The Black Hills 
We left our wonderful parking spot in the grasslands and headed for Mt. Rushmore. The internet was awesome there and that was the only thing we were doing that day (plus we had to pay $10 for parking) so we decided to hang out and work some before walking around the park. I got some great closeups with the zoom lens of each president. I won't post them here though since I already have a lot of other photos. I'll post them on facebook eventually.

After leaving Mt. Rushmore, we found a place to park in the Black Hills. We stopped at the headquarters in Custer for the National Forest and got a map that shows all the land and forest roads, please shows where the private land. We will definitely be trying to get a map like this for any National Forest we plan to spend some time in. It has been invaluable. During our drive down the road, we came upon some horses that were not fenced in. They came up on the road and even surrounded the RV. I got tons of photos and Jenny had a blast petting them.

We found a place and parked. Jenny went out stargazing when it was dark (there was a large meadow close to where we were parked). Not long after she left we heard a couple wolf howls. One was really close by, so Joe yelled out the door and Jenny came back to the RV a bit freaked out.

We left there this morning and headed to Jewel Cave National Park. We went on a guided tour that was very neat. I'll try posting a pic from the cave tour at the next entry. Apparently that is the 2nd largest cave in the US. Mammath Cave being the largest. There is about 170-some or more (now I can't remember exactly) miles of explored cave and by measuring wind volume, they think that is only about 2-10% of the actual cave.

We are now parked in a different part of the Black Hills National Forest and will be heading to the Wind Cave National Park tomorrow.

Phew! Long update.

Our spot in the National Grassland outside of the Badlands.

Mt. Rushmore

The horses.

Our parking spot that night.

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Badlands Day 2 
We left the campground and drove the loop. There were lots of neat pull offs where there were gorgeous views. There was one short, but tough hike. It was only a quarter mile, but it was completely up the side of one of the buttes. There was another trail that kept going up to the very top of one of the peaks, so Joe and I went up there. Very neat view.

We then left the park and decided to find a place in the nearby National Grassland. One road we went down looked like an old railroad grade. It had random prairie dog holes in the middle of the road. We got down the road a ways and there was a huge hole in the middle where the road had caved in. Not deep, but definitely not something to get a tire stuck in. We were debating on crossing only to notice a truck coming up behind us (this was a very one lane road, short but steep slopes on either side). We backed up to the guy and got off to the side enough to let him pass. He had a bunch of bee boxes on the back of his truck that he needed to set up, and they were escaping. . . So, he went past and we went back to the previous rode we were driving on. We eventually found a road to drive down and are now parked in the prairie with a beautiful view. I'll post pics of the view and the RV later. These pics are from the Badlands.


CLICK on any of the photos to make them larger.

The first view of the Badlands when we entered the park.

The high top that Joe and I went to the top of. The second photo is a view from the top down to where the RV was parked.

A very neat area. The rocks were yellow and a magenta color.

Some wildlife we saw during our drive in the Grassland. The left is an American Avocet, the right are Pronghorn Antelope.

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We left the Grassland this morning and are in the Badlands now staying at the campground. The landscape is very neat. There was a nature trail that went through an area with gorgeous cedars. There are very noisy Meadowlarks all around the campground, which is neat, but might get old in the morning. :)
(DISCLAIMER: Stop reading if the thought of legless reptiles bothers you)
On my bathroom once we were in the campground, I came about a foot from stepping on a pretty decent sized snake. I just sidestepped it and kept on my way, then regretted not looking at it more closely since I don't even know if it was a rattler or not. It wasn't startled by my presence at all, which I guess was a good thing. We have been watching where we are walking very carefully now.

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Pierre National Grassland 
Yesterday we went to the Pipestone National Monument. Nothing too exciting, but the trees were neat, and lots of pink rock. :)
We drove a long time yesterday to reach the Pierre National Grassland. This isn't too far from the Badlands. We are going to stay here for the day since it is a holiday weekend and we have great internet. The Grassland is basically like National Forests in the sense that you can basically 'camp' anywhere, except there are no trees. . . Also, it seems people can farm? Weird. The first road we went down and almost parked down was right along farm fields. It was really weird, so we decided to cross 83 (the main highway that runs through the Grassland) and take the more rutted, non-graveled road. We are now parked on top of a hill. We have let Lucy and Curly out to explore. It's pretty windy and they are just hanging out by the RV.

Our parking spot in the Grasslands.

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First Full Day 
We drove until about 10:45pm, until we reached the Rum River State Forest. We drove down a rode and found a parking area, so we stayed there last night. Unfortunately, the kitties were noisy, it rained and we were woken up by mosquitoes, so Joe and I didn't get much sleep. Jenny is apparently a heavy sleeper. :)
We decided to head out since we were afraid that we were letting in tons of bugs. We left at 6:20am. We are currently sitting at Pipestone National Monument while Joe naps. While I was starting to type this, I heard Zoe playing, so I looked over and she was playing with a live mouse.. . . Well, I guess we don't have to worry about that mouse that I saw running around in here before we left that I couldn't get to anymore. Instead of letting her kill it, I brought it out across the road and into the grass. It's definitely nice not having that problem to worry about like we did last time.


Here are photos of each of the kitties during our first night of travel.

Pickles hid in the 'kennel' underneath one of the table's benches. She didn't come out until long after we stopped moving. She's been better today. I took this photo by just sticking the camera in there and hoping to get her.

Zoe decided to hang out down there too most of the time. She now wanders the RV a bit while we are driving. She even comes up to the front meowing. If you pet her, she turns around and heads back. Apparently that was all she wanted.

This was Lucy's favorite spot before, so it looks like she's claimed it again for this trip.

Curly doesn't seem to sure about this whole thing. He lays basically wherever.

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