Rushmore Into The Badlands

Rushmore Into The Badlands

 

 

“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.”

 

 

After our night in Sioux Falls and adding 2 more to our RV yesterday, this morning filled up our tires with more air and picked up some supplies at a trucker’s gas station.

 

 

Then at 10am we drove 2 hours towards Chamberlain. There’s a bunch of sculpture parks and a replica of a cowboy town called 1880 Cowboy Town about 20 minutes outside Sioux Falls:

 

 

Once we reached Chamberlain by noon, we stretched our legs at the Dignity Statue.

 

 

About 60% of folks here were wearing masks inside.

 

 

After a quick pitstop lunch at the local Taco John’s (where we then became the only people wearing face coverings, which reality was bound to happen eventually), we then drove another 4 hours towards Badlands National Park.

Candid shots on the road thanks to Raubern:

 

 

Our first stop was the Minuteman Missile Visitors Center, a preservation of the last remaining Minuteman II ICBM system in the United States.

 

 

Keep driving and you can play amongst yourselves in the Prairie dog area and feed the families of prairie dogs that live there.

 

 

Another 5 minute drive south will lead you to the Badlands Outlook:

 

 

Then beginning along the Bandlands Loop Drive along Route 240, we stopped at The Notch for a one hour and one mile hike at the recommendation of my friend Tim Geoffrin.

 

 

They’re known for a quirky step ladder about a third of the way into the hike.

 

 

Although it might seem like a family friendly hike, it can get a bit dodgy in one or two parts:

 

 

The end of The Notch hike leads up to a nice dead end of an outlook:

 

 

Then we turned around to redo the hike in reverse, which was notable for being a different kind of pretty on the way back.

 

 

Even the cul-de-sacs were nice:

 

 

After returning from our hike, we took a detour down the scenic route down 240 towards Wall.

 

 

Here at Wall, “the most overrated tourist trap in the world,” you can a photogenic feel of the Wild Wild West.

 

 

Then with another hour’s drive west (but also realizing we also gained an hour crossing into Mountain Time), we enjoyed some hipster coffee and a uniquely Tibetan dinner at Kathmandu Bistro in Rapid City, SD.

We then continued about another 30 minute drive through Keystone towards Mount Rushmore, probably one of the few symbols of the United States of America that nobody really knows where to find on a map.

 

 

Although everyone imagines it to be a massive sculpture carved into Mount Rushmore, it’s smaller than you think when you finally see it. Completed in 1941 in the Black Hills region of South Dakota, the granite sculpture measures 60 feet high and depicts U.S. presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

 

 

I recommend coming here at night after 8:30pm as the site closes late at 11pm. The only “admission” is a $5-$10/vehicle parking fee.

 

 

We then finally settled in at the Palmer Gulch KOA, one of 2 KOAs in this area due to the frequent overflow of tourists.

Although I admit the showers here are awesome, the internet otherwise sucks so I can’t really post any more at the moment other than what I was able to snag in above with the limited data I have.

Tomorrow, we head onwards to Jackson, WY!

 

- At time of posting in Mount Rushmore, it was 19 °C - Humidity: 55% | Wind Speed: 10km/hr | Cloud Cover: clear

 

The Pur-Sioux of Happyness

The Pur-Sioux of Happyness


“I was halfway across America, at the dividing line between the East of my youth and the West of my future.” 

 

After an overnight in the outskirts of Madison, Wisconsin and picking up our new addition Dan Reesman, whom we had last seen when he traveled with us early last year to Prague and Budapest, we did a quick outdoor workout in the morning and picked up some breakfast.

And I truly mean “pick up” as there’s no outdoor dining here if you’re worried about indoor transmission of COVID-19.

 

 

But at least you won’t get shot inside.

 

 

As for mask compliance, it  seemed to be 50/50.

 

 

After breakfast in the parking lot, we drove through the surreal landscapes of Dells Winsconsin.

 

 

I use the word surreal because Dells is known for numerous theme parks and entertainment centers, including Noah’s Ark Water Park (claiming to be the country’ largest), Mt. Olympus Water Theme Park. Mirror Lake State Park, an upside building, a robot theme park…

 

Except most of the outdoor water parks (which were packed), Noah’s Ark and plenty others remain closed due to COVID-19.

 

 

For our group, we were just happy that Carr Valley Cheese was open for us.

 

 

…among other oddities.

 

 

We then headed onwards to cute town of La Crosse to briefly stretch our legs and stock up our fridge.

 

 

Then crossing the Mississippi River onwards into South Dakota, we headed for the 4 hour drive to Siuox Falls.

 

 

We reached the airport by 7pm where we picked up our last addition to the first part of the trip, South Dakotan local Brandon Bowar, whom we had last seen in Tanzania exactly one year ago.

 

 

We then finally got to cook our first meal of the trip (thanks to Brynn & Noeleen!), while setting up shop in the Sioux Falls KOA.

 

 

First homecooked group dinner!

 

 

And we finally take our full group photos!

 

 

Because we arrived at the park early this time, we also called in the local RV repairman George, to come by and tune up all our tank issues. He then went above and beyond to figure out that our tire pressures were low and our A/C unit was flipped in reverse (the parts that were supposed to suck in air was actually blowing it out).

 

 

This is freedom.

 

 

- At time of posting in Sioux Falls, it was 20 °C - Humidity: 58% | Wind Speed: 8km/hr | Cloud Cover: partly cloudy