When It Rains, It Pours

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Dart playing endless ball while we are stuck in the RV waiting for a part in rainy and cold weather.

When it rains it pours both literally and figuratively.

We’ve been experiencing a lot of rain since we entered South Dakota.  I always considered South Dakota a somewhat dry state, so I am a bit surprised.  It rained 2 inches in an hour last night and that was just the beginning.  There was hail.  There were rivers running through the campground.  The fire pit was almost full of water.  The next morning, I saw worms the size of small snakes.

Fortunately, after all the rain in our earlier stops in South Dakota, we went to Cabelas and I bought two types of waterproof foot gear.  I bought Muck Boots and a waterproof pair of hiking boots.  After getting soaking feet in our previous rain encounters, I was ready to do something about it.  Within two days of buying my Muck Boots, they came in handy.  What a muddy mess!!!!

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My favorite new foot purchase. It sure came in handy with our astonishing rainfall in South Dakota.

So, it has rained a lot literally.  Now figuratively, we’ve had our share of problems recently.  From a recent post, you know that the Jeep is at the dealer waiting for a part.  The part was supposed to come in Friday.  Didn’t happen.  I also placed an Amazon Prime order to arrive in the campground guaranteed on Friday.  I paid extra for that even though I’m a Prime member.  Didn’t happen.  In both cases, the tracking information shows the items still sitting in Commerce City, Colorado.

Anyway, that means we are still here.  We woke up to lots of fog.  We decided renting a car and exploring didn’t make any sense since you CAN’T SEE ANYTHING.

During the explosive rain yesterday, the refrigerator stopped working.  Regis spent all morning fixing it.  It’s working now but he is not ready to claim a victory since he bypassed a circuit.  The circuit bypassed is a high temperature sensor to prevent overheating and fire.  I hope we don’t burn up tonight!  At the very least, we won’t be cold.

While we were here, Regis broke a key while opening one of the RV compartments.  We still had the rental car, so I went and had keys made.  Regis spent yesterday morning taking the lock apart to remove the broken key.

I decided that it was a good day to do laundry today.  It’s dreary and we don’t have a car.  When I put my load of wash in the dryer and put my money in, the dryer made horrible noises and the drum didn’t turn.  Argh!  (No worries because the campground gave me my money back.)

Our remote temperature sensor went on the fritz. It says it 69 outside, NO way it’s like 44!

The RV is full of mud.  Three people and one dog in a small environment, mud, mud, mud.   It is way too muddy to walk Dart much so he is stuck with playing lots of ball in the RV.

When we picked up some stuff at Walmart the other day (when we had a rental car) in order to organize the RV, we decided to do grocery shopping later after we got our car.  Now, we have no car and we’re still here.  But, we have potatoes, onions, nuts, and lots of sparkling water.  No fancy meals for the next few days.

Amazon did reimburse me the money I paid to get expedited delivery, but I still don’t have the product.  Let’s see if it shows up by Monday.

 

Jeep Issues

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Badlands National Park looking southeast at sunset.

Yesterday morning, we went through our usual routine to get back on the road.  We made sure everything was locked and secure in the motor home and hooked the Jeep up to the motor home for towing.  Once you do that, it’s my job to make sure the transfer case in the Jeep is put into neutral.  Once you do that, you check to make sure it happened correctly.  For the very first time, I checked and it didn’t happen.  Hmmm.  I was sure I did it correctly.  I tried again.  Didn’t work.  I tried a third time.  Didn’t work.

At this point, I gave up and let Regis take over.  He couldn’t get it to work either.  That means, we couldn’t tow the Jeep.  Our next destination was Deadwood, South Dakota which is north of Rapid City.  But, Rapid City was our best opportunity to find a place to fix the Jeep.  I drove the car and Regis drove the motor home and we stopped in Rapid City.  The Jeep is currently at the dealer and we are waiting for the diagnosis.  We have hatched a couple plans depending on the result.  If we don’t have the Jeep for a few days, we will look into renting a car so we can explore while we are here.  I’ve had time to review some brochures on the area and now want to stay to explore.  This little delay modifies our travel plans between here and Portland.  We have some flexibility in our plans, so once we get feedback from the dealer, we’ll make more specific plans.

On our last evening in the Badlands, we went to the Park to view the sunset over the Black Hills.  You can see the Black Hills from the Park.  The weather was a little nippy but not too cold so it was lovely.  The view was amazing.  The Bighorn Sheep were grazing on the hill behind where we set up to view the sunset.  As the sun went down, it sent shafts of light onto the Badlands.  Oh my gosh, I could do this every night.  It was incredible.

In my last post, I mentioned that the Prairie Dogs can carry the plague.  I feel its important to say that Prairie Dogs are necessary to the health of the ecosystem.  They are a keystone species.  Many animals depend on Prairie Dog populations.  As an example, Burrowing Owls burrow in Prairie Dog holes.  I want to make sure that I didn’t leave a bad impression regarding Prairie Dogs.

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Sunset at Badlands National Park.
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Bighorn Sheep after sunset at Badlands National Park.
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Prairie dogs sitting on their front porch catching the golden rays during sunset at Badlands National Park.

Badland Landscapes

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Badlands National Park

It was foggy and rainy again today.  We set out very early on a ride through the park and could barely see anything in front of us.  We were joking that any animals we would see would have to be on the road in front of us.  As the day wore on, the cloud cover lifted a bit so we got some views.  After the cloud cover lifted and we rode back through the park loop, we were astonished.  The day before the fog obscured everything.  Today, we got to see the scenery and couldn’t believe we drove past is the day before and didn’t see it!  It was a whole new experience even though we were on the same road.

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Badlands National Park
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Badlands National Park
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Badlands National Park
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Badlands National Park
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Badlands National Park

I have a National Geographic Guide to the less traveled places in the National Parks.  We took the road to Sheep Mountain Table.  They don’t recommend the last two miles of the trip if it has rained recently (check) and you have a high clearance four wheel drive vehicle (high clearance?).  The road is 7 miles with the first 5 miles on a relatively decent, if wet, dirt road.  I planned to turn around when we got to the last 2 rugged miles.  What was I thinking?  With Regis at the wheel, that would never happen.  Argh!  I agree we got some astonishing views, but I was petrified that we would be stuck in the mud in the middle of nowhere.  Of course we made it through.  Regis got his fix and Dart wound up in my lap on the return trip because he hated be thrown around in the back of the jeep.

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Look at the mud on the jeep. What a mess!
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Look closely at this female bighorn sheep. Not only is she wearing a radio collar but she appears to be ready to have a baby.
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Two female Bighorn Sheep in Badlands National Park

 

Badlands

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Mule Deer in Badlands National Park.

Dart was in the Badlands National Park in South Dakota.  The Badlands National Park has the largest expanse of protected prairie in the National Park System.  It is partially surrounded by the Buffalo Gap National Grassland that also preserves the prairie.

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Dart is in Badlands National Park (2018-1).

It was a very foggy and sometimes rainy day as we traveled through the park.  There were few visitors.  The higher the elevation, the worse the visibility.  It was eerie.  The badlands formations are very different anyway and when you add the fog to it, it was otherworldly.

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Mule Deer in Badlands National Park.

We saw lots of wildlife.  I was fine with missing out on the scenic views because we saw so much wildlife.  We saw bighorn sheep, mule deer, prairie dogs, meadowlarks, red-winged blackbirds, white pelicans, a coyote, a Canada Goose, and lots of other birds.

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Male Bighorn Sheep in Badlands National Park.
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Female Bighorn Sheep in Badlands National Park with dense fog in the background.
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Mule Deer bounding through the grasses in Badlands National Park.
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Mule Deer in Badlands National Park.
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White Pelicans in Badlands National Park. I think I just saw these guys not to long ago in Florida!

In addition, before the entrance to the park, we saw a cattle round-up.  I’m not kidding.  There were lots of people on horses and they already had all the cattle gathered in a circular enclosure.  There were a bunch of calves in with adults.  Regis thinks they might be preparing to tag the calves.

 

 

Moos

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Dinosaur in Wall, South Dakota.

While we were in Mitchell, South Dakota it rained and rained.  It was also cold enough that we had to turn on the propane heater.  We can’t remember the last time we had to use it.  Fortunately, it worked.

Sometime in the middle of the night, while listening to the rain pounding on the roof, Regis and I were awake at the same time and a conversation similar to the following took place.

Linda:  The burner on the heater sounds weird.

Regis:  Yeah, there is a sound like a cow mooing.

Linda:  That probably is a cow mooing.  Didn’t you see the herd of cows in the field next to the campground?

Regis:  I didn’t notice. (This coming from a man that is usually so observant he could be a spy.)

As the evening wore on, the moo sounds greatly increased.

Regis:  Now I know what it’s like to try to sleep during a cattle drive.

As we headed west on Route 90, the landscape changed significantly after we crossed the Missouri river.  There were much fewer trees.  The billboard signs were smaller and closer to the ground.  During one stretch of road, even the road signs were small and close to the ground.  Is it maybe a bit windy out here?  Alternatively, the billboard signs don’t have to compete with anything else since there are few trees, buildings, or anything else to compete with them.  But, it’s interesting that they are basically sitting on the ground.

Now we are in Wall, South Dakota and it has been raining since we got here.  We think that South Dakota must be getting it’s yearly rainfall while we are here!  I don’t expect we’ll hike in it until the worst is over.  But, we’ll go exploring.  I have been in South Dakota a couple times and it was hot and dry.  It will be interesting to see how different it looks in the fog.

 

 

Corn Palace

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Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota.

We arrived in Mitchell, South Dakota early enough to see the Corn Palace.  Very interesting.  I didn’t realize they change it regularly.  Inside there are pictures of what it has looked like throughout the years.

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Close up look at the corn in the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota.

It’s chilly and windy here.  Apparently, it’s ALWAYS windy here.  Watching the birds fly into the wind is like watching them fly in slow motion.

The little mammal below was hanging out in the grass in front of our campsite.

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Also, we saw this interesting sculpture on our way here.  It was part of a sculpture garden.

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Sculpture along Interstate 90 in South Dakota.