Our journey west takes us on I-90 across southern Minnesota and into S. Dakota. We’ve travelled this route before at this time of year and encountered strong winds which tore the cover off our air conditioner, so we were a little apprehensive about what would be in store for us this time. We were pleasantly surprised though, it was smooth sailing as we passed from Minnesota into S. Dakota although the huge wind farms all across southern Minnesota attest to the fact that this truly is a wind corridor.
We spent a night in Palisades State Park in eastern S. Dakota. It has beautiful rock formations and a lovely river, perfect for floating in a tube which several locals were doing.
When we continued on our journey the next day our fears were confirmed, strong cross winds combined with a heat wave, temps reached 100 F. Leonard and Bella (our RV) did great and this time we didn’t leave any parts laying by the side of the road, but we felt a lot of compassion for the guy who came in the opposite direction with his awning flapping all over the roof of his motorhome.
Next we made it to Spearfish, S. Dakota which is to be our destination for a few days. We’ve checked into Elkhorn Ridge RV Resort, probably the most beautiful campground we’ve ever stayed in. It has an 18 hole golf course, tennis & basketball courts, pool and hot tubs and great views of the Black Hills.
Our explorations from our campground took us through world-famous Sturgis. We’re here to tell you that Sturgis in the off-season is as depressing as a ski resort in the off season. Massive bars, many in the middle of fields and lots of tattoo parlors but everything shuttered up with a ghost town feel. Quite surreal.
Next we headed up into the scenic canyons by way of the mile high mountain town of Lead, home of the Homestake Gold mine, which was the largest and deepest gold mine in North America. It closed in 2002 but it’s mine shafts which run 8000 feet below ground have been repurposed and now house the Sanford Underground Research Facility, an underground laboratory which conducts physics experiments in areas such as dark matter and neutrino research. Pretty amazing stuff in an old small ex-mining town. You certainly can’t tell by looking at the town.
We’ve had heavy rain and thunderstorms each evening and tonight we are under a severe weather alert with possible tornadoes, so we are going to hole up here tonight and then move on tomorrow.