We tried to phone the girls, having at last got access to a phone, but both were out, which was a bitter disappointment - we will keep trying. We set off to Mount Rushmore early and enjoyed the drive up to the memorial sight. It really is a very impressive sight, which we almost missed as we spotted two Mountain Goats by the roadside and we were so involved trying to photograph them that we almost missed our first view of the sculptures. We paid at the entrance kiosk to park the RV and Monty was very impressed that the cashier offered him a treat.
Then we drove in to find a spot to park, which should have been easy, as the place was almost empty. By some strange quirk we ended up driving out of the car park and back to the kiosk, much to the amusement of the attendant and to the delight of Monty, who got another treat. After parking up, we popped into the Café for a quick coffee and after joking with someone in the checkout line ended up having the coffee bought for us, while we entertained a party with stories of our journey. We then took in all the sights and got some great photographs - the site is really well laid out and it is very easy to get some really good photos.
Our journey away from Mount Rushmore took us down the Needles Scenic Highway and we had planned a short detour to take in what were supposed to be some of the best scenes in the area. The early part of the journey took us up some steep and narrow roads and around some very tight switchbacks. It was a bit of a challenge in the RV but we pressed on undeterred. Did we mention the Rules of driving an RV- they are really quite important. Rule Number 1: Never take the RV down a road with restricted width or height. Well we were about to wish we had remembered all these rules as we came upon a tunnel carved out of the Granite, with a width and height restriction of 10 feet by 10 feet - considerably less than the RV! Oh dear, we had a problem
. On such narrow roads there was nowhere to turn, so we had to reverse back down to the last switchback and attempt to turn there. It might not have been too bad trying to reverse an RV on a narrow road, with sheer hundred foot drop on one side and granite cliffs on the other, but matters were made worse by the flow of traffic, coming at us both ways. One kind passerby jumped out of his vehicle with a tape measure only to prove what we already knew - we were too wide and too tall. Chrissy tried to control the traffic and give directions for the RV at the same time, which proved a little challenging for Phil as it was not very clear what each arm signal was actually for. Well the fact that the blog is being written is proof enough that we made it out of that scrape. During all this chaos Monty pretended to be a pile of coats on the backseat of the RV - that means only Phil has not resorted to this tactic in the various scrapes we have got into! We left the Black Hills of Dakota behind, singing as we went and passed through the Badlands and on to the Missouri River. As we travelled along Interstate 90 we passed sign after sign advertising Wall Drug - a store were you could buy seemingly anything and everything and which apparently had the largest number of billboards in the USA - we had to stop and it turned out to be a great place for lunch and a chance to try on a few Cowboy hats and other paraphernalia. Next stop, which was only to fill up with petrol, brought us by chance to the 1880 Town an old town with a great collection of old buildings and artefacts, including a several pieces from the film Dances with Wolves, which was filmed close by. We stayed far longer than we should and had to press on with some haste to make up time. The great prairies were home to Steers, proper western cows, with huge great horns and we went past herd after herd until the land gave way to flatter arable pastures that went on and on for miles.
We got into the campsite just before dark - we had lost an hour as we passed into Central Time Zone. We were tired, but still found time to complete the dobey and write up this blog before hitting the sack.
Ice and a frozen water pipe greeted us this morning. It was a bit of a surprise, because it had been so mild the night before. Our morning routine is now getting quite slick and the movement around the inside of the RV is almost like a ballet - it needs to be because there is so little space all movements need to be well choreographed.