If you’re wondering about the rules for these free dispersed camping sites they’re pretty simple. You can stay for up to two-weeks, you need to be one-hundred feet from water and self-contained, meaning—take your garbage. That’s pretty much it.
As the sun set the infield ring was pretty full with tents and we had a couple of vans, at a comfortable distance on either side of us last night. Our neighbor to the left, Steve, was from Washington and was on his way home from a high school reunion in Madison, Wisconsin. He drove VW Eurovan and was an Environmental Toxologist—he studied the pollution levels in the air, land and water. He was also a birder. We shared a cup of coffee with him and he pointed out a western meadowlark to us which had a beefy yellow breast. He got his camera out and took some pictures of the bird that were really good. Nice guy.
After a cool morning, where I had my jacket and skull
cap on, it grew hot. By 10am we were inching towards 90’s again. Also, by that
time we were pretty much the only people left here. I guess none of the other
campers had blogs to catch up on. They did their homework while I had drinks
and looked at the stars.
While I worked Donna gave the van a good cleaning. A couple days here in this arid-dehydrated land things get dusty. She made a rule just like at home—no shoes on in the house. I was pretty much wearing my Fila pool sandals, so I didn’t give her any pushback unlike at home where I’m always trying to wear my shoes in the house and she’s always catching me.
When she was done, she went on several little hikes. Since
we had been here she had assembled a pretty good collection of rocks. They were
the same kind of layered rocks that formed the Badlands, but of course on a
much smaller scale. The spotty internet connection—note to self: Weboost—made determining
what type of rocks they were impossible. She loves rocks—the patterns, shapes
and colors. Every time we go on vacation she exhumes some stony gems living peacefully below the surface near we’re staying. We haven’t talked about it yet, but I know she’s going to
bag these up and I’m going to have to drag them all over the country after
she flies home for work. It’ll be the second or third thing she asks me when I
get home—“Where are my rocks?”
I suppose it could be worse, she could collect shoes,
wait she does that too—nevermind.
By mid-afternoon it was in the 90’s and I was sweating
sitting in one of our deluxe lawn chairs under our Moonshade awning which
attached to the van by magnets. The warm western breezes had some kick to them and
we had to stake the awning after it had been blown free from the van.
When I was finally all caught up I coaxed Donna into
another hike in the surrounding hills, which was beautiful but hot. Giant bison
droppings dotted the land everywhere. It was kind of amazing they made it to the
top of these hills. The view down to the campsite and beyond was amazing.
When we got back, we took our first ever van showers. We
have a hot water heater but we’ve yet to use it and today, given the heat, it
From there it was tuna melts, tunes, drinks and more
Tomorrow, Rushmore, Crazy Horse and Custer.