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An Easy Drive Across the Prairie

TBUTLER

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We left Yankton, South Dakota, on Saturday morning on our way to Denver, Colorado. We have made this trip in one day many times in the past. This trip would be different. It is Labor Day weekend and we don't have reservations in Denver until Labor Day itself. So we have all day Saturday and Sunday and part of Monday before we have a place to park in Denver.

We drove west on South Dakota Hwy. 50 until we reached US Hwy 18. This is a new route for us. I had set the GPS for Wounded Knee. We have never visited the site of this famous massacre. Despite the fact that this is a holiday weekend with expectations for record numbers of motorists on the road, the highways we are traveling are almost empty. We drive for long distances without anyone passing us. We pulled off in a small town and had lunch parked behind a gas station.

We're driving through towns with names like Gergory, Dallas, Winner, Okreek, Hidden Timber, White Horse, and Soldier Creek. The road is lined with fields of corn, sunflowers, soybeans and huge fields filled with giant rolls of hay. It has been a wet year in the prairie and the crops are abundant. We've seen quite a bit of rain during our stay in Yankton and the fields are wet so we don't see much action in the fields. Later this fall there will be a rush of harvesting once the fields dry out.

We stopped at Winner, a small town with a hotel and RV park. The owners were quite welcoming but they had no pull through sites so we drove on. They suggested that we might find a place to stay in Martin. Arriving in Martin there were no signs for campgrounds so we stopped at a Dakota Mart Grocery and Dairy Queen. We figured we could ask someone and get information about a campground and also get some ice cream, sort of killing two birds...

In the grocery store the clerk at the register told us that there was a city park that allowed overnight parking. Just go to the stop light and turn left and you will "run into the park." We grabbed some ice cream treats and went back to the motor home to check out the free wifi advertised at the Dairy Queen. It turned out to be too weak a signal at the motor home to be useful so we pulled out. We found the park just as described. After driving around the park once we circled back and parked in a spot on the swimming pool parking lot. There was a place with a sign for overnight parking. It would have worked for a small class C but there was no way I was pulling in there. There were ball fields nearby but no game was scheduled for Saturday night. Near the overnight parking lot a spirited volleyball game was underway with what looked like 20 or more participants. As the sun set, a storm rolled in. We started rocking and rolling as wind gusts of 30 to 40 miles per hour kicked up followed by a good heavy rain.

Sunday morning came with a nice sunrise and clear skies. As we left Martin just past the grocery store and Dairy Queen was a nice RV park! Amazing the clerk in the grocery didn't even think of this when we inquired the day before. The really interesting thing was that no RV park was listed on RV Park Reviews. In fact, I just checked RV Park Reviews and the park we visited the day before in Winner was not listed either. In fact, RV Park Reviews shows no RV parks at all on US Hwy 18. I need to gather information on these places and get them on the list! I had also checked the Allstays App and found that they have the motel/campground in Winner and also showed a state park and Corps of Engineers campground where US 18 crosses the Missouri River. So this part of South Dakota seems to be off the map for many sources. Good Sam lists the two parks at Pickstown where US 18 crosses the Missouri River but neither of the other two we found. So it turns out we are traveling in a kind of camping and RV no-mans-land. There are resources here but they are not easily found.



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