We set an alarm today, and did a little bit better getting underway at a decent hour. I threw our many towels and miscellaneous damp items in the dryer before we leave camp. I think I will pick up those suction hooks for the shower after all because the tension rod isn’t enough for beach towels, shower towels, bathing suits and washcloths and the kids can’t seem to use it anyhow. Meanwhile, I made breakfast, and got the kids and camper prepared for the day and rolling out.
We got packed up in a decent amount of time (although I’m sure we’ll cut it down as we continue the trip) and had a major camper milestone…our first pump out experience. Andy did the “dirty work” and I observed with my foot on the hose elbow. I will say that I see one of those caterpillar deals in our future as it was a bit of fussing around, but it is in the history books. As we pulled out, we were chatting through the checklist and cracked up at forgetting to put the trailer mirrors back on the Suburban! Worse things could happen…
Today the plan is to hit the Missile Welcome Center, and maybe check out the base or silo and then find a campground near Rapid City so we are near to Mount Rushmore and explore that area for a few days. In all honesty, we have been planning our next move on the fly, and we could certainly have benefited from a bit better planning so I think I’ll be good with three days.
We rolled out of camp and headed to the Minutemen Missile Visitor Center to check it out. It was a grim reminder of how close we have come to nuclear annihilation, and the propaganda and information (that ISN’T top clearance security) had me feeling pretty helpless about the power and potential devastation that can be unleashed. On one hand, MAD (Mutual Assured Devastation) makes me feel safe but on the other hand the impact it would leave on our planet for our children is horrid.
There is also deactivated silo and command center nearby that you can visit (you’ll need reservations well in advance for the guided tour), but there was construction at the location you can take a self-guided tour and we weren’t able to go with the camper in tow. So strange to think that hundreds of nuclear missiles lie secretly under the amazing lands we’ve come to experience!
We had to make good on our promise to have ice cream at Wall Drug, and walked through again while all the shops were open. On the way, we stopped at the Grasslands Visitor Center and the kids earned a second Junior Ranger badge today!
We bid goodbye to the Badlands and Grasslands and entered the Black Hills National Forest headed to Rushmore. It was nice to see green again, and we welcomed a dip in the temperature. We had our first bit of towing the camper through the mountains and checked into Holey Smokes Campground. The campsite is a small, pull through park with full hookups and no other amenities. The kids quickly found some friends to play with. We got hooked up, made dinner and we were so excited to be there that we decided to go see Mount Rushmore at night.