Devils Tower to Custer

25. Apr, 2016

MONDAY 09-06-08 

Today was an ideal day to get some chores done. The sun was shining in a clear blue sky and there was a bit of a breeze. I did some hand washing, The Chef washed the floor mats, and we both had a good spring clean of the RV. Afterwards we listed all of the remaining food that we were carrying in lockers, fridge and freezer. From this information we could establish what if anything we needed to buy on the way south in order that we arrive at Alvarado with everything empty. 

We then went around the RV making up a comprehensive list of all the snagging problems so that on our return we could get them dealt with under warranty by Motor Home Specialists the dealer in Alvarado, Texas who we bought the RV from and had great confidence in. 

Very naughtily I lifted the RV’s bonnet for the first time this morning to check the fluid levels. Everything was fine except the engine coolant header tank was down about one inch, so I’ll buy some coolant and top it up. I was pretty impressed, that after thousands of miles of travelling up and down mountains in all kinds of temperatures and weather that’s all it needed, so hats off to Ford. 

Later we popped down in to Custer town itself for a final look around; it’s quite a picturesque kind of place. The Chef photographed the painted buffalo statues which are street furniture for the summer season before being auctioned off, with the proceeds going towards funding the annual buffalo roundup in Custer State Park

LOCATION TONIGHT: Custer’s Gulch RV Park, Custer, South Dakota

25. Apr, 2016
25. Apr, 2016
25. Apr, 2016

SUNDAY 08-06-08 

Today we visited Badlands National Park www.nps.gov/badl.com  and Wounded Knee, www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wounded_Knee_Massacre the site of the massacre of Native American men women & children. We travelled absolutely miles to visit both of them, and both were a disappointment. The site of Wounded Knee wasn’t very obvious, and we had to ask around before locating it. We found a large painted board by the side of the road which pinpointed the site and told the story, and then visited the mass grave of those killed on a small hill above it. That’s all that can be said about it really except that I can’t understand why the cavalry burial party went to all the additional hard work of carrying the bodies of the Indians up to the top of the hill for burial instead of just digging the graves where the bodies lay. Nor can I understand why the Indians ever agreed to a road being built right through their supposedly sacred site. They really could have done something better with that location, both to protect it, and provide jobs for the local Native Americans who have the highest rate of alcohol abuse in the country coupled with one of the shortest life expectancy. 

If only they could get the road re-routed, create an authentic Native American village on the original massacre site and introduce a buffalo herd on the plains. Just think how much tourists would pay to live and sleep in authentic tepees and ride out on horseback with Indian guides to visit the buffalo. As for the Badlands, well they’re not bad enough in my opinion; I don’t know what they were moaning about. There were lush green rolling hills everywhere and it would have been easy to journey around the rocky formations. I see now why they have a speed limit of 45mph around the area – it’s so that if you fall asleep at the wheel through sheer boredom you don’t do yourself too much harm when you crash. It’s been a whole day spent behind the wheel for very little return. 

On the long journey back we passed through the town of Wall and popped in to visit the Wall Drug Store, the largest and most famous in the world. Being a tourist is hard work, and I failed to see the attraction, but out there in the middle of nowhere, I guess a decomposing turd would be exciting. 

This evening’s meal was Spaghetti Bolognese eaten indoors and washed down with lashings of red wine. Whilst sat at the table three deer appeared from the woods behind the RV and passed right by our window. By the time we managed to get the cameras out they’d moved across to the other side of the campground. 

Tomorrow will be spent preparing for the long run south back to Alvarado south of Fort Worth, Texas before flying home on the 22nd. 

LOCATION TONIGHT: Custer’s Gulch RV Park, Custer, South Dakota

25. Apr, 2016

The mass grave at Wounded Knee