We spent six days at Hart Ranch in Rapid City and had a wonderful time. We enjoyed walking around the campground, swimming, sitting in the jacuzzi, riding bikes and relaxing. Ben really enjoyed all the amenities at Hart Ranch and found lots of friends to play with. He did the BMX track on his bicycle , played putt putt, foosball, air hockey, and spent a morning a kids camp.
On July 3 we drove to Mt. Rushmore in the evening because we had heard that it was really amazing to see it lit up at night. I was expecting laser lights or some colored lights, but after listening to a 20 minute oral presentation, flood lights illuminated the four presidents. My advice would be to go during the day when the skies are a beautiful blue and all of the area is open for walking around.
On July 4 it was great weather to participate in activities around Hart Ranch. We went into Rapid City in the evening for dinner, a shopping trip to Walmart, and were hoping to see the fireworks. While in Walmart the skies opened up and we were caught in a torrential downpour!!! Blinding rain and high winds. No fireworks, of course, and a scary ride back to Hart Ranch.
On July 5 we left Rapid City and headed for Chimney Rock, Nebraska. Chimney Rock is a prominent rock formation in western Nebraska. It is 300 feet above the North Platte River valley. Chimney Rock served as a landmark along the Oregon Trail, the California Trail, and the Mormon Trail during the mid-19th century. The trails ran along the north side of the rock, which remains a visible landmark for modern travelers along U.S. Route 26 and Nebraska Highway 92.
A picture of us by the visitor’s center sign transposed in front of Chimney Rock
We were not able to walk up to the rock or get any closer than the Visitor’s Center which was disappointing, because apparently we would have to cross private land to get any nearer.
The top of Chimney Rock taken with the iPhone through a telescope we could look through
The Chimney Rock Museum had an interesting video about the history of Chimney Rock the pioneers who headed west and the Pony Express. It was interesting to read that the Pony Express only lasted 18 months. Tom and I both remembered learning about the Pony Express in elementary school, but both of us were under the impression it lasted longer that eighteen months!
The Pony Express Trail
Those riders were some skinny guys. Ben weighs exactly 120 pounds! I wonder how young was young???
There was also an interactive display for kids to load a wagon with the necessary provisions to make the trip westward. Ben loaded the wagon with the provisions he wanted to take and the lights on the back display when his load was too heavy.
We arrived at Terry Bison Ranch in Cheyenne, Wyoming in the evening, ate dinner and then walked down to see the animals.
- Miles driven today: 313
- Total miles driven: 3,226 in Big Hat and 1,493 in the CRV for a total of 4,719 miles
- Gas today was $2.729 a gallon for a total of $144.7