Sunday, August 02, 2009
Bismarck to Wyoming.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Awoke to a rainy day. Decided to spend another night in the Bismarck area to allow the weather to clear up. In the morning we drove along the river in Bismarck then went across the river to the Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park. The park is known primarily as the headquarters of General George Custer and the 7th Calvary. The cavalry marched out of here on May 17, 1876 to confront the Plains Indians at what turned out to be the Battle of Little Bighorn. Custer encountered Chiefs Sitting Bull of the Uncapaoas & Crazy Horse of the Ogallalas, and four other Chiefs with about 7,000 warriors in total. We toured the very interesting visitor center & museum.
Left about 9:00 am continuing our trek to Suzanne’s house. Saw a sign for the Huff Indian State Historic Site. The mounds you see in the picture are the foundations of the huts the Indians lived in. We drove to Faith, SD and spent the night at the Durkee Lake City Park. You just park anywhere you want around the lake. We found a level spot near the boat ramp and fishing pier. All during the day, people stopped by to fish. This one fellow and his three sons, were catching fish to stock the pond on their ranch. They had a Border Collie. He was a little shy at first, Gopher can be really pushy, but with time they started playing together. Playing with Gopher means you run, I’ll catch you and give you a nip. Most dogs don’t like that game for long.
We got up extra early so we could get to the Black Hills National Forest early enough to get a campsite. It’s Friday plus the start of the huge motorcycle rally in Sturgis. The drive through Sturgis was interesting. Motorcycles everywhere, vendors of all things motorcycle, food stands, on & on. I suspect it would be a fun week for the bikers. The local paper said about 500,000 people would pass through Sturgis this week. We stopped at the first National Forest campground we came too. They had two RV sites available but we weren’t impressed with the campground so decided to continue on and take our chances. Stopped at the Pactola Reservoir Recreation Area. They had sites plus we got one with a great view of the lake. By mid-afternoon the place was full even though it’s an hour from Sturgis. The Internet said the campsites in Sturgis were going for about $70/night with a seven day minimum. That’s expensive camping. I see why people would rather drive the hour. This campground, without our half price discount, is $21/night. The difference would pay for all your other expenses for a day.
We parked by the boat ramp, let Gopher go swimming then had lunch. A beautiful, sunny day. It’s supposed to get cold tonight. The mid-40’s.
On Saturday we drove to the National Forest Visitor Center. They had a nice museum we both enjoyed. Motorcycles are everywhere. Big ones, little ones, some with side cars, some of the trike design. Quite a spectacle. The local paper said the typical Harley rider is a white, middle aged male with 48 being the median age. It’s no longer the stereotypical biker crowd. That’s a problem the Harley Davidson Company is trying to deal with. How to interest the younger crowd, minorities and women in buying a Harley. Seems the younger people prefer the super fast imports to the classic American motorcycle and the larger minority groups just don’t gravitate to motorcycles. They prefer customizing their cars.
As we drove to our next stop, the Angostura Recreation Area west of Hot Springs, we continued to see hundreds of bikes. Did laundry in Hill City. The campgrounds and motels were full for over a hundred miles from Sturgis. Saw a bunch of bison along the road near Custer. The Angostura State Park Campground is nice. We got a site right on the lake. The beach, however, is a mix of mud and stones. Not at all like the beautiful, clear water and sandy bottom of the Pactola Reservoir.