Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Day 59 - The Badlands

The Badlands -- Valleys made via erosion
We did get up at 5:30, despite being kept up late by noisy neighbors (earplugs do occasionally come in handy). We loaded up the car and bungee-corded everything in so it wouldn't fall out. We made it to the dealer a little after 8 am and they agreed to try to work us in. So we sat in the waiting room (and I caught up on grading) for 3 hours. They finally had our van ready. The problem? Our lift gate needed a software update!  Moritz found it especially funny that we needed a software update for our trunk to work.

So, we got on the road about when we normally do -- 11 am.  We stopped for lunch almost immediately at Hardees where we ran into someone from Florida whose brother lived in Dothan.  After lunch we went to a Black Hills Gold store (aptly named "Gold Diggers") and I bought a pair of Black Hills Gold earrings to match my necklace.

Then we got on the interstate and drove to Wall, South Dakota.  What is Wall known for?  Wall Drug, of course.  They have signs for it all over the world.  My favorite picture I have is of the sign for Wall Drug outside of Centraal Station in Amsterdam.  It says something like 5397 miles to Wall Drug, Wall, South Dakota, USA.  So we had to go in -- if for no other reason than to say we'd been there.  Of course we got separated inside and it took a while to find each other, but we did get some new lip balm for David (he'd been looking for a particular type for a while and we hadn't been able to find it), plus we got a magnet for South Dakota and some doughnuts to snack on in the car. 

David in the Badlands
After leaving Wall Drug we headed south to the scenic drive through the Badlands.  It was exceptionally hot through there -- over 100 degrees.  The kids often didn't want to get out of the car, but David and I stopped at several of the overlooks.  They say it looks like the surface of the moon -- dusty and rocky.  The hills erode every time there is a major storm and they expect they will be entirely gone in 500,000 years. 

Hills in the Badlands
We also got some gifts at the gift store for my cousin Kelly's kids and David Burnham's kids.  Then we got back on the road and drove through the really boring part of South Dakota.  We stopped briefly in Mitchell, SD to see the Corn Palace.  Apparently there had been a rodeo there over the past week, so it was done up really nice.  Last time my mom and I went to the Corn Palace (in something like 1996), we saw people from Union, OR there.  Through Facebook I found out that someone from Union that I went to high school with (Holly James -- now Holly Loew) was at Mt. Rushmore the same day I was.  Too funny! 

 After the Corn Palace we drove to Sioux Falls, SD which is almost on the Minnesota border.  Although we got in really late, the people at that KOA were super nice and helpful getting us settled in.  We were staying in a cabin, so that was nice (it was 11 pm when we got in).  But, the air conditioning hadn't been on and it was still 85 degrees or so, even at 11 pm.  Despite it being quite warm in the cabin most of the night, I think everyone slept pretty well (better than in the tent).  We got up the following morning and checked out by 11 am.  The people in the KOA office said that we had fared better than some people from the Mt. Rushmore KOA during that big thunderstorm -- one family that came in said their tent was washed away by a flash flood during that storm.  Also, we read in the newspaper that several trailers on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation had been flattened by straight line wind.  Also, there were several new fires that had been started by the lightening.  So, I guess we were pretty lucky!

Today we head to David Burnham's house in St. Paul, then the next day to my cousin Kelly's house in Hayward, WI. 
The Badlands National Park

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