Saturday, June 7, 2014

Pugs in the Forest

May 31

Now that we are residents of South Dakota, we may as well drive into Rapid City and get a library card.

This city feels like home to us.  It is large enough to have a great selection of steak houses (especially if you have a one-track mind and can't think about anything else but steak after a week of beans and rice), yet not too big that I am uncomfortable driving around in it.  With lots of ethnic diversity, delicious and varied food abounds.  

Again with the food.

Unemployment is low and the city feels prosperous and youthful.  Downtown there are art galleries, performance theaters, and even a hookah lounge.  

The library is large and modern and I find myself wishing we could stay longer and avail ourselves of its books.  Hubs finds a flyer for the local Celtic society, but their next event is a few days from now and we will probably be gone by then.

Stopping by the Mystic Ranger Station, we pick up a map that shows all of the dispersed camping places in the Black Hills.  It is all free, if you can find it.

The map has very few road names and we spend about an hour trying to find the first road we want to look at.  The trip up the mountain is paved and very steep, then the road where dispersed camping is allowed veers off to the right.  It is mostly mud and severely potholed.  We don't even try it, even though we are not pulling the trailer.    

Between our nearly-useless GPS, the ranger map we picked up, and our atlas, we make it to our next pick.  

This road is gravel and dirt and at times steep, but the views are well worth it.

This looks like a good spot to explore.  

Pugs sniff every plant and pee on every tree.  

This is their first time in a forest.

Patches of wild Iris add more color to the vibrance all around us.  

For anybody who wants to camp here, this would be a perfect spot to tent camp.  I suppose you could bring an RV up here, but we aren't willing to try it.  In order to find this place, follow Sheridan Lake Road west until you reach Boulder Hill Road.  The name is not marked on the Ranger map, but it will be on your left.  There is a small post marker for a road called 358.1F, which is where this is located.  Dispersed camping is allowed (and free) anywhere on the first half of this road.  There is no admission fee to get into the Black Hills National Forest where this is located.  

Along Sheridan Lake Road there are a number of pull-offs where fly fisherman park their cars.  Down at the stream, I am swarmed by children asking what I am doing.  

This picture is to show them how shutter speed works.

The next road we choose ends on the eastern shore of Sheridan Lake.  

Camping is not allowed here, and we see two misguided trucks pulling large boats behind them as we leave.  There is no boat launch here at Dakota Point and I sure wouldn't want to be towing a boat around these roads.

Back in town, we try out a place called Mongolian Grill for dinner.  After choosing a bowl size, hungry patrons cram as much food as they can into it, then top it with a mound of noodles and sauce.  Guys with wooden paddles toss the contents onto a searing round table and push each pile around and around the table until it is cooked.  With considerable skill and flair, they whoosh each pile back into the bowl.

Dinner is just about the best Asian food I have ever eaten.

To think!  This is my town!

Many thanks for ordering items through my Amazon store!  

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