Last night we had a plan... We were going to get up with the sun, shower, eat breakfast at the campground as soon as it was available, and head south. It was a good idea, in theory, but the weather wasn't cooperating. This morning the sky was overcast and we could see rain to the west and south, and it was headed our way. We sat around in camp until the weather improved.
We got on I-90 and got off in Rapid City. From there, we took 79 down to Hot Springs. None of us could remember ever going to Hot Springs during the rally. We stopped for lunch in a combination pawn shop/cafe. The food was good, the portions were large and the prices were low.
After lunch, we gassed up and started north on 385. We stopped at Whitaker Jewelers. We have stopped there every year since I started coming in '99. They used to have stores in Hill City, but last year they moved south, just out of Hot Springs. They have a small shop and live totally off-grid. Preston showed John and me his solar collector set up and his battery bank. Both John and I expressed interest in his system. Preston's advice was to read as much as possible before planning or buying anything. John bought a necklace for his niece.
We followed 385 north through Custer, and Hill City. We went east on Sheridan Lake Road. All the way up, we were either just ahead of or just behind the rain. We only had a little sprinkle all day.
We stopped at the T.G.I.Fridays in Rapid City to meet up with Terresah. She was John and Lyle's waitress way back in '97, and was still waitressing as a college student, at the Valley Cafe in Spearfish when I started coming out here in '99. We have met up with her almost every year since. She is the mother of the child I never had... (there's a G rated story behind that from 2000) We celebrated Lyle's birthday. Terresah got some of the other help to come out and sing Happy Birthday to him.
Lyle getting his birthday dessert.
Garth, me, Terresah, Lyle, Larrie, and John.
We got back to camp around 1830. I don't think the temp ever got over 70 all day.
I spotted this alongside the road. Is it a South Dakota riding lawnmower?