It’s true, you can grill anything. As a child, my dad taught me to treasure a good grill, specifically a charcoal Weber. While we await repairs on our propane tank in the Westy, we are cooking all of our meals on a small 20x10 inch propane mini-grill. It turns out to be a great substitute! Saturday night we grilled bison steak (bought locally in South Dakota), chicken breasts (bought locally at the Walmart), and corn on the cob. It was fantastic! Tom even fashioned a grill stand before we left Chicago out of one of the two Westy tables. It really came in handy that night as it was downpouring for most of the evening. Sunday morning we grilled eggs, yes... eggs. We made little tinfoil “cups” and cracked a few eggs in each, then sealed up the top and tossed them on the grill. Voila! The eggs steamed themselves in a few minutes. We also put a tinfoil packet of kale on the grill and that turned out perfectly. Give us a few weeks and you don’t even know what else we might think to toss on there! (PB&J? Soup? Who knows!)
Chillin and grillin in the Westy
Saturday we spent the morning driving into Rapid City, SD with the intention of seeing Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Mountain, and climbing Harney Peak (the high point of South Dakota). On our way out from Chicago, we had been feeling that the Westy was pulling a little to the left. Given the worn out bearing on that side, we decided to get the alignment checked in town. Two mornings at the mechanic in two days! After getting everything sorted out, we headed over for a glimpse of Mount Rushmore. It was very impressive and worth the stop.
When we got to Harney Peak, we started out in a light drizzle, but then the thunderstorms moved in. We decided that since the next day forecast was for sunshine and 70 degrees, we would wait one day and try again. On our way to our campsite we stopped by to see the partially completed Crazy Horse Mountain. We had been warned that it was a pretty big tourist trap, so we just viewed it from the road. Even at that distance, you could tell that it will be really impressive once it’s completed.
Westy visits Mt. Rushmore
Our campsite for the night was awesome. Quiet and tucked away in a wooded valley a ways off the main road, it was by far the most peaceful night we’ve had so far. It poured like crazy, but we were able to grill out under the awning and stay comfy and dry in the Westy. Sunday morning we were up with the sun, cooked breakfast, and broke camp by 7:30am. We headed back to Harney Peak for a glorious hike to the summit. The view was really clear and the temperature was perfect. It was a moderate 3.5 miles to the top with really pretty pine forest and beautiful rock formations all around. On the way back we took an alternate route which was just as picturesque. Completing Harney brings my total of high points to 8 and Tom’s total to 22!
Harney Peak, Highpoint of South Dakota, Elev 7242 ft.
After completing Harney, we headed north to Amidon, ND to complete the high point there. White Butte is on private property about 5-6 miles off the highway on a gravel road. It took about 4 1/2 hours to get there and when we did, no one was home. So we called and left a message (their phone number is in the US Highpointers guide) letting them know we were headed up to the peak. The access "road" had a road closed sign, but the Westy managed to navigate the two-track, overgrown path just fine! We parked by an abandoned farmhouse and hiked the one mile to the summit. The trail was very faint and at times disappeared altogether, only to reappear on the other side of a meadow or rock formation. It was a gorgeous piece of land and a great 360 degree view from the top. We summited just before sunset so everything was in a pretty orange light. White Butte made 9 highpoints for me and 23 for Tom! We are really racking them up.
White Butte, Highpoint of North Dakota, Elev 3506 ft.
After spending the night in North Dakota, today (Monday) we are headed across Montana. Big sky country here we come!
With love from the Westy,
Tom and Lisa