After several days in Silver City, NM, I decided I had best get to Madison, SD in order to establish my residence via mail forwarding. It took four days of grinding mostly on state highways. I long ago decided that is my preferred method of travel, Interstates get you there faster, but you have just the scenery and billboards. The state highways let you learn more about where you are - you can actually get a feel for the areas you are in. That done, I am heading west across South Dakota. I stopped at the Lewis & Clark rest area this morning - it's a scenic overlook and small museum about their explorations. The land was generally flat until that point, the only difference a gradual change in elevation. However, after crossing the Missouri, there is a distinct difference in the land. Rolling hills dominate for a refreshing change. I am headed for the Badlands.

The Badlands are very cool indeed. I stayed one night since only electricity was provided at those campsites. But I saw lots of very different scenery, including antelope in the grassland. The next morning, I ran into a lot of fog after exiting the park. And it seemed like every half mile or so, I would see another hawk or eagle perched on a telephone pole, tree, or fencepost. I am guessing the heavy damp air made it more conducive to sit and watch for a meal. And then, uh-oh - trouble. My check engine light came on. I stopped, and checked the oil. It looked like a tad low, but I was nowhere near an auto parts store nor a convenience store. I eventually found an auto parts store in Rapid City and bought and added some oil. But it did not make the light go out. Since the engine had not acted abnormally, I decided to press on into the Black Hills since they were very close. They are a small isolated mountain range. The name comes from Lakota Paha Sapa - translated to Black Hills - they appear very dark from a distance due to heavy tree growth. I also drove through Lead (pronounced leed) and Deadwood. Both are former mining towns that are now mostly tourist attractions. Deadwood is an absolute tourist trap with gambling. I found it somewhat depressing as a result. I stayed at a somewhat remote RV park / gas station / convience store / restaurant called Steel Wheel. They run a good operation, the RV sites were good and the bathroom/showers and laundry facility were very nice and clean. The next day, I made my way back to Rapid City on I90 and spotted a Camping World store from the interstate. I exited and made my way there, hoping to get a service appointment for the engine light. I was referred to a truck dealer in town where Camping World sends their service needs. This was Friday, Oct. 3rd. I could not get an appointment until Monday afternoon, but I elected to wait. They found the issue, but the NOX sensors needed were just out of stock, so they were ordered for Tuesday. Back I went on Tuesday, and the problem was solved. Kudos to Eddie's Truck Center for a good job. There are bighorn sheep in the black hills too, I passed several caution bighorn sheep crossing signs on the highways. They are even within the city limits - they come down off the hills to graze on the nice grass in a city park along hwy. 144.