A Beautiful Wedding and Hart Ranch

It all started off so great. We were pretty excited to head out to Rapid City to see Rod’s oldest granddaughter Bergan get married. Rod’s daughter Angie and her husband Kevin got us into a great site at Hart Ranch just outside of town. (Thank you again!!!) It was peaceful, beautiful and has every amenity you can imagine. We got to spend time with family and just a little down time too.

The wedding was in Hot Springs, we booked a room there so we could stay late and not worry about driving. Everything couldn’t have gone smoother. The ceremony was outdoors at Chautauqua Park and it was beautiful!!! What a picturesque place for a wedding. The reception and dance was held at the Red Rock River Resort – Hotel & Spa. (that’s a mouthful) Very cool place and a gorgeous reception room. We were so glad we were able to attend cheers to Troy and Bergan!!

The Bad

On our way from Rapid City to Hot Springs we noticed a noise that appeared to be coming from the front drivers side of the car. Kind of like road noise, but it had more of a whine to it. We of course headed to YouTube so we could do a self diagnosis and it looked like (sounded like) a wheel bearing. Of course it’s Sunday and nothing is open. The other bummer part to this is Sunday and Monday were the days we had planned to head out exploring as it been a lot of years since either one of us has been out to the Black Hills.

Needless to say this is where we spent most of Monday. Yes, we were correct it was a wheel bearing. Which really we were glad we caught it right away and normally wouldn’t take that long to fix. However, the mechanic had one heck of a time getting the old one off. He literally beat the hell out of it. In doing so he kind of mangled this dust cover part and just when we thought we were on our way we heard a different noise. Had to turn right back around and have him take the tire off and lets just say, make some adjustments.

*Update to this story. The new bearing didn’t even make it 30 days. The whining noise started in again and since we were home we had our mechanic put on a new higher end bearing. We even did the other side just to be safe. Fortunately the part was warrantied so that helped a bit.

The Bumpy

Here’s where the road starts to get rough, literally. It was Tuesday morning and time to head out. We had this big plan that we were going to boondock just outside of Badlands National Park and we would have had we not missed the turn. No biggy, we’ll head into the park and settle into Sage Creek Campground for the night. We stop at the entrance booth, pay them our 15.00 and we specifically ASK, is it ok for the size of our rig and if there is room to camp down at the Cage Creek Campground. We also specifically ASK, is the road good getting there. The answer was yes to both of our questions so down the rabbit hole we go.

Rather than describe in words how bad it was FOR 16 MILES, you can watch the video below.

We didn’t go down the rabbit hole alone. Right behind us was another couple in a 1-800 rv rental suffering the same torture. We both ended up stopping at the first (maybe the only) pullover to check out the cute prairie dogs and meet our followers. They happened to be from Germany travelling the US by RV to see all our great National Parks. Let me say they weren’t too impressed with this one at this point. We got out Google Maps on our phone while they had a dash covered in paper maps and we found a gravel road about 6 more miles in that we could turn and get the hell out of here.

We let them pull out first and after what seemed forever we made it to the turn off. Wait, what’s this? The rest of the way down to the campground actually looks better. They turn and we decide heck we’re already this far we can make it. Big mistake. It was better, but only for about a mile. How stupid!!

Finally we make it to the campground only to find out there’s no place to park!!!! Ughhh really, now we’re just getting pissed. Nothing but tents down here. There are buffalo and coyotes roaming around, there’s no way I would be sleeping in a tent! We’ve had enough for the day. Back down the road from hell we go again.

The Recovery

After the whole Badlands epic fail we headed back on to I90 and headed east. Ahhh, smooth roads. However,we are bound and determined we are going to get one last night of camping in before going home. Thanks to freecampsites.net we found a little spot just north of Kennebec on Lake Byre. It’s dry camping only, but free for 5 nights. Hell yes, we’ll take it.

We had the place to ourselves, threw back a few cold ones and watched the sunset.

You weren’t really expecting a warm fuzzy happy ending to this story were you? After the sunset we had to fix the drawers where the screws rattled out from our earlier experience. Also if you look at the picture below the road to the lake was actually quite good except for a small section and would only be a problem if we were to get any rain. There wasn’t any rain in the forecast though, none, nothing nada. That was until about 3:30 am when we heard the first crack of thunder. OMG, really. In a blur of half asleep we brought up the jacks, turned the rig around and made it past that muddy area. We parked in the middle of the roadway on high ground and went back to bed. On the bright side, we won’t forget it!!

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