Rapid City South Dakota
Located near the eastern slope of the Black Hills mountain range, Rapid City is know as the "Gateway to the Black Hills."
The 2000 census recorded a population of 59,506; but driving around the city, it seems larger. The city center is compact and easy to get around in. Main boulevards are wide and traffic seems light; no traffic jams.
Rapid City seems fairly prosperous.
Agriculture, tourism, mining, logging, professional services/retail, and Ellsworth Air Force Base are the major factors in Rapid City's economy. The area is also known for the manufacture of high-value, low-bulk items that can be swiftly shipped to market or assembly centers in other parts of the nation.
As we drove around, we were struck by the numerous public parks. In fact, the Parks Division maintains approximately 1,650 acres of park land in Rapid City. The size of these parks vary from 1.5 acres at Scott Mallow Park to 210 acres at Sioux Park.
The bigger parks have baseball diamonds and soccer facilities. Some have fairly large ponds/lakes with boating.
From our, admittedly, short stay it looks like Rapid City might be a good place to live.
We're satisfied with our stay here. The RV park is roomy, although a bit run down. The wifi works well enough; slow at times and Johnna's laptop kept loosing the signal; so I hooked up the booster antenna, which seems to help. The problem may be the RV parks wide band provider rather than any thing to do with their installation.
The bathrooms are in poor condition. There are two main buildings and, in the one closest to us, the woman's bathroom is being re tiled. This doesn't bother Johnna, she seldom takes a shower in an RV facility anyway. The men's showers are only marginal as to cleanliness; there's plenty of hot water but no heat. I've checked the temp in shower stalls; it is around 50 degrees; too cold for me. The laundry room is is in better shape. All the machines work and are clean.
The temperature will drop to 15 or so tonight. Keeping the trailer warm is difficult. It wasn't built for this kind of cold weather. But with the electric heater and furnace running, the middle of the trailer is ok. The laptops are another source of heat, at least my hands don't get cold. Our little electric heater is a lot like the old pot belled stove my grandparents had back home in New Mexico. I'll turn it toward me for a while, until I'm scorching on one side; then Johnna has her turn.
Sheila, of course, doesn't mind the cold weather that much. It's snowing right now and may dump as much as an inch, which will be fine with her. Cold winds make it that much harder to venture out. I have to bundle up like an Eskimo when I walk Sheila. Tomorrow morning will be especially hard if the wind is blowing and the temperature drops to 15 or so. Hopefully it won't be, if the air is still, the cold isn't as penetrating.
We arrived in Rapid City on the 25th and so far, we've stayed close to the trailer for a couple of windy days, a rain day, a snow day and today, the worst combination, snow and wind.
Other than off days we've managed to: Drive around Custer State Park, do the Buffalo Roundup Arts Festival. The Buffalo Roundup. Back into the park to visit Sylvan Lake. Go to Mt. Rushmore. Take in a couple of Museums. And see the fall colors and more snow in Spearfish Canyon.
We've kept busy and this weekend, the 10th and 11th is the 23rd Annual
He Sapa Wacipi Na Oskate, or Pow Wow to me.
The other day I talked to an employee at the Journey Museum about the Pow Wow. She's a mix of Lokota, Cree and one other tribe l didn't catch the name of. My original question had to do with scheduling. The official Black Hills Pow Wow Association web page provides a schedule of events but, since they go on all day, I was wondering if we could time or attendance for the events that seemed interesting to us. Otherwise, we would have to be there at 8:00 AM and stay until 11:00 PM to see everything. She answered by saying the Pow Wow was a big family gathering and, like such get togethers, things happen when they happen.
She did provide a bit of information. Her children are dancers in some events and she provides food for one of the food courts. Her speciality is fry bread; she makes over 3,000 pieces in one day, starting at 3:30 AM. I also asked how I would know when it was permissible to take photographs; how could I avoid offending someone? She wasn't sure but, personally, she doesn't allow photos of her children; the way she was raised, she said. We'll have to ask.