South Dakota Spring

Still working on the National Park checklist. My brother was expecting to move away from western South Dakota this summer, so I figured I ought to go to Badlands NP before that happened.


My SIL Judie wanted to take me to see some of the other local sites first, so she tied the two daughters into the back seat of the car and we headed for the hills and related topographies.

We started out going to Church in the Hills, which was unexpected. I mean, it’s unexpected that there’s a church like this sitting in the hills near Spearfish, S. Dak. Maybe it was surprising we started there. To be honest, I did not have strong expectations wrt the order of attractions.

From there we went to the drive-through zoo. There were no monkeys (thankfully), but plenty of bears. Lots and lots of bears.

Of course there were only two of them in that frame. Blame the photog. Went and got some German food at a place, then looped through the Norbeck Byway.

It’s a good byway. Not pictured are some cool framed-by-tunnel views of Mt. Rushmore. There are several wooden-bridged, loopy turns like this through there. It’d probably a good route on which to take a Harley.

This was a quick trip btw. Just under 72 hours. That’s probably implied by the color temperature of the bear photograph.

Next day, Garry and I headed out to the Badlands. We stopped at Wall Drug on the way, since, you know, South Dakota. I might have bought Bit O’ Honeys. Or maybe that was at the gas station.

They look like that. Or some of them do. We went on a couple of short hikes, one of which involving a bad ladder.

It’s worse than it looks. Particularly going down. Should’ve gotten a person on there for some scale. Next time, next time. Anyway, past the ladder was a solid, sweeping view of more bad lands.

And then we went to the air force base because museum. Here G is with a B-29.

And me behind the controls of a fake F-106, beard at max throttle.

Then here’s a picture of my niece wearing her Easter dress at church because she does a good job of smiling for cameras.

Some bullet points, because blog post, etc.:

  • Badlands is nice, but not exactly Yosemite or Yellowstone. Better than Cuyahoga. Probably about on par with Great Sand Dunes.
  • OTOH, coming there from Oklahoma, I was amazed at how pretty western So. Dak. was. I’ve been there before, just never coming from Oklahoma.
  • Rapid City had better sporting good stores than does OKC.
  • Wall Drug isn’t a drug store. It’s like maze-mall that straddles a Main Street, USA location and is chock full of dogeared tourist trap souvenir stores. If you’re in the area you may as well stop; if it’s not your thing, it at least won’t take long to get the gist of it.
  • I have used the word “because” a lot in this post.

And then I flew back to Oklahoma, which was still flat, treeless, and… I’ve probably ripped on Oklahoma enough for this decade. But looking forward to 2021!