The Good, the Bad{lands} and the Ugly...South Dakota

{Date of visit: June 3-7, 2013}

Note to self: Do not write blog posts while sick with the Voodoo Flu as they come across very negative.

Sorry for that last post (re: Sioux City) being a bit of a downer. While I can't say anything I wrote wasn't true, I think I put a little bit extra blah in my writing due to the bad juju I was feeling at the time.

Funny thing about the catch up with old friends like Tony, who I went to high school with in Alaska but met up with in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Anyway, I am happy to report that after leaving Sioux City, things in South Dakota took a turn for the better. And it started out with meeting my old high school buddy, Tony, in Sioux Falls for lunch. Tony has a pretty amazing story of being a living donor (he donated one of his kidneys to his wife!!) and biking long distances (he rode 883 miles to the Transplant Games in 2012) in support of the Living Donor Program. Read all about his story here and follow his adventures here.

Views from Hill's RV Park. Lots of farmland and lots of wind.

After lunch we headed West and over-nighted in Plankinton, South Dakota at Hill's RV Park. While there's nothing fancy about this RV park it was convenient for a stop over. The pull-thrus were large enough that we didn't even need to unhook the Jeep. If you tow with your RV you'll appreciate that part since it's impossible to back up while still connected. Oh, Hill's RV is also part of Passport America's network making our stay half priced!

No "Great American Road Trip" would be complete without stopping at Wall.
We continued West toward the Badlands. Even though we needed to be in Racine, Wisconsin in July for a wedding, going West just seemed to make sense...some how.

Can you spot the Mutiny?
We stayed at Sleepy Hollow RV Park which is only one block away from the world famous Wall Drug...and their delicious donuts. Trust me on this one...they are worth breaking your diet.

The greeters at Sleepy Hollow RV Park.
One of the beautiful new friends I made while hiking in the Badlands area.
Wall Drug has a fascinating history and exemplifies the determination of good people to succeed against all odds. Ted and Dorothy bought the place in 1931. Those of you who know anything about history know that this was during the start of the Great Depression. There were just over 300 people living in Wall and all of them were poor. The success of their business started the day they began offering something free...water to tried travelers. The rest as they say, is history.

The coffee is still only 5 cents.
 Wall Drug is very much a tourist stop...and should be added to everyone's list. No matter how tacky the trinkets or overpriced the knick knacks it's an institution. There are things for kids of all ages to do, a book store, photo props and did I mention donuts?

Test out your riding skills aboard the giant jackolope!
Ooooo, those donuts (seriously, I don't even eat donuts...ever...but I'll eat these donuts...ALL of them)!
Of course the real reason to visit Wall, South Dakota is to see the Badlands. Badlands National Park encompasses 244,000 acres but the easiest way to see the highlights of the park is to simply drive Highway 240. It's about 40 miles of pave road that takes you through the park and along some of the most amazing formations you'll see. There are pullouts along the way offering great photo ops and hiking.

The view from Highway 240...not too shabby.
244,000 acres of amazing formations and protected grasslands. This is not to be missed.

You'll also see prairie dogs:

Maybe some horses:

And maybe even spot the ever elusive "Hiking Clark" somewhere in the hills...

If you do, he'll most like need some water...or a donut. Please be kind and feed the wildlife.

There are several other points of interest out there in an area that seems void of anything but wind. There are old Minutemen Missile Silos:

And Prairie Homestead, an original 1909 sod home which you can tour to get the feel of what life was like for the original pioneers. And you can also make out with a little horse or goat...

New baby.
*For those with a enough bandwidth and are curious about the "Alan" comment on the prairie dog picture this is for you: