From the Badlands we continued our trek east across South Dakota. Once we had finished our business in South Dakota, we needed to make a decision about where we were headed. Our choices were to go north and west into Montana, or north and east, through South Dakota, and into Minnesota. After much discussion and we opted for east through South Dakota, to be followed by a northerly trip through part of North Dakota, then east again, this time through northern Minnesota.
Since we were now residents of SD, we qualified for a resident pass for entry into their state parks, and we loved the state parks in SD. First stop, Farm Island State Recreation Area, in Pierre, SD. First, let me tell you that I have always pronounced the capital of South Dakota as, "Pee-air" and so have all the folks I've known. So imagine my surprise to discover that the residents of this charming city call it, "Peer", as do apparently, all South Dakotans. It took some getting used to, and still sounds a little odd to me.
Pierre is a very nice small town, capital city. And the residents are extremely proud of their town, with its museums, and State Capital Building. They are also proud of their state park system and make good use of it.
At Farm Island, there are lots of campsites, reasonably spaced and loads of families enjoying the area. Since we arrived on a Thursday, late in the afternoon, we were given, for one night, a handicap accessible site, as the only one available. We were told that if someone needed the site the next day we would have to relinquish it, which we understood. As it turned out, we were able to stay on that site through the weekend and went online to reserve a riverfront site that was to be vacated by Monday at 4PM. Add to this the fact that many SD parks offer free Wi-Fi, and the fact that the cost with electricity was only $18 a night, we felt like we had hit the lottery.
Monday afternoon came, and since check out wasn't officially till 4PM, we decided to unhook, and go grocery shopping while we waited to move to our riverfront site. We came back around 3:45, and the folks on the site we had reserved showed no signs of leaving. At 4PM, when they still hadn't even begun to pack up, we began to get antsy. So, I called the office to be sure that we were correct about the site number. The Ranger suggested we go and talk to the folks. Raymond went over, explained to the wife that we had a reservation for that site and were waiting for them to pack up. Apparently, she was a little rude. Ray came back to the RV and I began to fume. The date on their post said that they should've already been checked out. Our reservation sticker said that it was now our site. I'm guessing they had simply thought they would stay up, without bothering to check either with the office or with the website. Worse, they didn't want to even talk to Raymond, who is extremely reasonable.
While we sat across from the site, the husband returned in his truck, I'm guessing that his wife called him. When he returned to the site, they began to break down the camp. He then got in his truck and went to the office, ostensibly to find another site, we imagined. Now, let me just say that if we had this all to do over again, we would've simply holds them to stay up and we'd pick another riverfront site. But, at that moment in time, we were hot, tired of waiting, and put off by how rude the woman had been to Raymond's initial contact. And, even at that moment, had they simply asked to stay put, we probably would've found another site. But, as I said, we were hot and irritated. And truth be told, I was REALLY annoyed by them, fairly or not. Yeah, I know, what kind of Christ follower am I, anyway? At that time, in that moment, a hot, sweaty, pissed off that we followed the rules and they didn't, and that she was rude to my husband who doesn't have a mean bone in his body, one!
Finally, by 5:15 they managed to clear the site, with their trailer, car, boat, truck, kid and dog and move several sites away. Just enough time for me to feel like a poop for not suggesting that they stay put while we found another spot.
We stayed for an additional four days and enjoyed our view of the Missouri River and our hikes around the Farm Island area. In retrospect, I wish I had taken photos of the water lines still evident on the trees, from the spring 2011 floods. It is amazing that the entire campground was flooded a year before our visit and that the water lines still visible were three to four feet above the ground. Instead, I took multiple pictures of sunsets and flowers.