Alaskan Trip Journal

Date: Saturday, July 5, 2003

Starting Location: Rapid City, SD

Destination: Sundance, WY (Reuter Campground)

Trip Description: Laura and I drove through the Black Hills today. We stopped at Mt. Rushmore after a late breakfast and a stop at the hardware store. I'll explain more about that later. The visitor's center at Mt. Rushmore is much larger than when I was there in 1986. There is a long plaza leading to the viewing area. A parking garage has been built, along with a large entrance gate. It costs $8 to park. Laura was really impressed with the size of Mt. Rushmore. We took a few pictures before leaving.

Our next stop was the Crazy Horse Monument. It is located near Custer, SD. You can see it from a long distance. We wanted to stop in the visitor center, but the cost was $9 per person! We said "No thanks!" and made a U-turn. We were now on our way to Wyoming. We drove along Highway 16 from Custer, into Wyoming. It was a more scenic ride than I-90. We reached Sundance at 3:00. There was still plenty of daylight, so we drove to Devils Tower. It was pretty hot again today. Neither of us felt like pushing our way through the tourists on the trail around Devils Tower, so we relaxed on a bench by the visitor center.

Sundance is a very small town. As Laura and I made our way into town from Devils Tower, we saw only a handfull of people. We were looking for the road to Reuter Campground. We eventually hooked up the GPS to the computer and followed the map. We passed the campground and continued to the fire tower at the top of the mountain. The view is breathtaking! You can see Devils Tower to the west, and the Black Hills to the east. After looking around for awhile, we returned to the campground.

I asked the campground host if he knew how to get to the grave of Emil Reuter (my great-great-grandfather). He was never there, but was interested in looking for it. We drove to a trailhead and hiked north on the Reuter Springs Trail. The campground host is an older gentleman who was originally from east Texas. He served in WWII. We talked as we hiked up into the mountains. As we were hiking, it became apparent that we were not going to reach the grave on that trail. The actual grave is located further north. We headed back to the campground on a gravel road. I really enjoyed the hike, even though we did not attain our goal. The campground host and I plan on finding it at 6:00 AM tomorrow.

I did not forget to explain why I went to the hardware store. Last night I felt dampness on the floor by the bathroom sink. Upon further investigation, I found that a pipe was leaking. Luckily it was a freshwater pipe, and not a drain pipe. The clerk in the hardware store told me that the pipe in the RV was made of a recalled material. Evidently we aren't the only ones with a problem. He found a fitting to repair the pipe. I attempted to repair it before going to bed. It still leaks, but I think I can stop it tomorrow. I'm shutting off the water and going to bed.


The plaza at Mt. Rushmore

Joe and Laura at Mt. Rushmore

Crazy Horse Mountain

Welcome to Wyoming

The history of Devil's Tower

Devil's Tower

Laura at Devil's Tower

Reuter Campground

Laura takes the wheel

The view from the fire tower (el. 6500+ feet)