October 18, 2021
We started out this week at a little campground in Interior, South Dakota just outside of the Badlands National Park. We had purchased the National Park Pass before we left home knowing that we wanted to visit many of these along our journey.
Our first objective was to get our new driver’s licenses so we collected a receipt from the campground to prove we had spent a night in South Dakota and drove on over to the Rapid City Driver’s License Exam station to become South Dakota residents. We also had already set up our digital mailbox in South Dakota which provided us with a physical address to put on our driver’s license. This was all surprisingly easy. We finished our business there and walked out with our new driver’s licenses in about 15 minutes! We chose South Dakota for three reasons. It was one of the few options of states that offer residency to full time RVers and it was the option that we most wanted to visit. There is no state income tax. You are not required to get a new inspection sticker on your vehicle annually.
After we went to see Mt Rushmore. It was snowy and cold! We took some photos, read the plaques, and gave a respectful nod to history. We also spent some time in the Badlands at it got better each time we went there. On our first pass we listened to an audio tour from Just Ahead. We really love these audio tours to give us a guided tour for the parks. There isn’t one for every park, but many are available for lots of the big national parks. It’s worth the subscription fee if you’re doing what we are and planning to see several parks.
Our first couple of days here, we stayed in a campground, but then we decided to try Boondocking for the first time. If you don’t know the RV lingo yet, boon docking means that you are parking in the wilderness on public lands without an established campsite or amenities. There is also primitive camping or dry camping which is similar in that you are not connected to water, sewer, or electricity. However, primitive campsites may sometimes have a small fee, especially those in state or national parks. They also typically provide pit toilets and Bbq’s or fire rings for their campers. Boondocking involves using Google maps and Google Earth to determine which land is public, the terrain, elevation, and if there’s a dirt road nearby that can be used to get to a camping area. We had learned that Boondocking on “The Wall” of Badlands National Park was windy, but absolutely beautiful. I was hesitant after the wind we experienced so far, but Luke convinced me that even if the camper blew over, we would not be parking close enough to the cliff to blow off of it.
I was so grateful that we parked there! As soon as we got set up and settled, I walked to the cliff and looked out at the beautiful landscape surrounding me and decided I felt like dancing. So that’s what I did. I put some music on my phone and just danced. The weather was perfect and I was full of joy. We also let the dogs run free and they absolutely loved it. We put a stop to it though when we saw Dobby completely vertical scaling the side of the cliff.
We saw lots of animals at the national park. Our favorites were the prairie dog town area and the Bison. My least favorite was the badger I ran from at the campground when I went out to snap a quick photo of sunset.
While we were here, we also had to of course visit Wall Drug. It was not awesome, but I did buy a sweet new leather cowgirl hat. However, it was crowded with mostly elderly overweight people who were inconsiderate, impatient, and smelled like they had just shit their pants.
We also took a trip over to the Minuteman missile bunker nearby and learned all about the minuteman missile program that was primarily out here in the west. They reasoned that these missile sites would be targets for our enemies so they wanted to place them where the population was the least dense. As this all started before our time, we really didn’t know a whole lot about it, but learning all about what it was like at the time of the Cold War and the threat of nuclear war was believed to be imminent, it sent shivers down our spines. We also learned a new joke from a vet who volunteered there. What do you call a woman who marries a hippie?…Mississippi! You’re welcome for that one.
On October 18th we went to Cheyenne, Wyoming and spent a night at a campground there so we could get our laundry done. It was getting cold so it’s time for us to head South. The dog was sick that morning which woke me up for the sunrise. Thank you Dobby!
I thought I would also show off my swell new hat and happiness from being on “the wall”.
Jennifer MacNeil is currently traveling the US with her husband and two dogs. She loves to have adventures, explore, meet fascinating people, and see amazing places. She strives to learn every day and spread kindness to others. She documents her journey through her photography and blog to share with others.