Saturday, September 8, 2012

To the Black Hills

We made it to the Black Hills safely, the motorhome has not completely flooded yet and the scenery is lovely. Locals say it's ugly and dry because of the drought but to us it looks like a nice wet year in California. The only downside is that the bark beetle has reached this area and there are large swaths of forest land showing its adverse effects.

Flaming Gorge
After we left Dinosaur, we spent one night in Flaming Gorge and had an evening drive through the area which convinced us it might be worth going back to when we had a little more time to spend. Then it was on to Casper Wyoming. Our special RV GPS wanted to route us 200 miles out of the way to avoid US 287. We weren't sure whether it was too steep or possibly had a low bridge along the way but we couldn't find any warnings about this road on the Internet and it made a three or four hour difference in driving time so we decided to risk it and ignore the GPS. And the road was fine. Fairly flat, four lanes much of the way, no steep hills, it was a breeze and got us into Casper in the mid-afternoon. This whole area is hundreds of miles of prairie land and not much else. We had a very nice dinner at a brew pub in Casper and left the next morning. And that was about the right amount of time to spend in Casper.

 Roughlock Falls
The following day brought us to Deadwood, South Dakota, site of the 1870s gold strike and the final resting place of Wild Bill Hickok. The gold ran out about a century back and I gather the place had pretty much hit the doldrums until the state authorized limited gambling in 1989. I'm not sure exactly what the "limited" part means since every building in town seems to be stuffed full of slot machines. Anyway, part of the deal was that a certain percentage of the gambling profits had to be used for historical restoration, so the town is really spiffed up in a gambling, touristy sort of way.

We spent the next day looking at real estate. We are thinking of buying a vacation rental in this area with the money we get for our Redlands house both to provide some income and to help establish our bona fides as South Dakota residents for tax purposes. With luck, it might bring in enough income to cover the cost of our camping fees and RV insurance when we start traveling.
Spearfish, south of Deadwood

Next, we will be spending some time in Rapid City and then on to Badlands National Park and we will keep you all updated.

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