My hair appointment ended at 9:00 a.m. and Bob was out front of the salon waiting in the 5er. We headed south on US 20 out of Thermopolis through Wind River Canyon.
|Wind River Canyon|
|Two tunnels for cars, one for trains on the right.|
|Coming up on the highway tunnels.|
We saw the Boysen Dam and Boysen Reservoir. That reservoir is huge! Then, as Bob says, "We had to drive through a whole lot of nothing to get to something."
|Scenery after the reservoir--driving through a whole lot of nothing.|
Along the way to The Black Hills there were places we passed where we would like to stop the next time through: (1) viewpoint of Hell's Half Acre in Wyoming on US 20/26; (2) National Historic Trails Interpretive Center in Casper, Wyoming; (3) Ft. Fetterman State Historic Park near Douglas, Wyoming. Of course there are always historic markers along the highway we'd like to read, but towing the 5er makes it a bit more challenging to stop at all of them.
Howard and Linda of RV-Dreams.com recommended Spokane Creek Campground in The Black Hills. It is lovely. When we arrived this afternoon, there was a flock of wild turkeys at one end of the campground. Tonight, when we returned from the night show at Mt. Rushmore (more on that shortly), there were three young white-tailed bucks at the entrance to the campground. Our site backs up to the forest so the view out our back window is of trees. So nice. We don't feel smashed in next to our neighbors and no trees blocked our slide-outs.
We ate our dinner in the 5er, then drove Hwy. 16A to Mt. Rushmore. It was early evening and the white-tailed deer were out. The drive over 16A was gorgeous; however, there were many hairpin turns, four one-lane tunnels, and pig-tail turns with bridges. It was a slow go. We arrived at Mt. Rushmore parking ($11.00) at 7:30 p.m. The evening show started in the huge outdoor amphitheater at 8:00 p.m. Once again, good timing on our part.
At the start of the show, the park ranger talks about the presidents depicted at Mt. Rushmore and she quotes them, along with Ben Franklin, and talked about freedom. We then watched a movie about the presidents and how each of them helped shape our nation.
Twilight turned to night. Bats fluttered about overhead devouring bugs in the spotlights.
At the end of the movie, the presidents' heads on Mt. Rushmore are illuminated and everyone stands to sing the Star-Spangled Banner.
The park ranger then asked all military in the the audience to go to the stage. There were so many that they filled in four rows across the huge stage. She went down the rows and asked each of them to state their name, where they're from and which branch of the service they represent. The rest of the audience gave them a standing ovation.
We plan to go back during the day and watch the movie in the Visitor Center and hike the trails. In planning our trip, it looks like we'll be doing a lot of Scenic Drives to see the beauty of the area. There is a Wildlife Loop Road in Custer State Park, The Needles Highway, Peter Norbeck Scenic Highway, and we want to go up to Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway to see three waterfalls.
We may add another night at this campground because we also want to tour the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site and Badlands National Park. We could probably fit those items into a third day in the area.
Everything is subject to change depending on how our days pan out. We'll keep you posted.