Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Day 45 - Badlands by Day, Bad Weather by Night

Badlands is a term used to denote a certain area that is marked by extensive erosion and is not suitable for agriculture.  We had seen badlands before in New Mexico and especially Utah but today we went to the official badlands, the one with a capital B, Badlands National Park.  The road through the northern part of the park runs between the badlands to the south and Buffalo Gap National Grasslands on the north side of the road.  So on one side of the road is an area that was impossible to farm and on the other was the rich prairie the white settlers used to create the incredible stretch of uninterrupted farms of the American Midwest.   The park attempts to preserve the original grasslands that once covered the entire Midwest but are now mostly corn and soybean fields.  In that refuge we saw prairie dogs, bison and even a coyote.  The Badlands Park proper held Bighorn Sheep and some magnificent rock formations which apparently are wearing away at about an inch a year.   It is a good thing we got to this trip this year!  The fact that the road had deeply eroded canyons on one side and flat prairie on the other  was symbolic as much of our trip has been in canyons because they look cool and would now be giving up that wild west scenery for the vast plains in the center of the country not to return to them, at least on this trip.

The top two pictures were taken early in the day.  The bottom one shows the black sky accompanying the first and the mildest of the three storms that moved through

We saw plenty of wildlife during the day and then had plenty of wild weather.  To quote from the Weather Channel, “A long-lived squall line known as a derecho ripped across a swath from South Dakota to Wisconsin Monday morning, leaving widespread damage in a path that also included northern Iowa and parts of southern Minnesota.”  Apparently we got lucky as some states had tornados but the wind was strong enough to push the sides of the tent all the way to the poor soul that was stuck in it which was Larry.  Michelle had been doing wash when all hell broke loose at about 9:30 pm and she waited for a lull then just ducked into the car for the night.    The storm did abate for a little while and then came back with the winds going in the opposite direction pushing in the other side of the tent waking Larry back up.   It finally gave up for good at about 2:30 and we both settled into sleep in our respective shelters.  You have to give credit to the REI tent as everything in it was still dry in the morning given the strength of the storm.
You haven't been to South Dakota until you have been to Wall Drug.  Our campsite had a fine view of the other side of those silos.  Michelle's comment was that at least they are shiny

There are still lots of motorcyclists wandering around the area enjoying the scenery

Hobson keeps finding new ways to tell us he thinks he is going to die. Never noticed this one before.

Regular Features
Statistics Corner
States involved: We stayed in South Dakota all day..

We only charged at the campground that night after riding through the badlands,  Even through all the rain and lightening Hobson soaked up the necessary energy to get through the couple of hundred miles. 

Song of the Day: Home on the Range – we saw buffalo roaming and deer playing today.  We saw the antelope yesterday.

Coolest Car of the day: I think these Packards are insanely ugly and the fact they are derived from a Studebaker that I believe is so attractive one of them won car of the day on Day 1 makes them that much more of an astounding automobile.  Studebaker absorbed the failing Packard company and attempted to badge engineer a 2-seat sports car for them.  Decisions like that might be one of the reasons you can no longer buy either brand.

Church of the day:Inside Wall Drug which anyone riding I-90 knows is a tourist trap in Wall, SD there is a chapel.  The town is seemingly barely larger than the drugstore itself.  We should have prayed while there for  US Womens Soccer as we watched them lose in a shootout while at dinner.

Coolest Thing of the Day – Larry - Seeing the original prairie still preserved over a large area..
Coolest Thing of the Day – Michelle - The badlands

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