We are at the Cabela's store in Rapid City, South Dakota (map). We had actually planned to be, instead, at the Walmart just a couple miles west of here, but when we arrived there the lot was posted No Overnight RV Parking, even though it was not listed that way in our directory. It thus joins Spearfish, halfway to Sturgis, as the only NOP Walmarts in the state. Presumably for the same reason -- too close to Sturgis and thus a complete zoo during the Black Hills Classic (even the BLM closes down its campgrounds during the rally).
Speaking of which, we did drive through Sturgis on our way here. We didn't even stop; no point, really, when the rally is not in progress, unless you are a T-shirt collector. It's basically a one-exit detour off I-90, and we dropped south one block to trundle down Main Street, something not possible during the rally. I'm glad we at least put eyes on the place, and, who knows, we may yet return there some year during the rally itself.
Before we managed to get on the road yesterday, the heavens opened and we drove most of the day in the rain. I'm certain the hills in the distance would have been lovely if we could have seen them, but instead we settled for the rustic scenery closer-in, highlighted by spectacular lightning strikes in the distance. US-212 brought us all the way to Belle Fourche, which still reminds me of the John Wayne/Bruce Dern classic The Cowboys. From there we bypassed some of I-90, saving a few miles in the process, by taking SD-34 through St. Onge. We joined I-90 north of Sturgis, and, other than the Sturgis detour, remained on it all the way to Rapid City and the aforementioned Walmart.
We're in Rapid City because we ultimately decided yesterday to head to the Badlands, rather than taking the shorter route to Madison which would have been to remain on SD-34. We'd still like to be in Madison by Monday, which means we'll again only get a single night in the Badlands, but unlike four years ago (and, yes, I know I wrote that I hoped it would not be a full four years before returning), we won't have to race through it to beat the clock. We'll also come in the alternative route, taking SD-44 from here to the little town of Scenic, South Dakota and then entering the park from the south via Interior, South Dakota.
We had a pleasant and quiet night here at Cabela's, and we even pulled a scooter out and road across the freeway to the Dakotah Steak House for a nice dinner. In a few minutes we will avail ourselves of the deli inside Cabela's for lunch, then use their dump station and head south to connect to SD-44 en route to Scenic.