Aug. 6 to 7: South Dakota
by Ron Bywaters
We experienced yet another rainstorm overnight and found a rather damp outlook when daylight arrived — we estimate that we have probably had about as much rain as those at home where it is mid winter!
Between showers, we managed to take some photos of three of the tractors at the “Welcome to Chamberlain” sign, but it was difficult to line them up with a lot of early morning traffic appearing on the scene at 7:15. Then we had to drive southeast to reach Route 44 West, crossed the Missouri River again and continued on that route all day.
The countryside changed quite dramatically during the day. The corn, soya beans and wheat gradually petered out while the first sunflowers were seen. Haymaking has been under way on many of the farms with many large bales in evidence. Extremely pretty green hilly countryside made for pleasant traveling, then the stark hills on the horizon made for a real contrast to the driving conditions of the past weeks.
Heavy storm clouds threatened and the sky was alive with lighting, but fortunately the rain band moved off to the north and only occasional showers were experienced during the day.
The second week in August is when the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is held and this event draws many thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts to the Black Hills. Sturgis is just 28 miles north of Rapid City, S.D., and this event would explain why we have seen so many motorcyclists on the roads the past few days and many signs at businesses saying “Welcome Bikers.” The town, which normally only has a population of 7,000, must really buzz during this event.
After a long day’s travel, we were all happy to arrive at the KOA at Badlands/White River, S.D., for an overnight stay before heading up to Rapid City in the morning.
Pancakes were on offer at the KOA park at White River and it proved to be a good start to the day. “All you can eat” for $3 a head — our group did not extend past two each!
After having photos taken, it was time to head to Rapid City.
First stop was at Interior, S.D., just a few miles down the road. This is a very small town but with several interesting old buildings — two old churches, which were very well preserved, and the old jail, only about 10 feet square. The whole place has a real “western” feel and has the backdrop of the magnificent scraggy mountains of the Badlands National Park.
At the present time all the hills around this area are alive with the sound of motorbikes — they continue to stream down every road, either still going to or leaving the Sturgis event, which will finish this Sunday.
A stop for a short break proved to be at an interesting spot — there were holes everywhere and on closer inspection, many were seen to be inhabited by prairie dogs which made a hasty retreat as we approached. They really do yap like dogs, so their name is appropriate, although they bear no resemblance to their canine cousins.
Then, not much farther on, a dinosaur was seen to lurk — one never knows what one will see next!
Ron has been the recipient of a gift: a cap with the words “When I Die, Bury My Ashes at Wal-Mart — So I Know My Wife Will Visit EVERYDAY!” Now isn’t that kind? Then, just down the road Carolyn spied a billboard which she said looked like Ron in his new cap! These people are all heart!
After that frivolity, it was on to Rapid City to the Tee Pee Camping area, very close to the start of the full-day tour of the Black Hills and Badlands, which is planned for Saturday.
See photos and read more on Ron’s website, TransworldTractorTreks.com.