This is Eldy speaking.....Hey, folks, hang onto your hats! Sparky drove the motorhome!!!!!! I decided it was about time and put my foot down! She drove for an hour, but she drove the motorhome. For the first time, he's right (not for the first time, I mean, he's usually right...I really did need to drive the big rig for experience. (What was that, Sparky? What did you say? I'M USUALLY RIGHT???? Everybody heard that, right?) Ahem! As I was saying, it wasn't bad, we picked a really straight stretch, and instead of trying to explain all the gauges all at once, Eldy did it in stages, and then I felt more comfortable behind the wheel. There wasn't any wind, there was only one construction zone and the orange cones were only on one side, I can handle that! I drove from one rest stop to another, and decided that was enough for one day! (She'll be back in the driver's seat, folks, she needs some more practice.) That I do, sweetie...practice with bridges, cement barriers, cones on both sides, wind, etc. etc. I think I just talked myself out of driving for quite some time! And I think I just heard a big (sigh!) from E.
|Cool colors! Even more awesome after a rainstorm or early in the morning or late in the day...|
Erosion rates suggest that they will erode away completely in another 500,000 years. Glad people will be able to see them for a long, long time!
|Weird how they come up from totally flat ground all around some of the formations|
The only animals we saw today were prairie dogs and mountain goats as we passed through the park....but there are black footed ferrets, big horn sheep, prairie rattlesnakes, bobcats, fox, bison, and coyotes should you be so lucky to see one of those...
The park is divided into two parts--the North Unit and the South Unit. Certain parts of the South Unit contain many sites sacred to the Oglala Lakota Indian culture. What's also interesting about the South Unit is that 122,000 acres were used as an aerial bombing range during World War II. Much of the South Unit remains largely undeveloped and that's a good thing. The park newspaper talks about still clearing the area of unexploded bombs that litter the area and that cell phones can detonate those devices!
There are some great hiking trails off the main road through the park...they range from .75 miles to 10 miles, taking you through the buttes and spires....
There is another interesting tour not too far from the Badlands---the Minuteman Missile site, home of an underground launch center and missile silo. The site, Delta-09 is located on the south side of interstate 90, exit 116. We did not have time to check this out today, although we would have liked to, being kids having grown up in the Cold War era.
After driving through the badlands, that's when Eldy turned the wheel over to Sparky and she did her short stint as a driver....Back to you, Eldo! We landed in Mitchell, S.D. for the night, boondocking in the great Cabela's parking lot, which is VERY RV friendly...they have a free dump station for RVers, picnic tables at a little park with a pond, and it's very clean and safe to stay there. We still didn't put out any slides, it's just polite not to look like you have moved in for the weekend when you stay in free places. There were at least five rigs of varying sizes pulled up side by side in the parking lot, and one person did have their bedroom slide out...tch! tch! Had we had more time, we would have checked out this year's decorations at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, which decorates the front and the insides of this meeting center with all kinds of grains and artwork each year. But--we'll have to wait till next year, on to Sioux Falls, S.D. tomorrow morning. Sparky is going to switch her Indiana plates to S.D. plates and get a S.D. driver's license. The price difference between Indiana and South Dakota is huge when it comes to licensing plates. We'll let you know the costs tomorrow...see you at the license branch!