Thursday, June 5, 2014

Discount Roadkill Safari

May 29

With temperatures reaching the mid nineties and rain forecasted for the next day, we decide to move out of the Badlands and head for ground that won't suck us under if it gets wet.

We make our decision to move around eleven in the morning and by the time we are hitched up, there is not a single other soul in the campground.  We take outdoor showers with our backpacking shower, which is an exhilarating experience in 30mph winds. 

Arriving in the town of Wall, Hubs gasses up while I fill our 8-gallon water jugs from the station spigot.  

chingg chingg clinggg chingg

I turn around to see a real cowboy, complete with hat and spurs, walking into the gas station.  His spurs cling on the way out too, and I notice that he drives away in a shiny black limo with steer horns mounted to the front.

Pulling back onto I-90, we see some more wildlife that I have been wanting to spot.  First up is a dead badger, smooshed on the side of the road.  We pass a dead deer and skunk, and my personal favorite, a porcupine!  We have also seen squished prairie dogs and snakes.  Who says you can't see the sights of South Dakota on a budget?

Our destination is Box Elder, a town just on the eastern outskirts of Rapid City, South Dakota.  We intend to purchase the mail forwarding services of Americas Mailbox [sic] in order to have a legal street address in order to become residents of South Dakota because of their RVer-friendly policies.

One other requirement is that we have to have spent one night in South Dakota and be able to prove it.  Since Americas Mailbox specializes in helping people become residents of South Dakota, they have a small RV park on the premises and give the proper kind of receipt that the Department of Motor Vehicles with recognize.  I am sure other RV parks could do the same, but so far we have stayed in only free places or the kind that give receipts written on chewing gum wrappers.  

I am sorry to say, but the RV park at Americas Mailbox is a scrubby little place right off I-90 and next to a very (very) busy truck stop.  But fear not!  There does appear to be a nightlife here in Box Elder!

Yup, Karaoke at the Flying J truck stop.  This delightful sign casts a warm neon glow into our windows all night long.  

Sites with hookups here cost $30 per night, more than our entire camping expenditure for the month thus far, and we don't even need hookups.  The nice man in the office tells me that they have dry camping (no water or electric hookups) spots for $10 per night.  That sounds more our speed until he actually points out our spot.  It is on the street, taking up most of the right hand lane and slopes both toward the curb and downhill.  And it only cost us ten bucks.  

Can you tell, I am having a hard time finding things to be thankful for at this site?  

The sound of jake brakes compete with the growling of thunder in the distance.  

A big storm with silver-dollar sized hail is predicted to wallop the area in the next few hours, and all we can do is sit tight.

I guess I have something to be thankful for now, because the brunt of the storm passes just to the north and we watch a fantastic lightning display from our bedroom window.  Only rain pelts us in the night.

In all fairness, the people at Americas Mailbox are very helpful and accommodating, and we are pleased to be using their address-establishing services.  I am just a sore-headed crank who doesn't like spending money and is having a bad day.


  1. Gotta love Flyin J. We stayed at one and the beauty of it? was right across from train tracks...i counted four trains clicking by during the nite, not to mention the numerous trucks purring in the back lot...but was free.
    Glad you didn't get any hail dinging your trailer...happy motoring

    1. Yes, maybe next time around we will do a tour of all the flying j's in the country. Free camping, karaoke, train-spotting...what could be better? :) We were so thankful hail didn't get us.