The schedule called for us to start out from the Fort Pierre National Grasslands, so we were about 200 miles behind schedule. But no matter, because today was the day we would start seeing the good stuff!
I took the SUV to the Kia of Sioux Falls. They did a vacuum check, refilled the A/C refrigerant , and send us on our way.
Here’s the KOA in the morning. Not much in the way of ambiance, I’m afraid:
The kids found many toads, and buried a dead one that they found:
David et al left the KOA at 11am, a few minutes before us. We headed west.
After three hours or so, the A/C stopped working again. We made an appointment at 9AM tomorrow at the Kia of Rapid City. Grr!
At one point, we saw a pair of the largest domestic land animals I have ever seen. It really was incredible.
Mid-afternoon, we exited I-90 and headed for the Badlands. We made our first stop at the contact station for the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site:
It’s basically a single-wide trailer. Most people were there to schedule a tour. The Site has a Silo (Delta-09), and an underground control center (Delta-01). Delta-01 is open to tours only, and they only allow 12 people in per day. Seems pretty absurd considering how many tourists come to the area. I had tried to schedule a tour weeks earlier, but they were already full. Good thing, since we would have been late anyway. We hope to visit the missle silo tomorrow morning. The contact station had a few interesting displays, but we weren’t there long.
We’ve been seeing these giant grasshoppers all through South Dakota:
As we continued south into Badlands National Park, we could see the Badland formations from the car. M said “Wow, that’s so beautiful!” with such wonder and incredulity. That was definitely the highlight of the trip so far.
We did the “Window” hike upon entering the Badlands. On the boardwalk, we saw the largest Argiope I have ever seen. It’s body was the size of an olive:
At the end of the boardwalk, there’s a great vista of the badlands. We hiked around on the formations for a while:
Team Bubbie did some shopping in Sioux Falls, so they were about an hour behind us, and caught up with us at the visitor center. Here are our two vehicles:
The visitor center had a couple teepees set up:
After the visitor center, we did the “Fossil” hike:
More great vistas:
We left Badlands National Park on the road to Wall, South Dakota. Badlands National Park is surrounded by the Buffalo Gap National Grassland, which allows dispersed camping. We pulled off onto a dirt “road” detailed here:
All set up:
Aaaaargh! Cornhole has followed us from Toldeo!
I took M and B on a short ride south from the RV. Moonrise over the badlands was the view from our RV. Compare this with the view at the KOA this morning above:
About 300 miles today. The white circles indicate the Minuteman contact center and the Badlands visitor center: