After the discovery of a rotten floor in our popup tent trailer in late June, we made the move to something a little bigger. This Rockwood Roo is a 23 footer with triple queen expandable beds. One drops out each end and the third out the side. This looks like it’ll have enough room for the family without stepping on each other if one needs to turn around.
Our plan was to hit the road sometime around 0500 Saturday morning to get a jump start on the heat. Unfortunately, the old fart (me) hit the snooze button and we didn’t end up leaving until about 0700. This delayed departure wasn’t a bad thing as we were really just planned to fly by the seat of our pants today as we had no reservations for Saturday. I decided to take the scenic route this morning which took us through Volga, SD where I topped off with fuel. We had a discussion on stopping by the Corn Palace in Mitchell or to drive access the Big Bend Dam at Fort Thompson. We ended up stopping at the Dam where we made sandwiches for lunch and took a few pictures.
I made another quick pitstop for fuel in Vivian and then on we pushed to The World Famous Wall Drug. I think the girls enjoyed themselves though I’m not sure if the boys would be able to say the same.
I think the kids were happy to have a seat for a few minuets to take a picture.
Oh man! Did I make the kids blush when the Mrs took this picture.
We arrived in Rapid City and fueled at the Flying J truck stop. When I was paying for fuel at the fuel desk I asked if there was a place close that I could park for the night the might have electric hook ups so that I could run the A/C and refrigerator. We were fortunate in that there was such a place just down the service road about a 1/4 mile. This was perfect as we were all tired and didn’t feel like chasing all over looking for a place to stay. After we had checked in I went to move the truck and trailer to the appointed spot. I got a big surprise when I began rolling the truck forward to bring it around to slide into the assigned spot. The front end of our Yukon started making an odd popping sound. I managed to get the trailer parked where I wanted it before anything catastrophic happened. Once we got the trailer all set up I jacked up the front end and pulled the driver side wheel. Unfortunately,I wasn’t able to see anything wrong so I made arrangements to get it in to a shop to be fixed on Sunday morning.
The day started out with our Yukon on a hoist getting checked out. We ended up having to replace a wore out wheel bearing. As bad as that is we’re all glad it held together as long as it did. Breaking down in Rapid City was so much better than being stuck on the roadside somewhere in near 100° heat waiting on a wrecker.
After finishing the repairs we hooked up and made our way down to Keystone and to Kemps Camp where we had previously stayed and had reservations for this trip.
Figured I might as well have my picture with Honest Abe.
After pancakes with bacon and sausage for breakfast we headed out for a little cave exploration at Sitting Bull Crystal Caverns. While this was a great time and something cool to go do I’m not sure that I’m interested in doing it again. Walking down the flights of stairs is one thing, walking up all those steps ia another.
We decided to drive out to Sturgis to have a look around. The kids have heard about the bike rally held each year in Sturgis. It was interesting to see all the shops on the main drag already set up with merchandise for the rally.
Since we were already as far out as Sturgis we decided to drive through Deadwood.
Dinner tonight was at a great 50’s diner in Rapid City called Arnolds.
The kids found a cool rainbow on our way back to Keystone.
Ended the day with a little campfire.
Needles Highway is a fantastic drive filled with switchbacks and spectacular views. At one such vantage point we were offered a great long distance view of Mt. Rushmore.
The wildlife loop at Custer State Park was a nice long drive as always. We saw a herd of Bison, prairie dogs and wild burros. The kids had fun feeding carrots to the burros. That was until the carrot supply ran out and the burros decided to pester the kids. Mr Stud Burro offered the kids a first hand look at the ways of the birds and the bees by having his way with Mrs Burro.
Grilled dogs, watermelon and cucumbers for late dinner after another long day of fun.
Wrapping up the day with a nice little fire wearing my sweatshirt.
After breakfast we headed out for Mount Rushmore.
Early afternoon we had late lunch / early dinner and spent some time in the pool before spending the evening at Rushmore for the Lightning Ceremony.
I setup the DSLR on the tripod before it started getting dark. We neglected to bring the tripod on our last trip out here a few years ago. (Use of a tripod makes a huge difference in low light image quality)
After the Lightning Ceremony we ended the day with another fire and I popped up some jiffy pop on the fire. (Something I don’t recommend without using gloves.)
The youngest wanted to hike the trail up to the base of the Monument this morning. This was something I’d not done before. So, we off we went.
Dinner was at the Firehouse Brewery in Rapid City. This is a stop I highly recommend. (I even got a to enjoy my food this time. On our last trip out I was suffering from a heat injury and didn’t enjoy the food much.)
Our final evening was spent sitting around the fire visiting with a retired couple from Michigan. We ended up around the fire well past the 11 o’clock fire curfew. Oops!
The Final Day Of Vacation
Alarm rang at 0600 of which I snoozed once before hitting the shower. The kids packed what they needed in the truck (read electronic devices, pillows & blankies) while I prepared the camper to move. (read dumped waste water tanks and generally packed up)
The decision was made to run up towards Rapid City and drive through Bear Country USA and then be back before official check out time.
Just East of Rapid City we stopped at The Air and Space Museum at Ellsworth Airforce Base.
And no trip through Mitchell, SD is complete without stopping at The Corn Palace.
Finally arrived home at 0100 with the trailer dropped and everyone fast asleep (for most of em… Again) by 0230.
Thanks for stopping by to share in the adventure of The QBall45 Family Vacation 2013 as seen through the lens of my Samsung Galaxy S3.
Until next time,