Saturday, July 10, 2010

Wall, South Dakota

We left Sioux Falls this morning at 8 a.m. That is a little early for me, but I decided we needed to drive the 291 miles to Wall. I didn't know how good the 240 loop through the Badlands was and their website says the road is under construction with a lot of dirt and gravel areas that might be soft. Didn't think we wanted to take the motorhome there. So we decided to drive to Wall and camp. Then we could drive the 240 loop in the evening and spend time at Wall Drug tomorrow morning before we break camp.

The drive over from Sioux Falls was uneventful, thankfully. They are rebuilding quite a few of the bridges on I-90 so the road goes down to one lane periodically, but it is well marked. With less traffic than you have back east, you don't have all those four-wheelers stacking up in the lane to get ahead of you only to create a bottleneck at the point of closure. The speed limit out here is 75, but I kept Phaeton Place between 65-67 most of the time. She runs good there and the sucking sound from the fuel tank isn't quite as bad. One of the sites Terry remembers from having traveled this road 30 years ago was the valley you dip down into and drive to the Missouri River. This particular area is also an impoundment with a lake and very pretty.

We got to Wall and are in the wrong campground. We chose Arrow which we thought it would be the lesser of two evils. The other camp looks much nicer. But no matter. We are here for one night and we have 50 Amp. It was 88 degrees here today, but has cooled down nicely.

After setting up camp, we drove back on I-90 to the start of the Badlands Loop. It was a lovely drive and there would have been no problem with the motorhome. In fact, there were motorhomes. There are plenty of place to pull over even for motorhomes, but it was easier driving the little truck. I stopped periodically so we could get a better shot. The landscape is really unique. We were here 30 years ago and I remember very little about it, but some of the scenes looked familiar. Terry read where the hills and mounds are very fragile and actually disintegrate with every rainstorm. They are basically collapsing at the rate of one inch per year and eventually the terrain will be flat as it dissolves into the landscape. That will be another 500,000 years. I think we need to get Al Gore working on that. See if we can maybe hold off on the rain so the landscape doesn't change. Think so? The highlight of the drive was a mild traffic jam. There was a momma and a baby roadside eating the tender shoots along side the road. My bad. . . I don't know what they were. Probably some kind of goat or antelope. Or maybe sheep. Momma had straight antlers, but she didn't look nimble like goats do and she didn't look sleek enough to be an antelope. Maybe someone can tell me what she is. Sorry, I don't know my animals of the Dakotas.

After our tour of the Badlands, we came back to Wall and visited Wall Drug Store. We had dinner there which was good but nothing special. We did a lot of browsing in the shops and even walked around the block investigating the various stores. Sad to say that most everything they had to sell was touristy stuff. But I did manage to find a little stuffed buffalo for Ronan. It was the cutest thing I saw.

Tomorrow we head for the Black Hills. We only have about 50 miles to go, so we may get some other sightseeing in before the day is done. Whoo hoo!

Till next time. . .



Anonymous said...

Those look like the Rocky Mountain Sheep we see in Colorado in the mountains. It looks like a young mom and her baby. They do climb the rocks etc, but like that grass along the highway too:) There is an area just heading up the mountains on I-70 in Colorado where they come right down to the road. You really have to slow down and watch out for them. Lots of fun to watch:)

Safe travels - keep in touch!


Dale said...

Well, I looked up Rocky Mountain Sheep, Jan, and it gave me Big Horn Sheep which I have really been wanting to see. They don't have those big horns, BUT, the pictures I found of the females do look exactly like the Big Horn sheep. So YOU ARE RIGHT! It is the female and baby version of those elusive critters.

Thanks Jan!


jocelyn said...

Yeah. Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep were introduced to the Badlands in the 60s, I think.