It's Good to Be in the Badlands

Trip Start Apr 20, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , South Dakota
Saturday, May 19, 2012

It's a long straight road out of Custer, South Dakota. Today, we’ll be driving through the Badlands and making our way to Minneapolis at best and Sioux Falls at worst.

When we’re at least 200 miles west of the Badlands, we start seeing signs every few exits for Wall Drug. The billboards advertise buffalo burgers, 5 cent coffee, t-shirts, free ice water, popcorn and of course fun for the entire family. Bret visited Wall Drug maybe 20 years ago with his grandparents, and we haven’t eaten lunch yet, so we decide to stop and grab a bite before heading into the Badlands.

Wall Drug cannot really be explained. When asking a fellow traveler to describe the scene, they simply give a knowing nod and say, "Wall Drug". Feel free to check it out if you’re in the area…

We decide to try another buffalo burger at a saloon that’s filled with old games and slot machines and 70s –style booths. The burger is not in the same category as the one we had in Cody, but it’ll tide us over until dinner. We continue on to the Badlands.

The badlands…Within a mile of driving past the entrance, we are blown away. Huge striped mountains of rock have been carved out of what might have previously just been prairie land over millions of years. It’s super windy so running out of the car and to the edge of the overlooks to take the perfect picture is an adventure in itself. But it’s totally worth it.

The drive, along with all the jumping in and out of the car at photo opportunities, takes us about two hours. We also spend time watching a new town of prairie dogs, and snap a picture of another bighorn sheep chewing on a pile of grass at his feet, overlooking the Badlands.

As we drive past the Yellow Mounds of the Badlands, I spot a coyote prancing amid a field on the left side of the road. Of course, we slow down…alright, we completely stop the car to take some pictures.

We wish we could stay longer but we still have something like 500 miles until Minneapolis, so we just get back onto I-90.

As we continue to Sioux Falls, South Dakota – our new destination since we realize there’s no way we’ll make it to Minneapolis today – we see more big storm clouds rolling past with hints of lightning all around.

We decide to motel it once again and find the Brimark Inn. It’s a decent motel with free breakfast in the morning, so we give it a go.

For dinner, we order a medium pizza for delivery and watch our first Saturday Night Live in several weeks with the sound of rain and constant thunder rolling outside.
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