Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Badlands of South Dakota

Odometer 33542
Trip miles 293 miles

We really hoped that today would be sunny, but it just didn't happen. Every time I woke up last night, I heard rain on on the roof, when we woke up at 7:45-rain on the roof. By the time we finished breakfast, the rain had finally slacked off and I took the opportunity to get out and un-hook our utilities and get ready to roll.

We were surprised that there was no welcome center when we crossed over into South Dakota from Minnesota, and as we approached Chamberlain, more or less half way across SD we saw a sign for the welcome center at the next exit- we went for it- and good thing we did.

The Welcome Center was a beautiful building on a high bluff above the Missouri River.

  While we were in the Welcome Center we started a conversation with another couple who were looking at the same display we were.  Turns out that Joanne and Gary are from Bothell, Washington, travelling in a Winnebago, going towards Mt. Rushmore, they own a Goldwing... the more we talked, the more we realized we had in common!  As we talked it was revealed that Joanne and Joan had similar medical histories...Hmmm.

We left the Welcome Center and returned to I-90 west, crossing over the Missouri River.  The terrain has turned into steep ups and downs.  We climbed onto a high grassland only to plunge into a deep ravine, and repeat.  As we neared Murdo, we were looking for a place to pull over and fix lunch.  Murdo is home to the "World Famous Pioneer Auto Show".  We parked across the street in a large parking lot and made soup and sandwiches while Joan and I debated going to the museum.  By the end of lunch we had decided that today was already full enough and we'd see the museum next time through.

As we left Murdo we crossed over into Mountain Time and gained an hour of time.

Another 60 miles down I-90 we took exit 131 towards the Badlands National Park.  Gotta love the Senior Pass- we saved $15 and got free admission to the park- thanks Uncle Sam!

Right away we came to the Big Badlands Overlook and the views were spectacular.

Someone at Adroit, please tell Kristen that we are getting good use out of the windbreakers that we got at Jeff's retirement party!  Kristen was worried they wouldn't be heavy enough, but they worked great for this 57 degree day- as a matter of fact- I think we've used them in just about every state we have visited.
We could have spent a full day here and we were really dissappointed that we didn't get even a glimmer of sun, which would have put some color and depth into the vistas.

We exited the Badlands Park onto highway 240 which took us to the now famous Wall, SD and Wall Drug.

There is no way you can miss the signs for Wall Drug on the highway.  400 miles away we started seeing the first of them.  Wall Drug is more than just a pharmacy- in reality it is a mini-mall with a little bit of everything, however, all the shops in the mall are under the same ownership.  Wall Drug manages to attract some 2 million customers a year to this small town.  It's a real hoot and is not to be missed!

We left Wall with still more than 60 miles to go to our final destination, the Heartland RV Park in Hermosa, SD.  Even though we had gained an extra hour today we still didn't get into our RV spot until a little after 6 PM.  This park accepts the  Passport America 50% discount and, it's only 20 miles from Mt. Rushmore, where we plan to visit tomorrow.

The weather forecast calls for some morning fog, but otherwise sunny and maybe low 70s - Allright!

Another good note- the crack on the windshield did not grow at all today, but it is still 10" long... When we get back to Oregon we'll deal with that issue- hope Thane has some space in his shop for us.

Your Traveling Friends

Joan and Jeff

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