South Dakota – Corn Fields to Foothills

Happy Thanksgiving to our fellow Canadians and Columbus Day to our friends across the border. We celebrated Thanksgiving Day, not with turkey & trimmings, but back on the road and another 400+ miles closer to home. Today we climbed steadily, fought headwinds all day and enjoyed the scenery, as it transitioned from corn fields to ranch land.

Monday 13th October 2014

Sioux Falls KOA, SD to Mountain View RV Park & Campground, Sundance, WY

Temps – 8 to 18C

Weather – Fine & clear

Wind – Strong NW’ly

Cloxs – Clox back 1 hr (Z-5)

Distance today – 423 miles

Total Distance – 8,412 miles

Navigation

Couldn’t be any easier for the Navigator, a meagre 1/2 mile from the KOA and we were on I-90 and at the other end it was a huge 3/4 mile from leaving the motorway. Biggest challenge today was finding fuel stops.

Departure Sioux Falls KOA

With a large tree with low hanging branches at the end of our site, I elected to reverse out, otherwise an easy departure and quick access to I-90.

Detailed Voyage to Mountain View RV Park & Campground

After our day off yesterday, which was rather pleasant, with a couple of nice walks with the dogs. In addition, we took Kona to the open area and ran her chasing a ball. Highly successful, as she even slept for about 1/2 hr on return to the coach.

We were packed up nice and early and on the road by 0800, but with only a 1/4 tank of diesel, so the first objective was to fill the tank. Found a Flying J about 1/2 mile down I-29, so we took a short detour before returning to I-90 for today’s adventure of heading West. Thank goodness we filled up, as the combination of climbing, strong headwind and higher elevations put a real dent in fuel consumption, as the normal 450 to 500 miles per tank reduced to under 350 miles. Our normal average of about 17 miles per gallon reduced to about 11 or 12 miles per gallon. I doubt tomorrow will be any better as we haul a 4 ton truck and 16,000 lb trailer up the mountains.

Driving almost the entire East/West length of South Dakota we were amazed by the gradual change from corn fields to ranch land. Once clear of Sioux Falls, it was the usual millions of acres of corn, as far as the eye can see. We then started with a transition phase with increasing pasture lands and occasional fields of cows. Once across the Missouri River the landscape changed significantly with the flat fields of the Prairies changing to a more rugged undulating landscape.

About 30 miles from Rapid City, we see mountains, so Andy exclaimed the Rockies – Judi’s response was negative – the Black Hills of South Dakota. Once we cleared Rapid City we climbed up the black hills to a plateau, which continued to our overnight stop in Sundance, Wyoming. Currently at an elevation of about 5,100 feet, this is quite a change for us poor coastal dwellers that normally reside at an altitude of 50 to 100 feet.

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