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STOP #210

This morning we were in no big hurry to get on the road. Check in at our next campsite isn't until 4:00PM and we're only about 1-1/2 hours away.

We got up, ate breakfast and began slowly packing things down for the move. I was doing my usual thing of taking care of all the outside stuff like, taking down our cell booster and wind sensor antennas, raising the stabilizer jacks on THE POD, attaching our weight distribution bars to ROVER, closing and securing all the awnings, and finally backing the truck into position to hook up the trailer.

While I'm doing all this Tricia is just as busy inside doing her usual things like finsihing up any dirty dishes, giving the toilet a once over, putting the garbage by the door so I can put it in the dumpster, securing all loose items by placing them on the bed, securing all the cabinets, closing all the windows and blinds and putting together some snacks and drinks for our travel time.

With all that done we waited for 11:00AM to roll around so we could walk over to the 281 Diner and enjoy another cheeseburger, fries and a soda. We were back at the trailer by 11:30AM and finished by hooking up the trailer, unplugging the electric cord, then turning on the power inverter and the refrigerator to run off our solar panels while moving down the road. At exactly noon we were pulling away from our campsite.

Our current ETA is for 1:45PM, but about 15 miles from our Interstate Exit we saw a sign for a Rest Area with a scenic overlook 2 miles ahead and decided to check it out. I knew we were approaching the Missouri River crossing and figured it was worth a stop. We're now sure glad we did!

All of the previous South Dakota Rest Areas we have passed by on Interstate 90 have had a 40 foot tall tipi like structure made out of concrete pillars. With a little research I found out there are nine rest stops with these tipis, all along Interstate 90. The tipi itself wasn't worthy of a special stop just to take a picture, but with a scenic overlook and time to kill, why not?

As we came around a bend in the road, just before the exit ramp for the Rest Area, we saw that this stop was going to be something special. It has all the things a typical South Dakota Rest Area has, a large parking lot, restrooms, vending machines and even the forementioned tipi structure. But this one also has a 50 foot tall, brightly decorated, stainless steel statue, of an America Indian woman spreading a star quilt high above her head and behind her shoulders.

The statue is called "Dignity of Earth & Sky" and you can read all about it at this . Additionally, some amazing and awesome photos can be found at this .

It was a wonderful surprise and we spent 30 minutes looking around the area which pushed our ETA back to 2:15PM.

We finally arrived at the check-in office around 2:30PM and were told that our Campsite #71 may still be occupied and that if it was we could pull into Campsite #40 until our site became available.

We drove by our site and sure enough there was a large fifth wheel trailer, a pickup truck and a boat on a trailer on the site. Additionally there was an electric wheelchair and lots of other items around the picnic table. The slides were still out and there was no outdoor activity to let us believe they were preparing to leave anytime soon. But hey, they still had about 90 minutes left before they were supposed to vacate the site. So we pulled into Handicapped Accessible Site #40, where we had a view of our campsite, and plugged THE POD into the electricity, cranked up the AC and took the refrigerator off of battery power. Then we pulled out our chairs, placed them in the shade, and waited, and waited, and waited.

Around 3:45PM the people on the campsite next to them pulled up in a truck pulling a fishing boat. People piled out of the truck and boat and sure enough one of the men walked into the fifth wheel on our campsite. Fifteen minutes later at 4:00PM there had been no further activity on the site.

At this point I walked back up to the check-in office and told them what I had observed. She was surprized I wasn't already all set up and I asked what she could do about it. She mentioned there were 3 other sites that were available for the three days we had reserved.

I asked which site of the three she thought was the best and she told me the site right next to ours was available. I said, "It's not site #70 is it?". She said yes and I just laughed. She looked at me with that strange look I always get, so I told her, "Those were they people he was out fishing with and they were no closer to leaving than he was."

She immediately got on the phone to call the Park Ranger to ask for help and asked if I would mind taking site #57 on the other side of the campground? I said no problem and left to go setup.

After we were all finally set up on our new site I looked over and saw the two late check-out people leaving. It was exactly 4:48PM when they left the campground, triple towing both a fifth wheel and a boat railer behind each pickup truck. I snuck a peek at their license tags as they went by. Sure enough they were both from South Dakota, probably neighbors in real life, just like at the campground, and I imagine this isn't the first, or the last time, they'll pull this stunt.

About 10 minutes later the camp host came by our site to post our revised check-out card and I asked her what happened when the Ranger approached them. She didn't know and I said they should at the very least have to pay for an extra day or not be permitted to camp here again. She just shrugged her shoulders and said in was beyond her control.

What do you think should be done to deal with
these two fine gentlemen from South Dakota?

Would it have made any difference in your answer if
the campground had instead been completely full?

In the end no harm was done, we actually ended up with a better view than we would have had from the original site. But still, it was very inconsiderate on their part and just mildly inconvenient to us. Not the way we wanted to end our perfectly wonderful day.

Campsite #57 at Left Tailrace COE Park in Fort Thompson, SD

TUESDAY - I thought I would share a few photos Tricia took while out on her early morning walk today.

The clouds in these photos look other worldly to me. I'm kind of wishing that I would have got my butt out of bed and joined her now, but 5:45AM is awful early to be leaving the comfort of my pillow.

All of these photos were taken today between 6:00AM and 6:15AM CT.

At least at this location the temperatures are already in the upper 60s at that time of the morning. Unlike in the afternoon when temperatures reach into the upper 90s and lower 100s.


Morning reflection of the sky off of THE POD.
This is the Left Tailrace waterway after flowing through the dam.
The Big Bend hydroelectic dam on the Missouri River just two hundred yards from our campsite.
The lines carrying away all that power generated by the dam.

WEDNESDAY - Well she's done it again!

I haven't told her yet, she'll have to read it here just like you, but I'm going to start walking with her on weekend mornings and when she doesn't have cell phone service.

In case you didn't know, Tricia talks with friends back home on the phone while walking in the mornings.

Now she'll have no excuse not to walk, except maybe due to bad weather.

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