Western Vacation, Part 8: The Badlands, Wall Drug, the end.




Will studying

Originally uploaded by steven_d_krause.

As I’m typing this, I’m happily sitting in my living room after watching The Wizard of Oz on Turner Movie Classics (followed by a 13 minute a silent version that was made in 1910), thinking about Dorothy’s famous words, “there’s no place like home.â€? Ah yes….

Anyway, a quick recap of the last couple of days of our western adventure:

After a start later than we would have preferred, we toured through Badlands National Park. Annette and I both remember our last trip through the park quite vividly. It was 1996, on our way out to my first tenure-track job at Southern Oregon, and we drove through the park from Wall, SD very early in the morning. It was a spooky and ethereal drive with odd colors against the sand/rock formations and birds that kept dive-bombing us and getting smacked by the windshield of the car.

This time, not as much, but it was still pretty cool. Will liked a ranger’s lesson on fossils and the fossil trail (notice him studying the model of a fossil under the plastic dome along the trail in the photo) and the views through the park were still pretty cool.

And then it was to Wall Drug. For me, it was the perfect way to end the trip: a kitschy tourist trap that has risen to the distinction of “historic� destination. I’m guessing that a good half of the people reading this message have “dug� Wall Drug at one point or another, and I’m here to tell you that it certainly hasn’t changed much since you’ve been there. I do think there are a lot fewer billboards than there used to be.

Anyway, it was fun, though by the time we got there, Annette and Will were both sick of me taking pictures of them, which is why you won’t see much of them in the pictures I have of Wall Drug on Flickr (part of the whole trip group). Except for this picture:

After that, it was drive drive drive drive. South Dakota is a big-assed state with not a whole lot there, and even going in the low 80s pretty much the whole way, it took us about six hours before we were through it all. We stopped in Albert Lea, Minnesota for the night last night, and then got up first thing and came into town tonight. And here I am.

Just a few of the things I learned from this trip:

  • I am feeling way WAY out of shape and I’m looking forward to getting back into a regular workout plan sometime very soon.
  • It is surprisingly easy to get Internet access. All three of the hotels we stayed in had it in our rooms, and it was easy enough to get at the YMCA camp, too.
  • Altitude can really mess with you a lot more than you might think.
  • I think snowglobes aren’t as popular as they once were; I was only able to find four ones that I thought were cheap enough to justify getting.
  • If we can ever get back into decent shape and deal with the altitude, I’d love to spend some time hiking around the Rockies in the summer.
  • I have a fun family and a lot of cool nephews and brothers-in-law and sisters and parents and such.

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One Response to Western Vacation, Part 8: The Badlands, Wall Drug, the end.

  1. Jaymes says:

    I’m thinking seriously about moving to Rapid City soon and your site here gave me alot of information. It seems like a great place to raise kids (I have 4). Thanks for your entertaining and informative thoughts.

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