Sunday morning we left South Dakota after spending 6 fun days playing, site seeing, boot racing, camping, bison-spotting and prairie dog-watching, swimming, getting dirty, eating camp food, and earning more freckles.
We left Denver last Wednesday with the trailer and our friends in tow. It was probably our most difficult travel day yet, as my phone gave us crazy directions, leading to a 12-point turn with the trailer on a dirt road beside some abandoned train tracks while a storm threatened on the horizon. I literally laid on the ground on the side of the road to watch the bottom of the trailer as Chris masterfully maneuvered our humble rig back in the right direction. When we tried to re-route, our phones gave up...so we turned to our trusty atlas. Only once we got to Hill City, even our atlas failed us.
After a 30 minute stop that could be a post of its own, we finally got directions to our campsite, which lead us through Wind Cave National Park in the Black Hills. It was gorgeous, and there were bison walking on almost every hill that we passed!
We stayed at the Palmer Gultch KOA about 15 minutes from Mount Rushmore, and we can now highly recommend it for family camping. The customer service was great and there was so much to do...from nice pools, a fun water slide, and several playgrounds, to fire truck rides, splash pads, and movie nights. But the best part of camping here was experiencing everything with our friends!
Adam and Brook came with 2 of their kids and their trusted pop-up. Our sites were side-by-side, and we had a perfect grassy hill right behind our campers where the kids ran around and swung in hammocks, laughing (and sometimes fighting), and enjoying some much needed time together.
On Thursday morning Chris drove into Rapid City to visit Black Hills Brazilian Jiujitsu while I took the kids to one of the playgrounds. (No sweet shops that morning unfortunately) The afternoon was filled with swimming and more quality time with our friends. Friday morning we all drove to Mount Rushmore, took some obligatory tourist photos, and then went into town for some pizza. That night our friends Jim and Erin joined us with their 2 kids from Rapid City, adding to the fun! Saturday was filled with more swimming, petting horses, and going to the rodeo, where Kinley participated in the boot race, putting our outdoor shower to the test.
Those 4 awesome nights flew by, and before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye. We loaded up Sunday morning and set out on our longest travel day yet. Over those next 10.5 hours, we visited the Badlands, searched for prairie dogs, and saved our camper from blowing up...(I had to get clothes for Foster out of the camper on a pull over, and smelled leaking propane. Turns out our French press fell out of the cabinet above the stove when we hit a bump and turned the knob to lite. SCARY!!)
We finally ended up at beautiful Pelican Lake Recreation Area in Watertown, SD around dinner time. We had almost the entire campsite to ourselves, right on a beautiful lake with Pelicans flying overhead. And to top it all off, my sweet friend Susan Called us on FaceTime. It was so good to see loving faces from home!
Thanks for the memories South Dakota! Here are some more pictures from our time there...