This trip is REALLY an adventure!

Remember the part about no generator? In general, the weather has been cool enough that we have been able to do without air conditioning and while we were on the road, we had electrical hookups each night. While we’ve been blown on by the wind, rained on and even briefly hailed on, we’ve made it through the weather unscathed. And we think we know why God didn’t want us on the road sooner. Because we got a late start, we stopped an hour or so short of where we had planned to go on Sunday. We were up bright and early (for us) and on the road by 8:30 Monday. An hour or so before we got to the Mt. Rushmore area, they got a massive hailstorm, completely covering the ground an hour later! And some of the hailstorms were still a couple of inches in diameter!

We were headed for Wolf Camp but the website directions were sketchy and by the time we realized that we needed more, we had no cell signal or internet. We turned on a highway with the number the website said, but it didn’t say which way and we made the wrong choice. Many twisty, very narrow miles later, we came upon a sign that said low clearance, width 13′ 2″, height 12′ 4″. One hundreds yards or so ahead was a tunnel carved out of the stone mountain. While we didn’t have a width problem, we definitely thought we had a height problem. We are pretty sure we are 12′ 6″ tall and there was no space to turn a 40′ bus around. We got out and measured. It looked to us as though, if LeRoy drove as close to the side as he could, he could squeeze the air conditioners under the highest spot on the roof, so we decided to try it. I stayed up the road ahead so I’d be able to guide him and we made it! And then a little farther, we came to this sign:

SD trip, part 1 012

 

Again, we got out and measured. Bailey helped Papa with the tape and they measured several places, through not one but two tunnels a foot or so from the end of one to the beginning of the next. We drew a crowd at this one! With many prayers and a line of travel firmly in mind, LeRoy got back in the bus and I hurried down the road to watch clearance again. And take this picture!

SD trip, part 1 013

 

There was yet another tunnel, but it was 12′ 9″ so we didn’t even measure. Shoot, if we can get through 12′ 2″, we can do anything! Right around the curve from this one was another sign that said low clearance, but this one was 13′ and we figured we wouldn’t even have to slow down for that one! It was a bridge and seemed must higher than the stated height, so it was no problem at all.

Now think about it. If we had been in that place when the hailstorm hit, even on the twisty, narrow road and forgetting the tunnel, it could have been so much worse. As it was, our granddaughters will have a story to tell to their grandchildren someday. Ben, on the other hand, slept through the whole challenge!

There was a highlight of this little sidetrip, though. One of our first glimpses of Mt. Rushmore!

SD trip, part 1 016

 

When we came to another, bigger road, we were able to call the campground and get directions. Bad directions, as it turned out, but still, directions. After turning where he told us to go, we could see we were headed out of Keystone towards Rapid City so we had to turn around. We stopped traffic! Had to unhook the car and back the bus, but eventually we were able to get into town where we called again to say that we were lost. The campground owner came to town and we followed him back to the campground which was, as it turned out, about a quarter of a mile from where we took the fateful right turn onto the wrong road. At least we made it to our spot and were plugged in by supper time.

We are in Gillette, WY for an FMCA rally starting today, but I still want to post pictures of the rest of the trip, so you’ll hear more from me later.

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