25. Apr, 2016

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THURSDAY 05-06-08 

There was more heavy rain overnight and thankfully the RV roof repairs held out just fine.

I had to get up at a reasonable time this morning as Elaine’s husband was giving me a lift downtown to pick up our hire car. On arrival I found that they didn’t sell insurance to go with the car, a 2001 something-or-other silver Stratus. Not the newest car in town but it will do the job for $59 a day for 5 days, and so I put it on the RV insurance policy at their suggestion. I didn’t have the policy details with me so they just said to phone the details through when I got back. 

I returned to the campground and picked up The Chef who had put together a picnic lunch. Then we headed for Custer State Park www.CusterStatePark.info  just down the road, which was one of the reasons we chose this campground. We didn’t need our new annual National & State Park Pass as somebody had generously paid for a 2008 pass for the car and we had the sticker in the windscreen to prove it and so were just waved through. The best photo opportunities we had for wildlife were in fact on the highways prior to entering the main part of the park. We saw bison & deer and in greater numbers than we’d seen in Yellowstone National Park, but once we’d entered the park and joined the ‘Wildlife Loop’ – we saw virtually nothing, and so left the park and went for a look around Keystone, a small town to the northeast. There we found a steam train which runs between Keystone and Hill City www.1880train.com , but we didn’t travel on it as we felt it just couldn’t have topped the Durango to Silverton journey we’d made back in Colorado. We bought a few bits and pieces before returning to the car. 

Mount Rushmore  www.nps.gov/moru (GPS: N43.875216 W103.452361) was just down the road, and although it was raining with a low cloud base we thought we’d take a look to get the lie of the land before a proper visit on a sunny (did he say sunny?) day. We were both surprised at the scale of the sculptures of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt & Lincoln carved out of the mountain. We imagined them to be much larger. I’m not knocking it. It was indeed a fantastic achievement, but they just aren’t as large as we’d imagined them to be and considering it took up to 400 workers 14 years to create, you have to ask how long their lunch breaks were. 

The visibility wasn’t terribly good, and that excuses the fact that we both forgot to bring a camera with us from the car. Not to worry as we are determined to return on a clearer day and photograph it properly. 

We then re-entered Custer State Park. It was still raining and the wildlife had clearly decided to stay somewhere dry. I don’t think we saw a single thing for miles. This was most disappointing as the Park has a reputation for the amount of wildlife available for the public to see. After another disappointing trip in our search for ‘abundant’ wildlife we made our way to the town of Custer where we had a look around. We were lucky enough to find ‘Dakotamart’, a really good local supermarket, which also sold wine and so we topped up our supplies. 

We returned to the campground where The Chef put the final touches to tonight’s slow-cooked meal, whilst I took the laptop down nearer the office for internet connection as the signal at the RV was too weak. We needed a weather forecast for the next few days, and we’ve found that a five-day forecast from accuweather www.accuweather.com is as good as any. Tomorrow looks like the best bet and so we’ll probably take a few photographs of the Crazy Horse Memorial before going on to Deadwood which promises to be an interesting place to visit. 

Tonight is forecast showers, some heavy so that will make a nice change. 

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