I’m sure we all have that “funny feeling”. That “little voice”. A “6th Sense” that tells us, before “it” even happens, that something is off. Something just ain’t right. Personally, I refer to it as my Compass. It’s not always a life threatening situation or in any way, a big deal. Sometimes (most times), it’s just a little thing. An inconvenient thing. We all have a certain level of balance in our lives and if you’re in tune to it, just the slightest tip can sway the scales. That tremor can take a long while to settle back and while you’re waiting, you just keep second guessing.
It’s the end of summer and the end of the tourist season here in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Which means its the best time to visit. The roads are open, the crowds are gone, the weather is perfection, our favorite campground is still full to capacity, the wildlife is….. wait what? Why the hell are the campgrounds still full?! Don’t you people have jobs to go back to and kids that need to be in school? Crap, I’l have to find another site, let’s see what Yelp has to say.
Wow, what do you know? Our favorite place, Rafter J Bar Ranch is rated #1. Doesn’t surprise me, I always did have good taste. What’s this one here rated #2? Pictures look nice. 4.4 stars with over 100 reviews. OK, let’s call them up. “Hi, yes, we need a site for a few days. You do? Wonderfull. We’ll be there in 2 hours”. Click.
2 hours later….
“Dad, where’s this road take us?”
“Tony, are you sure you’re going the right way?”
“Dad, there’s no cell signal out here.”
“Hun, slow down, I’m getting sick.”
Ever shoe-horn a 40’ RV into a can of sardines? Well there’s a first for everything (and a last). Welcome to Horse Thief RV Camp. Home of 15’ wide RV’s in 20’ wide spots, parked sideways on a 30% slope. Sure they have Wifi, it just doesn’t do anything. Sure you get a cell signal, if you send your phone up in a weather ballon. Sure they have 5 acres of grass fields with nobody (I mean NOBODY) around. But the second you let your dogs run and play, the leash nazi pops up like a whack-a-mole, to bark at you about it. Wait, why the efff do they have so much prime grass camping fields, but we’re all crammed in these dirt pads?
I really, really try hard, not to be a complainer. I believe you are responsible for your situation, no matter what, so suck it up and deal with it. So I’m not complaining about this, I’m just getting back to my original point. When I saw the Yelp page, when I made the phone call, when I arrived in the Black Hills, when we first lost cell coverage, when we pulled into the registration, I had that “feeling”. I even went so far as to call Rafter J again, before we pulled in here, just to see if there had been any cancelations. My compass was off, I knew it, and I ignored it. Now I’ll own it.
So here I am, getting caught up on the blog, at 5am. We’re leaving back to Wyoming today and looking forward to better (camping) horizons. We will miss the Black Hills. We always do. This area is truly magical and if you ever get the chance, please don’t miss it. Look past the tourist t-shirt shops and biker bars. Take a long, slow drive along Route 16a. Bring a picnic and marvel at the scenery. I’ll personally refund your trip if you don’t like it.