Today was the last leg of our first destination, Custer, SD.. Before we left this morning, Al and I were outside solving the world's problems, when we noticed it was getting darker and cooler. We could see a large cloud of smoke coming and it soon covered the entire area. It was so dense we could barely see a radio tower 100 yards away. We surmised it had to be from the wildfires in Washington. Anyway, we left Murdo about 9AM and had a non-eventful trip except for me worrying about the check engine light in our truck. We noticed as we progressed west that the terrain was becoming more hilly with a few trees here and there, unlike the plains which were mostly flat and treeless. Somewhere along the way, we passed into Mountain Standard Time (MST) and are now 2 hours behind our home state in NC. Upon reaching the area around Rapid City the rolling hills turned into larger hills and we gained quite a bit of elevation by the time we reached Custer. In fact the elevation here is 5500 ft above sea level. We reached Custer's Gulch Camp Ground in the Blackhills National Forest about 2PM and got our rigs set up. We then took our truck to the Chevrolet dealer in Rapid City to get it repaired and Al & Pat followed us to bring us back since we had to leave the truck. They advised they were swamped, but would work our truck in and hopefully have it back to us by mid week.
Here are a few tidbits we found interesting along our trip and thought you might find them enlightening:
All the cows we saw were standing as close to each other as they could get. They were all in a tight bunch for some reason, and it was the same with every herd of cows we observed. Strange.
We saw quite a large number of bee hives along our route and when we went into into a rest area with an information center, we asked the operator about the bees. He said they were there to pollinate the sweet clover that is grown in the area and that at the end of the season the bee hives are smoked, covered with a net, and loaded on tractor trailers and taken to Arizona for the winter. He said South Dakota was one of the leading honey producing states. Who knew!
I've never seen another state where the grass on the side of the highway right of way was harvested for hay. Most of I-90 we saw where the grass had been cut and baled on the side of the highway, and was ready to be loaded. I have no idea if the state bales it, or possibly contracts it to local farmers.
I've had several comments on the comment link on the blog not working. I think I've finally figured it out. It should be ok now, I think.