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STOP #211

We arrived at our new campsite just around noon today and found that we had the place all to ourselves. When we bought THE POD three years ago and decided to travel fulltime this is exactly the type of experience we looked forward to.

There are no defined campsite spaces here or camp hosts to answer any questions you might have, but that doesn't mean there are no rules to follow.

Here at Richland Dam Recreation Area there are only two posted rules:
1) No ground fires. Propane and butane stoves are permitted, but no charcoal or open flames.
2) Pack-it-in and pack-it-out. If you create trash while here, take it with you when you leave.

There are no check-in or check-out times to adhere to, however they do have a 14 day stay limit. There is also a new (as of MAY 2020) vault toilet building on site, which is a huge luxury for the tent campers who visit here. They always seem to set up near it for their overnight stay.

My hopes are that as long as visitors continue to simply follow the rules, these places will remain open and FREE to use.

Like I said we arrived here at noon and had the entire place to ourselves. That didn't change until around 6:00PM when two trailers pulled in together and set up camp about 75 yards from where we are set up. That's a solid distance away and perfect boondocking etiquette.

Around 6:30PM a large SUV with roof racks pulled in, but they went straight down to the shoreline of the lake and started fishing.

Around 7:00PM a converted bus and a car came in together and after looking all around decided to park way off in a corner all to themselves, once again perfect boondocking etiquette. We couldn't even see them behind the trees.

Finally around 10:00PM a motorcycle drove through the campground and quietly set up a small tent for the night.

So we ended up with five campsites in this 8-10 acre field and nobody appeared to be crowded. This is not always the case, we have read blogposts where someone has gone to bed in a dispersed campground the same size as this and woke up with a trailer setup no less than 10 feet from their front door.

That's the downside when there are no designated campsites. They were perfectly within their rights to park so close, just extremely poor etiquette.

SATURDAY - As promised I went walking with Tricia this morning, not at 5:45AM like she does during the week, today it was at a more tolerable time of 8:30AM.

We walked around to the back side of Richland Lake on a not so well worn footpath over the earthen dam that helped create the lake. From there we got a new perspective on our campsite and surroundings.

We only walked about 3/4 mile in total but it was enough to stretch our legs and see something new. Just before returning to THE POD we got this perspective on our campsite and I thought we would share it with you also.

We've been here for two full days now and we finally once again have the place all to ourselves.

I decided today would be a good day to fly ROVER II (my DJI drone) and take some aerial photos. I'm 99.9% sure drones are permitted here, but wouldn't you know it, the minute I got the drone out and was making preparations to launch it, a Forest Service truck drove into the campground for the first time since we arrived.

I waved and he just drove on by and a few minutes later he left. Anyway here are a couple of shots from today's flight.

Our campsite on the southern edge of the campground.

The vault toilet building is on the opposite end of the campground.

SUNDAY - Things were rockin' & rollin' in THE POD for several hours last night!

The reason is probably not what you're thinkin'. Around 10:00PM a storm blew through and the winds were gusting to 47MPH according to my anemometer.

We prepared for the storm by putting away all the awnings and closing all the windows for the night. The winds were hitting THE POD broadside which made it feel much worse than it actually was. By midnight it was all but over and we fell back asleep.

At 7:00AM we awoke to some still angry looking skies and a forecast of more light rain and winds of 25MPH, but nothing like what we experienced last night. The good news is it should all be gone by early afternoon and the high temperature forecast today is only 81°F.

This will be our coolest day since Memorial Day and we are also expecting the same for tomorrow, when we pack up to leave for a new destination.

Sunset on our final night at Richland Dam Recreation Area near Pierre, SD

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