Thursday, July 20, 2023

South Dakota you "rock!"

Two days left. Should we go to Badlands National Park on Weds. (hot) or Thursday (cooler)? Do not put off until tomorrow...  We went Weds. Intending to drive the scenic road and take only short walks, the heat wouldn't be an issue. 

The Badlands became a National Monument in 1939 and was designated a National Park in 1978. The striking geological deposits contain one of the richest fossil beds in the world. For several hundred years the native Lakota people called it maco sica, translating to "bad lands". When it was wet the sticky clay made it hard to cross as did its rocky terrain, lack of water, and extreme temperatures.

Centered between what we wanted to see in this area, we were nearly an hour and half from The Badlands. We took I90 and drove past the town of "Wall," got on the scenic drive through the park, and arrived back in Wall. For miles, like hundreds of miles, there are billboard after billboard advertising the services of Wall Drug.

Just before the park entrance there was a Prairie Dog  Farm.

Has the sign changed? Check out the 1992 picture below. 

This was worth the stop. We actually got to watch the summer interns working on fossils and putting the skeletons of critters back together. They stopped and chatted with us and explained in detail about their tools and exactly what they were doing.

This fossil of a false cat was found recently by a visitor. Some fossils take years to reconstruct. 

There were hundreds, at least, of Prairie Dog burroughs. Looked like a "Whack a Mole" game (not that I would get that close) with them popping up and down! 

Wall Drug occupies a good share of the block, maybe more, plus buildings across  the rear. And it all started with a small town pharmacy and free ice water.

They even have a Chapel. 

Dinner tonight: Tacos on Indian Fry Bread. Turned out pretty good for our first try. 

1992--looks pretty much the same. Chris on top, Eric, and Josh on the bottom.

All national parks are beautiful. Most, with good reason, require you to stay on a path.  Not here! Loved that the boys could climb all over it. 

In 2018 we were checking out mail forwarding companies in preparation for selling out house. South Dakota does not have state taxes, among other things, that attract RVers. They also cater to RVers.

No Mount Rushmore this trip. Even though we're retired we still have places to be. I put this up to remind my children that it is indeed there. In 1992, on a two week trip, we were going to drive through and briefly stop at Mount Rushmore. It probably happens frequently (this year it is probably Canadian wild fire smoke) but it was TOTALLY covered in fog. We could see nothing!

2008. Wow, look at that natural brown hair! How time, and hair color, flies, lol. 
Where are the Piepers now? Rapid City, SD

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