Home Away From Home, South Dakota

The Chapel in the Hills

We got off to a very slow start this morning. First, I slept until nearly 8:30, totally unheard of for me as I am generally an early riser. I asked Jerry why he didn’t awaken me and he said he figured I needed the rest. Perhaps I did. The other thing holding us back was changing RV sites. When I had made the reservations earlier the only way I could get five nights was to split up the stay into two sites. Fortunately, the site we were headed to was right across so we could easily get in. The problem was an 11:00 checkout time which the folks there took full advantage of. No problem though, I understand. They pulled out about 10:30. By that time we had had our showers, breakfast and had gotten the coach ready for the short ride. Interestingly enough the same things that we do for a long ride we do for a short ride across the street. I drove the coach across and up the incline as Jerry directed me. We were parked and set up in no time.

We had decided to ride over to Hill City and Rapid City today so I took some things out to the car in preparation for our little jaunt. I went back into the coach, leaned over to pick something up off of the sofa and was gripped by the most intense pain ever in my back. I fell to the floor remembering labor pains. Jerry walked in the door and unfortunately, I scared him to death. He was wondering where the nearest medical facility was. I laid on the floor for a few minutes and then hobbled to the bed and got on a heating pad plus I took two aleve. Jerry had earlier prepared our picnic lunch to go so about an hour later we had our picnic – it in the coach.

My back eased off some so we headed to Rapid City with our first stop being Hill City. Hill City seems to be a small town with little shops and several restaurants not to mention breweries and wineries. We walked around for a few minutes, went in the Farmer’s Daughters shop, an eclectic shop with outdoor ornaments, lots of cute signs for indoors like “Be strong I whisper to my WiFi” and made in the store cotton candy! We also saw some pretty cool metal sculptures made from scrap metal. Along with farming tools and implements placed throughout the sculpture, we could see five horse bronze sculptures, a man’s face, and some flowers. Supposedly there were also iron feathers but we didn’t’ find them.

Jerry chatting with President Calvin Collidge
Next, we headed to Rapid City where the temperature had climbed to 86 degrees, quite a difference from the cool temps we’ve been enjoying in Custer. Of course, 2000 feet in elevation could make a pretty big difference. In Rapid City, we were lucky to snag a parking place right on Main Street. We walked down to Main Street Square, took a seat in the shade and watched the young children enjoy the water park. Then we walked a couple of blocks each way looking in the various shops and stopping at each presidential statue. It was just too hot to find all of the presidents!

Our next stop was the Chapel in the Hills which made the visit to Rapid City worth the ride. What a peaceful, calming oasis in the middle of a city. The Chapel was built in 1969 as a ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. It is an exact replica of the famous Borgund Stavkirke of Laerdal, Norway which was constructed in the 1100’s.

You enter the chapel by the ambulatory, a walkway that encircles the chapel. The ambulatory was used during inclement rain or for men to leave their guns there as guns were not permitted in the church. At the altar there lies a Bible, a cross and candles symbolizing a Christian church. To the left is a sliding door used by Lepers. They were not permitted to enter the church but were not excluded from taking communion.

As we entered the Chapel, we pressed a button to start a CD which explained the significance of each part of the chapel. At the end, we listened to a hymn sung as we very reverently lifted our eyes and hearts heavenward.

At the apex of the chapel is a rooster illustrating Peter’s denial of Christ by the time the rooster crowed three times. Outside is a prayer walk which is set aside as a place of meditation, a silent nook. We did not take the walk as I was hesitant to go too far with a bad back. There is also a museum there with many relics from days gone past.

Afterward, we made our first visit to Walmart since we left home. Guess we prepared pretty well but we are finally needing to restore our depleted supplies. We were getting warnings for a severe thunderstorm warning for Pennington County so I asked at checkout where Pennington County was. The lady informed me that I was in Pennington county. I must look like an RVer because after she asked where I was from she said if I was in an RV I better take cover. We ran into some light rain on the back to the campground but nothing severe.

We thought we might get some rain so we nixed our plans to grill pork chops and instead had leftovers. Tomorrow is our last day in Custer so I pray my back will allow us to do everything we plan to!

I got a visit in with George H.W. Bush.

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