For those of you new here, there are two reasons we're doing it quickly this time around. One, the current strength of the U.S. dollar means that anything we buy in the United States costs 35% more than it should. It will be much cheaper for us in Mexico.
And two, we have tickets to fly from Mexico City to Medellin, Colombia the night of October 29th. So we need to be settled in at Valle de Bravo by the 26th or so...that means we need to cross the border into Mexico around the 19th...two weeks from when we left Canada.
Not great planning on our part, however originally we hadn't planned on flying to Ottawa to visit family and friends, and so that cut 5 days out of our driving time south.
Oh well. So we'll just have to see some of these things that we're bypassing on another trip.
Yesterday morning was a drizzly drive.
A little slow going, with some construction along the way.
Deadwood, South Dakota is a prime example of a place we'd have liked to wander around for a little while. Maybe next time.
This yard was littered with bicycles. I'm sure there's a story here somewhere.
This Black Hills of South Dakota area must be a real zoo in the summertime. Glad we're not here then! It's a real touristy area, and campgrounds are fairly expensive, even the Forest Service ones that only have pit toilets. Some of them are listed as being closed by October 8th, and we thought that maybe that meant they are simply not maintained. But it seems that when they're closed, they actually shut the gate...because we saw a couple of them with the gate closed. No idea why they wouldn't leave them open for the few stragglers like us.
Just about all the services are closed up for the winter. The Visitors Center was closed after Labor Day weekend, and many of the hotels in the touristy town of Keystone are also closed up.
A pretty lake.
It's easy to see why it's popular.
So...we wanted to see Mt. Rushmore. It's always been on our list of things to see some day, so yesterday was the day! No idea what to expect, other than a few faces carved out of the rock. So when we got up to the area, there is very little opportunity to take a photo. Here's our first view out the side window...
What's that concrete structure with the red signs on it?
That's the parking garage! As you're pulling in towards the parking area you see this monstrous parking garage like something you'd see at a shopping center. Then, you pull up to the gate that tells you it's $11 USD ($15 CAD) to park...cars trucks and RV's all pay the same.
Now, I can understand that they have to pay for this multi million dollar complex, but we're not going to help pay for it. The guy at the booth told us how to exit without paying, and I think a few people have done exactly the same thing.
We drove 1/4 mile further on to a roadside parking area and walked back!
Sherman, parked for free at Mount Rushmore. You can see the profile of George Washington from this angle.
We walked back to the monument and took the "Presidential Trail" to see some different views.
It's a really neat thing to see though. Mind boggling how they did it, and how they would even have had a vision to do it in the first place.
It was almost 5:00pm by the time we pulled in to the Willow Creek Horse Camp. It was open, and the campground itself was gated with a sign saying it was a USFS fee area. Camping was listed at $10.00 USD. ($13.50 CAD).
But outside the "fee" area was the parking for the trailhead and nowhere did it say that we couldn't park over night.
So we did.
There was a horse trailer parked there as well at the time, and a couple of ladies came back with their horses. Ruth got out and spoke to them and they thought because it was the off season that we would be fine and that nobody would tell us to move. Worse case scenario, we'd have to go pay the $10 and move into the campground. Worth the risk.
Turns out that one of these ladies has spent some time in both Mexico and Colombia so Ruth spoke to her a fair bit.
Danny, Liz, and Paige.
Sherman. Photo taken this morning, while he's warming up to go.
Not a bad spot for a quick overnight. Wouldn't try to get away with it for free during busy season, but it worked well for us this time around. GPS 43.89798, -103.53628.
Can't get a map to draw up this morning. I liked the old google maps better!! Anyhow, we did 182 miles (291 kms) yesterday, so not a bad day. Today, we'll be into another new state for us...Nebraska!