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  • Writer's pictureherndonz

The Pink Moon

We were up early and bound for Fort Pierre, SD. It took us all day, but we got in around 7:30 PM which was deceiving because Fort Pierre is on the west side of the Missouri River which marks the central time zone from the mountain time zone.

The RV park was new and small. It sat on a cliff overlooking the river. The owner/manager showed up in her 4-wheeler and took us in the new cinderblock building that served as the office, bathhouse, laundry room, game room, and meeting room. Then she mentioned it was also a shelter if needed. The office had a dozen candy dishes, each with a local sweet free for the taking. She told us about the sights and gave us pamphlets, giving us the inside scoop on points of interest. The building was spotless and inviting. She told us we could have any space we wanted; we picked the one at the edge of the cliff so we could overlook the river. Of course, riverside spaces were more expensive! But we were on the trip of a lifetime!! We paid. The park was so new that jersey wall barriers had not yet been installed and the spaces had not been marked off. We parked parallel to the river and made ourselves at home.

A full PINK moon rose about 9:30 in a dusky sky, not even dark yet. We watched it rise in wonder. We were later getting to bed that night because night seemed to be so late in coming. Then at 1:30 AM, our phone alarms startled us from our sleep. I checked mine to see “TORNADO WATCH FOR THIS AREA—80 MPH WINDS EXPECTED!” I read it aloud to Rick who said that it wasn’t for us. I read it aloud again including the areas listed. Although we weren’t familiar with most of the names, we did recognize Fort Pierre. I asked Rick, “Can 80 MPH winds move this camper?”

He said, “YES…right over this cliff!!” We quick pulled off the front window tarp, unhooked the camper and moved it beside the office/shelter. Little did we know that “SHELTER” would be what we needed. Once inside, a calm peaceful atmosphere enveloped us. People were putting puzzles together, playing Uno, playing rummy, reading, and two were in recliners sleeping. Every 15 minutes, someone would check the storm’s path and let everyone know what was happening. After a little over an hour, we got the “ALL CLEAR” notice. We moved our camper back to its place, but not quite so close to the edge and tried to go back to sleep. It’s hard when adrenalin is pumping.

The next morning we went back to the office to get some travel advice about visiting Yellowstone. The owner told us that the storm that had passed through last night had knocked out a bridge at Yellowstone and the park was being evacuated. No word on when it would re-open. Yellowstone was supposed to be our next stop. We decided to take advantage of local attractions with the hopes that it would reopen in a day or two. With the advice of the campground owner, we headed for the Badlands.

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