picnic lunch while at Mt Rushmore. Now the park does not have a designated area to eat in you are welcome to picnic in any of the public areas.
We also walked the trail going under the faces, this gives you a different perspective of the monument. I don’t remember how far the trail goes but the several hundred steps to get back to the visitor’s center were enough to do me in. If you are looking for a vacation destination I strongly suggest Mt Rushmore.
The rest of the day we spent in the park and the surrounding area.
Sunday night we went to the Olive Garden for mother’s day dinner. Good food and great companions made for a great time.
Monday, Daniel, Marie, Emily, Isabel, Eli, Sarah and I went to Old McDonalds Farm about eleven so the kids could see the animals. This was a very nice place the kids got to pet the calves, goats, horses, sheep and all the other animals. The kids feed a few of the animals.
After the farm we headed for the Reptile Garden, now this was a very interesting place. The first thing we did was go to the snake show. Now I DON’T like snakes but I was impressed with the guy who gave the talk. He had a python, cobra, rattlesnake among others.
They also had three tortoises over a hundred twenty years old. They also had one of the crocodiles from a James Bond movie and a crocodile from Australia which was over 18 foot long, it was huge.
Tuesday, all to soon it was time for everyone to leave. Sarah and I were there to see everyone off and wish them safe travels. We really enjoyed being with everyone and hope they enjoyed their time in Rapid City as much as we did.
Tuesday afternoon Sarah and I went out to Mark & Sharon’s to see them before we left, it may be a couple of years before we see them again. We had dinner and visited and then it was time to say so long for now.
We left this morning and are now sitting in R&R Campground in Mitchell, SD. This park is quite close to interstate 90 but the noise is not too bad. Also, the RR tracks are about 250 feet from our campsite but again I like trains and so they don’t bother me. Actually, we have been here for five hours and only one train has gone by so I don’t believe it is a very busy track.
We will spend the next five days here seeing what is here and visiting with niece Amy and family.
Dreams Do Come True.