Spearfish to Chamberlain
August 1, 2016
Miles Driven: 278
Parks Visited: 1
As I sit down to write this entry, The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly just came on television. How oddly appropriate given that I just passed through the Badlands and got a belly full of Western kitsch in Wall, South Dakota. I have to admit that I enjoyed my time in Wall, if not better than, then at least as much as I enjoyed the national park. I think that’s partly due to how great my hunger for digging into Wild West history has grown since visiting the Black Hills, and partly due to the overabundance of misbehaving tourists in the park today. But we’ll start at Wall Drug and my encounter with Pappy. The fortune telling seer of cowboy wisdom. Pappy told me:
You emerge from your recent fog and get down to business. Life becomes more serious and realistic. If a person takes no thought about what is distant he will find sorrow near at hand.
Now, I ain’t one for much philsophizin’ (we’ll that’s not actually true), but I’m not so Pappy here is makin' much sense. I mean, don't lookin’ ahead mean you be less realistic? Anyway, Pappy gave a bit more o’ his wisdom, which I’ll share to those of you who subscribe to my newsletter. A road trip special edition is coming tomorrow night!
Now that’s not all I did in Wall. After spending a bit of time browsing around all their fine wares, I decided it was high time I tried some buffalo. So I moseyed on into The Badlands Saloon and ordered a buffalo burger complete with blue cheese (yes, I'm part city-slicker). While I enjoyed the gut-busting meal, I read my latest find, The Bedside Book of Bad Girls: Outlaw Women of the American West, and was regaled with a variety of country tunes, like Kenny Rogers, “You Picked a Fine Time to Leave me Lucille.” With four hungry children… It’s kinda scary I know that song.
After that thoroughly enjoyable morning and still bemoaning leaving Spearfish with Deadwood and the allure of the West, I headed into Badlands National Park. I’m not sure how to describe the scenery. It’s like a smaller and bleached Grand Canyon or like a larger version of some parts of Death Valley. The juxtaposition of colors is best in the morning or evening – whites next to reds next to greens and some yellows. I would have liked to have stayed for their star-gazing program. Instead in the mid to late afternoon, I somehow found myself hustled along with a bus load of tourists and several caravans of misbehaving parents and their kids. It was a bit distracting to say the least. Did I mention it was hot? I would have liked to have spent a cool night there in one of the cabins I think, reading my Bad Girls book and enjoying an evening beverage under the stars.
As my day comes to a close, and I’m listening to Clint Eastwood take on the persona of Il Buono, I still can’t believe how far east I’ve come. It seems like just yesterday I was at the headwaters of the Missouri River in Montana.
Until tomorrow from Morton, IL… Safe travels!
Roadtrip! Daily Game
Board Location: South Dakota
Happiness: Cheery (7)
Energy: Perky (4)
Everyone was moving a little slower today after all the stairs in Jewel Cave, but it didn't matter much since we were so close to our next destination. All in all it was a fairly relaxing day. We did try to find some of the local futuristic architecture, but we didn't find anything that was remotely interesting. Then we ended up at Badlands where we loosened our muscles by hiking around a little. Tonight, it's camping for us. I had to convince everyone we needed to conserve some of our cash, which made everyone a bit grumpier.