We finished up all our family visits September 18th. Early that afternoon, we got into the motorhome and headed southwest on Hiway 23. The weather was sunny, temperatures were in the 70’s, and there wasn’t too much traffic. We reached an area which seemed like a good place to stop in Pipestone, Minnesota. In the campground office, we picked up some tourist information, and read it that evening. We were surprised to find that a National Monument was located very near the campground. So the morning of September 19th, we visited Pipestone National Monument and went on the trails; we were pleasantly surprised with paved trails, stones steps, a small waterfall, stone bridges, and an atmosphere of serenity and peace. There were just a few other people at the monument and we were alone on the trails.
The next day we headed for South Dakota, and spent the night in Mitchell, visiting the Corn Palace and enjoying corn chowder at a nearby restaurant. On Friday the 20th, we drove to the Chamberlain area, looking for a Corps of Engineers Park which was supposed to be in the area. We discovered it had been sold to private owners, and the nightly rate was almost $35.00. Joan checked the Corps of Engineers website and found another Corps campground listed for the Big Bend dam area near Ft. Thompson. It was only about 25 minutes north and the nightly rate was $9.00. Turned out to be a beautiful park, with sites close to the lake. The drive there along the Missouri river was very scenic, much hillier as we headed north. We stayed at the Corps park until the 23rd; doing sightseeing in the Chamberlain area, and taking the Jeep on scenic byways, going to an Indian Pow Wow, to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive center, and touring a Lakota museum. We enjoyed the quiet and isolation of the Corps campground, and yet we weren’t too far away from the places we wanted to see.
We are both excited about starting our journey, and are enjoying our gypsy lifestyle. Smoke still gets quite anxious whenever the motorhome is moving; he meows frequently, and isn’t happy until we stop to set up camp. He settles down once the slides are out and his toys are handy. He enjoys the small cat tree we brought from the house, and likes to go for walks outside. He is getting used to being in the tent, although he doesn’t like it for long periods of time. He is happiest when he has our full attention, and his favorite spot to fall asleep is on one of our laps.