Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Pierre, SD and on to Wyoming's Independence Rock
We are back on the road and left Sioux Falls to go to Pierre, SD. We stayed at the City RV Park which is beautifully located right on the Missouri River, which you can see in the background. The sites offer 50 amp electric connections and a dump station for $15 a night. Plus, it is right in town, so is very convenient.
We did some exploring and left Cody in the coach with the A/C on. I guess Cody was a bit bored and his excellent nose found a brand new bag of dog food! Obviously, Cody figured this must be for him, so he helped himself as the picture shows. No more dinner for him that night!
We left Pierre and headed west on I-90, stopping at this rest area near Wall, SD. We were delighted with the excellent weather -- late Sept. is a great time to be in the Dakotas with warm days and cool nights being the norm.
Passing Spearfish, SD, we quickly came to the Wyoming state line. Western SD and Wyoming really illustrates the real west and we always enjoy the interesting terrain and uncrowded roads. Often, we seem to see more pronghorn antelope than people.
Wyoming was the crossroads for several old West trails, including the Bozeman, Mormon, and Oregon trails. Amazingly, over 500,000 people traveled west over these trails in wagons and on foot during the mid 1800's. One key waypoint was Independence Rock where people figured they were about half way to their destination.
Visible for miles around, Independence Rock was covered by names carved into the rock by travelers. Over the years, most of these have vanished due to erosion, but there are still a few that are visible.
You can just make out the carvings above. According to period literature, names were thick on the rock as travelers left their names and initials there for subsequent travelers or posterity. It really makes you think about the past when you see such reminders.
Here is a classic prairie schooner, or wagon. Imagine traveling 15 miles a day (on a good day) over the hot, dusty plains. We decided that our motorhome is one heck of an advance!