Today I took the van on its maiden voyage—from Colorado to South Dakota with my friend Gayle, whose parents live in Rapid City. We had a beautiful day for traveling. The van got about 26mpg, which isn’t too bad. Even though it’s old, it’s comfortable and drives smoothly.
We left early and headed straight to Mt. Rushmore. That place is a zoo! They have a huge, multi-level parking garage. You pay $10 to park (although we only had to pay $5 because of our advanced age). We didn’t stay long, just long enough to get a few pictures.
On the way to Rapid City, we stopped at a place called Reptile Gardens. Gayle knows the family that owns it. They have an impressive collection of animals.
Then we drove around downtown Rapid City (a really cute downtown, with sculptures of the presidents on every corner) and had lunch at an old firehouse. We visited Gayle’s folks for a while, and now we’re at the Catholic retreat right across the road, where Gayle is staying. I’m going to sleep in the van in the parking lot.
This is a nice facility. I don’t know whether it was a monastery at one time, but now it’s used for retreats, classes, etc. They rent the rooms here like a motel. They’re nice rooms, but I think Gayle is the only guest right now. The building is deserted. My car is the only one in the parking lot.
Right across the parking lot is a pretty, hilly area with a path. We walked up there and found a children’s remembrance garden (sad) and a nice little curved path with stations of the cross.
Even though I’m going to be “camping” in the parking lot, it’s almost like being in a campground because there are trees all around and it’s completely silent. There are deer around here, and we saw a notice to watch out for mountain lions.
Tomorrow, while Gayle spends Father’s Day with her parents, I’m going to head up to Deadwood and Spearfish. Should be another pretty day.