What can I say about the weather in South Dakota? Not much. It was less than optimal for our entire 5 days here. When you hear on the news that they are having unusually cool weather for June you know you are in trouble. Especially when you aren't fond of cool weather to begin with. When we pulled in to town it was sunny and in the 70's. OK not so bad. But then the next morning it was in the 40's and raining. Jim really wanted to do a hike to the top of the Crazy Horse Monument. They only allow you to go all the way to the top once a year and we just happened So we drove over there. It was only 1 mile away. When we got there is was very cold and damp. So Jim did the hike and Beau and I hung out in the van. The brochure said it would take 2 to 4 hours to complete. Jim was back in an hour and a half. What can I say? I knew he was good. So then we drove around town for a little bit and the sun started to come out. We took a little walk with Beau and looked for a dinner spot. We also stopped and got some provisions for the room. But by the time we came out of the restaurant from eating it was raining again. Sunshine didn't last long.
The next day when we got up it was still raining. So we decided to check out Bear Country USA. It's a drive through park with wildlife. There were elk, reindeer, wolves, sheep, bears, lots of bears and a few buffalo. The brochure said to stay in your cage with the doors closed and the windows up. The animals run free. I have to admit that when we were in the section with the reindeer and elk I did roll down the window to get pictures. But when we were in the bear section the windows stayed up. You can tell I was a good do-bee by the rain drops in some of the pictures. Those bears were big. We even saw one bear try to get into the back of a pick up truck a few cars a head of us. And he didn't want to get down when the truck started moving either. I wonder what was in the back of that truck. That was a good attraction for a rainy day.
The next day when we got up it was still a little chilly but no rain and no fog. I forgot to mention all the fog that comes along with the rain. So we were up bright and early and off to Mount Rushmore. It was a great day. No fog and you could see the mountain easily. We did the entire 1 mile hike around the monument. It was really amazing. And then on the way back to the hotel we did the scenic drive through Custer State Park. There were signs that said road was narrow and twisty and they weren't kidding. Some of the turns were quite sharp. And then they had these one lane tunnels you had to go through. You have to beep your horn before you go through to make sure no one is coming the other way. But there was plenty of wild life wandering around. We saw wild donkeys that are obviously used to being fed because they would walk right up to your car and if you weren't giving them food then they just moved on to the next car. We also saw herds of wild buffalo and lots of babies too. So there will be buffalo around for a while.
Another interesting thing we saw there were tons of Army vehicles. And a sign that said Army operations in progress. We found out from one of the rangers that the Army does training maneuvers there the first two weeks in June every year. Fun.
Today was another rainy day. We did a 1 mile hike up the side of one of the hills in town and then just hung out for the day. I did make a new bracelet today. So it was a productive and fun day even if the weather was crummy.
Tomorrow we head out again. I think we are going to try and see the Devil's Tower on our way to our next destination. Beau is hanging in there and seems to be having a good time. He is a real trooper in the van when we are at restaurants or sight seeing. We usually don't leave him for long and the weather has been cool enough that we don't have to worry about him over heating. We found a pet day care online that we thought we could leave him at but when we went to look at it we didn't like it. It was all out door cages and I didn't think he would like it there. So we just did what we could with him and it worked out fine.
Tomorrow we hit the open road again. We will be still be heading west toward the coast.