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WEDNESDAY - To what lengths will they go?... to entertain themselves, and hopefully you too? That is the full question for the day.

Our next BIG destination is due south of this mornings campsite, but we're going to be taking a SLIGHT detour and not arrive there until tommorrow.

The detour involves a 22-mile stretch of gravel road between Montana and South Dakota. There are only two roads that cross this border and they are both gravel. At least the one we took was shorter than the other option.

For the most part the the first 18-miles of gravel road was in pretty good shape, we traveled this section easily at 30MPH.

Once we reached the South Dakota border the road took a drastic turn for the worst. The last 4-miles was potholed and had larger pieces of gravel, we traveled this section at a snails pace of just 15MPH.

Once we passed through the small town of Camp Crook, SD (pop. 60) we were back on asphalt for the next 78-miles and 65-75MPH speed limits, even though we kept it at a gas mileage friendly 55MPH.

Then we saw this sign for our turnoff. An 8-mile side trip off our already detoured route, and 8-miles back of course, how bad could it be?

Turns out all 8-miles, no, let me correct that, 16-miles were going to once again be on gravel.

This stretch of road also had it's own little detour. Seems the culvert under the road was plugged with mud and they were trying to open it back up with a backhoe.

No that's not a two headed sheep! That's Pete and his brother, Repeat.

They were looking at us as if to say, "Hey look at the two lost tourists out here in the middle of nowhere South Dakota!"

Their friends seemed to care less and didn't even give us their attention.

I must admit that upon arriving at the site I was a little underwhelmed. I wasn't expecting much, and that's just what I got, not much.

There was an American flag on a pole and a geodetic survey marker some 25' feet away.

Does this marker pinpoint the exact Center of the Nation? NOPE! Even the literature we read at the Visitor Center in Belle Fourche, SD admits it has a margin of error of about 10-miles.

Let me try to explain how they determined the "center". It's not the geographic center if you draw lines from Maine to Hawaii and then Florida to Alaska and mark that intersection. No, the center is determined by weight. If you cut all the states out of cardboard and placed them where they would appear on a map, then found the "balance point" or "center of gravity" where you would have to stick a pin under it to balance it, that's what they're are considering the geographic center.

It doesn't make much sense to me, but that's how they determined "the center". The center of the Lower 48 is near Lebanon, KS and when Alaska became the 49th state it moved the center 439-miles northwest to near Castle Rock, SD. Since Hawaii is so small in area it only moved the center about 6-miles to twenty miles north of Belle Fourche, SD when it became the 50th state.

Our 360° video while standing at the Center of Our Nation.

That's the location we visited today. We did also visit the Lower 48 center several years ago while we were in Kansas.

Pete and Repeat must have gone and told all the friends about the crazy Florida tourists because we had quite the crowd when we exited the remote site.

When we reached the town of Belle Fourche we explored the "Center of our Nation" Visitor Center and found in the back yard this awesome monument to the location we just visited 20-miles outside of town.

In summary: Are we glad we took the time to visit this remote location? YES
Would we recommend you visit it too? Only if you like this kind of stuff.
Will we ever visit it again? I don't want to use the word never, but probably not.

More importantly, in answer to the question, to what lengths will they go?

Apparently 38-miles of gravel road and a full day out of ours lives is not out of the question.

Tomorrow we'll be heading back into Wyoming for a brief time and visiting our nation's very first National Monument.

We'll also be meeting up with Rod and Sharon again for another short visit. We've now camped with them in Alaska, Arizona, Utah and now Wyoming. They sure do get around too!

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