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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

A New State!

~Saturday, May 28, 2022~

Day 713 (Travel Day)

Beautiful morning. Once again, I’m sad to let such a good campsite go. But how does our Sadie girl feel about moving on, especially when she’s had so much freedom to roam? I’ve always wondered what’s going on in that mind of hers as we’re packing up. Does she want to stay or go? Surely by now, she knows when we’re moving to new digs. And once that car door opens, she seems eager to investigate her new playground…. “can I roam freely or will it be tether time? “will there be fun things for me to chew on?”, “will I meet other 4-legged creatures like me?” (and not just the domesticated kind). But, it must be so confusing for her and exciting at the same time. One thing’s for sure…..she’s a trooper!

After extending our time at Devils Tower by one day, we hoped we dodged the weather heading to the Badlands, SD….Yes!! a new state!. And we’re so grateful we stayed the extra day so we could get to know our new friends Alec and Denise.

We had a few stops prior to getting to our destination today…..a dump station run in Sundance and a WalMart grocery stop in Rapid City. Once again, we had the pleasure of driving the scenic route of Hwy. 14 to get to Sundance, but this time with trailer in tow. Boy, do they have nice rest stop/dump station facilities in Wyoming; plenty of room to maneuver a trailer, and clean.

Between Wyoming and South Dakota, it feels so good to breathe in the majestic beauty and feel the freedom of their unparalleled wide-open spaces. We are relieved to know that not every piece of land is swallowed up by development. Once we crossed into South Dakota via Hwy. 90, we came upon a few towns that looked interesting…..Rapid City, Black Hills and particularly Spearfish. I immediately went on a Google search to see what the median price of a home in Spearfish was….$527,000. Wow!! South Dakota? But, it is ranked #8 out of 100 small towns in the U.S. (population around 11,000), and is incredibly scenic. It actually reminds us a little of North Carolina with the gorgeous rolling hills and trees that dot the landscape. But with its winter temperatures in the ‘teens on average, it will likely not be a contender in terms of a new hometown for us.

In case you’re wondering why we’re headed east when we should be going north toward Alaska, the slight detour was made to avoid the heavy Memorial Day crowds in the popular spots we plan on seeing… i.e. Mt. Rushmore, Custer State Park, Crazy Horse, etc. We think it was a valid concern.

When we arrived to the Nomad View Dispersed Camping area (there are 2 entrances….Nomad and Wyoming-Steer Pasture Overlook), we were met with quite a few rigs, most of them all set up likely from their arrival yesterday, but not as crowded as we expected. In fact there were quite a few vacancies and it was clear that the Badlands Canyon view side vs. the pasture land, was the more popular of the two. We drove our typical journey to the end to see everything that was available, and guess where we landed….at the end!

It pays to drive a few more miles to get the best sites. It is exactly as we pictured it would be…..wide open plains with a canyon full of rugged mountains below. Can’t wait to find out what that’s all about. The afternoon entertainment of high winds,

ever-changing cloud formations and the thunder and lightning made for quite the show. Oh and one more thing……a visit by 3 mountain goats making their way up the rim of the canyon, right in front of our campsite. Luckily we had time to get Sadie inside the trailer to avoid disaster chasing them. For all she thinks, they’re deer. Man, talk about epic views from one place to the next (between Devils Tower and here). So wonderful to be able to see this part of the country for the first time!

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