Badlands NP, South Dakota
Let's see it's Wednesday, so we must be where? I have to stop and think because I've been going at warp speed for a few days. I was back in Verdi, NV, one week ago today, doing laundry, catching up on mail, washing cars, cleaning the rig, recovering from Mt. Whitney ...all in two days. Saturday morning, very early, I jumped on a plane in Sacramento, CA, heading for Pittsburgh,PA. This will be the second time this summer I have headed for Pittsburgh. However, this time my return trip to the West will be in John's motor home, instead of my little Class C. John drove from Clearfield to Pittsburgh to retrieve me from the airport so I could join him on his journey back to S. Cal. My mission: to act as a relief driver, co-pilot, part-time navigator, and subtly nag him to remind him not to get too tired, and to have fun on a his mini vacation during his sojourn back to Southern California. We are going via the most practical northern route (trying to stay out of heat and tornadoes) and then on to Central Oregon to pick up his Kayak and then on to California. It may take a little longer, but after pushing through 95 degree temperatures in Iowa and Nebraska a few weeks ago, it just seem more prudent to try and avoid the heat.
So far since Saturday, we have blitzed through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming and are currently in Montanta ..somewhere..I think Bozeman. Dorothy, we aren't in Kansas anymore, thats for sure. Its been awesome watching the countryside zoom by In John's big rig. It's a whole different perspective sitting up much higher and looking out of the huge bus type window than an my little Class C. I have been amazed it how green South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana have been. Apparently the late season rains have really contributed to all of the greeness and abundance of wildflowers.
We have stayed in free camping...Flying Js and Walmarts along the way. After all, and there is no point in paying big bucks at an RV park for a nights rest when you have all you need in your home on wheels .But there are drawbacks. On Sunday I programmed the Garmin to direct us to a Walmart in Iowa City only to be navigated through the heart of this old college town to a parking lot behind a health club. We decided to stay forgetting the next morning was a Monday, and it being Monday health fanatics most likely would be going to the gym early. John had a knock on the door and the proprietor of the health club politely asked him to move the rig a head slightly in order to clear the way for parking. Needless to say, we were on the road by 5:30 A.M. or so that morning. The glories of a home on wheels. Just turn the key and go. Also, a lesson to confirm the address the GPS gives you.
John and I are both morning people so we have been up and at'm before the sun has a chance to rise too far. Sunday and Monday were both 600 mile days. We switched drivers every 100 miles or so and we managed to make it to The Badlands National Park just east of Rapid City, South Dakota late Monday afternoon. We spent the next day sight seeing including a loop through the Badlands, Mount Rushmore and the infamous Wall Drugs at Wall, South Dakota. Mount Rushmore was O.K. There is no charge to get into the mounument BUT they charge $10.00 to park your vehicle. We opted not to contribute to the concessnaire and were able to take pictures and see the monument just fine. I think $10.00 is a little much for parking. I wish we had more time in the area. There is easily a weeks worth of stuff to see and that could be easily stretched to two weeks if you like to hike or mountain bike.
North Dakota Badlands
Badlands NP. Amazing how green everything is.
Early morning in the Badlands.
Its very windy. Note the wind breaks.
Mountain sheep and good food in the Badlands.
Checking out the vittles
Friendly Prairy Dogs
Mt Rushmore. They look pretty serious.
Profile of you know who.
Wall Drugs started out as a small drug store in the early 1930's in a one horse town called Wall. The owner's started offering free ice water to travelers in order to drum up business and it worked. Today its a multi-million dollar enterprise....(ummm tourist trap). They still offer free ice water and 5 cent coffee as well as a bazillion tee shirts, nic nacs, Christmas stuff, food, etc. You name it you probably can find it here. I was so overwhelmed I didn't take any pictures.
Now we are dead heading for Oregon to see Sandi and retrieve one of John's Kayaks as well as take a few days off. If we are lucky, we will catch up with the WINs and/or take a float or two down a nearby river. Stay tuned.