Apr 20, 2012
Sep 01, 2012
. It was so hot that poor Eli was not keen to get out and walk around hunting for rattlesnakes (this despite them being the critters he is most keen on) and had to settle for taking his picture near a sign warning of the danger they posed. It was also with a tinge of sadness that we visited this park, as we realised there are only two National Parks remaining on our itinerary of the USA.
Nonetheless, we soldiered on through the park, took our photos and then headed North to the town of Wall, South Dakota and the world famous Wall Drug; the free ice water store with 5 cent coffee. This is yet another tourist trap, but we thoroughly enjoyed our time wandering through the complex of stores and shops. Apparently the town only has a population of 800, yet caters for a couple of million visitors each year. We went out for lunch, shopped and then tooted off back to Rapid City and our motel room. We got to the motel around 4pm, Tim and the kids had a long swim in the pool, we all showered and blobbed out. Then we headed out for a lovely dinner at the Firehouse Brewpub (good choice Tim!!!) and then back to the motel for laundry and bed. Tomorrow we are off to North Dakota and the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
The alarm was set once more in order to get up and break camp before the sun got too high and too hot. We were packed and on the road before 8 am and after a quick stop in Custer to take a photo of one of the many painted bison in town, we drove past Mount Rushmore for a second look and then on and into Badlands National Park. This is a park that Jess and I had visited in 1997 when we drove across country on our way to Hawaii. It seems to hold a special place in our hearts for that reason as well as the fact that it is a simply stunning and unique landscape that rises out of the plains of South Dakota and simply smacks you about the head with its beauty. One book describes it as the the closest thing to being on the moon without actually leaving earth. We stopped at the Visitor Center to see the movie and get badges (heard this story before?) and then headed out to explore the park. This visit was a bit truncated due to the extreme heat and we were forced to drive, stop and get out for a couple of minutes and then jump back into the car before we melted