Jun 16, 2008

Day 2

We arrived at our campground in South Dakota in mid-afternoon. The trip was hard on ol’ “Hi-Ho Silver” aka our truck. With four horses and a ½ dozen bales of hay – not to mention living items for 9 days, pulling those hills took all of the power the one-ton has and more. Just as we thought we needed to pull over as the temperature gauge was maxing out, we started to descend. And although we put new brakes on the trailer, we are starting to hear some noise from the rear brakes on Hi-Ho.

The first two days we are staying at the Palmer Gulch Stables associated with the Mt. Rushmore KOA. We chose this location because of its close proximity to the trails heads going to Harney Peak and Mt. Rushmore; two places we planned to ride. Its an RV park at its best and unlike any horse camp we have ever stayed. Our horse trailers are in-line with huge $100,000 motor homes with slide-outs and satellite dishes.

We are at the end of the park and the horse stables are right across the way. Our horses have a large pen that they share; Rich and Kathy opted for individual corrals for their horses as they don’t house well together. Next to the corrals is the pasture for the Palmer Gulch rental string. When their 50 head were returned to pasture after the day yesterday, our horses were sure big eyed watching them come running through to the pasture!

The kids are in paradise as this RV USA has a ton of things for them to do. There is swimming, volleyball, hot tubbing, biking and a trampoline along with other kids to play with. We had them help clean out the trailer after unloading the horses & then they were off, periodically checking in before making another run to some other place. There is wireless internet here, but I can’t get a connection. I was able to connect to Sprint long enough to publish to the blog yesterday, but lost the connection before I could read emails. My Alltel phone has “no service”. Odd with this being such a tourist area that there is no service.

It was very chilly here last night. I had my ear band on and a coat as we ate supper. When we made reservations in a full service campsite, we were sure we would be running our air conditioner, but instead, ran a space heater all night. Weird weather indeed! We didn’t bring blankets for the horses; John said they were shivering this morning.

As I was making coffee this morning, I saw the trail string horses being taken to the stable. There were probably 50 of them lead by one wrangler and another wrangler bringing up the tail.
We didn’t ride after arrival; we have two big days planned; so spent the time setting up camp. It gave the horses a nice break after the long ride here and the long rides planned in upcoming days. Today we plan to ride 18 miles round trip today. We are at 5,000 elevation right now and plan to ride to over 7,000 later today. If the weather cooperates.

With leads me to the bad news. South Dakota has a Big Fat Lying Weatherman, too! Today was to be 70 degrees and sunny with a 20% chance of rain. It is not yet 7:00 AM and the sky is dark and rumbling of thunder. I’m holding out hope that it is passing by, but without internet or radar, I just can’t tell. We’ll tune into Rich weather radio in a few minutes. And as I am typing, the rains have begun. Banging down hard on the trailer. Oh, &$*(#&$()! Now there is hail with severe lightning. I can’t call Kathy’s trailer because there is no blasted cell service. So no clue what the weather today holds. Nothing but shear frustration at this moment….

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