Jul 052023

Vacation time – Black Hills, SD

I’ve lived for 12 years in SD. Got my degree here and much of my formative years. So the city is familiar, as anything can be 35 years later. One of my favorite childhood memories is going fishing up in the Black Hills.

BTW… If you have never been to the Black Hills, I highly recommend it. Peaceful. Calming. Scenic. You have Mount Rushmore (yes, THAT Mount Rushmore). Deadwood where Wild Bill Hickok got shot with his poker hand of aces and eights. In August, you have the Sturgis Bike Rally (more motorcycles than you can shake a stick at. The Needles Highway. You have the Crazy Horse Monument. Just over the border, you have Devil’s Tower. Just the dense pines and craggy mountains are impressive enough. And don’t forget the Badlands… very impressive that even has Wall Drug.

But for me, calming in the way outback fishing and being mellow is my plan. I’m near a little wide spot in the road called Rochford. Although on the way, I stopped in Deadwood and won a poker tournament. Made some dinner and listened to the wind through the pines and the burble of the water. I’d forgotten how voracious the mosquitos are here. Fortunately, I have repellant and have kept myself mostly bite-free.

I forgot how much work fishing is. I did manage to catch two but ended up with my back all cramped up.  

So what is it about people with just a little bit of power that turns them into NAZIs? I was parked at a nice little spot about 5 miles from Rochford. The brook. The scenery. About 10AM, less than 24hrs from setting up my camp, I get a bang on my door. I get presentable (I was changing after fishing) and open the door. There is an older gentleman on a bike wearing a scowl.

He tells me he is a volunteer trail warden (I’m parked right next to a bike/hike trail) and wants to know if I want him to make a call.


“If I have to call the sheriff, you won’t like it when he gets here.”

“I don’t understand.”

“You are camping on state land.”

“I thought this was on National Forest Land.” (BTW after I checked, if I moved 100’ in most directions I’d be on National Forest Land).

“No. Now shall I call the Sheriff?”

“No need. I’ll move.”

“You better. If you are here when I get back…”

“I said I’d move.”

I was blocking no one and troubling no one. I hadn’t left my camp a mess. An officious putz. If that weren’t bad enough, the jerk parked in a way that made hooking up to my trailer very difficult.

So, I moved. I was traveling along back the way I came when I saw a sign showing National Forest land. Travelled up that dirt road and found a nice place in the middle of a meadow. No water or streams near me so fishing pretty much went out the window (oh, darned, no more back cramps )

Fortunately, my new camping place worked out wonderfully. Spent some quality time in the Black Hills, and even managed a few profitable (for me) poker tournaments. Visited many of my old haunts, including my alma mater, the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. SDSM&T added two buildings and is constructing a new one and expanding the student union. So many changes everywhere. It’s like every habitation in the entire Black Hills doubled in size. What do you expect for 35 years, eh?

BTW… I’d add pics but there seems to be some hiccups in uploading images from the road. I’ll look it over and try to figure it out later.

Previous leg of Roadtrip – Leg 1
Next leg of the Roadtrip – Leg 3

 July 5, 2023  Uncategorized

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