Captain's Log - Voyages of Warren & Dee Dee on Earthship 3 travel blog

Sign leading into Badlands National Park

Contrast between Grasslands and Badlands gouged out of the terrain

Looking down into the badlands

Two Bighorn Sheep foraging along the road

These two loved to "Pose" for the camera

From a distance the stripes created an optical illusion that was intersting

Up close the stripes were even more interesting

You never know what might be down that path...just around the corner

In my last Log entry, we were parked at Ellsworth AFB FamCamp near Rapid City, South Dakota. We like this area so we decided to do a little more exploring while we had the chance. Our life can be a little bit random and I sometimes tend to make decisions at the last moment, something that can sometimes really annoy Dee Dee. One day, when we got up we decided to go to visit Badlands National Park. Dee Dee was "on-board" with that decision so we bundled up a bit as the weather was starting to get a little cool and the winds only added to the feeling that we didn’t have that long before winter begins to dominate the season in the area.

The 54-mile drive to the park was an easy one as we followed Interstate 90 eastward until we got to the town of Wall, the home of the well known Wall Drug Store. At Wall, we left the interstate in favor of State Highway 240. It was a little over 7 miles from Wall to the Pinnacles Entrance Station. We arrived at the gate and were met by a nice lady in the entrance booth who told us that there were not a lot of people in the park on this day so it should be a good day to explore. It was late in the season and with the cooler weather and low cloud cover it was easy to understand why there were not a lot of people in the park. The park is 242,756 acres making it number 26 on the list of national parks by size. It is composed of half eroded badlands and half mixed-grass prairie. We drove through the park on State Highway 240 taking in the scenery, stopping at scenic overlooks to get a better look “down into” the terrain. On one of these stops, we saw a herd of Big Horn Sheep grazing on a distant valley floor and at another point, on our drive, we had an opportunity to get a lot closer to a pair of Big Horn Sheep browsing along the roadway. I took a few pictures of the sheep herd but even with my telephoto lens they were too far away to make the picture worthy of posting in this Log entry but the picture of the two Big Horn “Bucks” browsing along the road was a different story! These guys were not camera shy and they did not seem to be in a hurry. They just casually browsed nearby us and pretty much ignored our presence. My dad would have loved to see them this close. Enjoy the picture Dad! Because of the cooler weather, we decided that this would be an overview of the park and we would come back at another time to further explore the area and even do a little hiking but today it was a little bit cool and we decided to “wimp out” a bit. We saw lots of interesting badland formations and some pretty large grassland areas too. It was interesting to see open grasslands and then the terrain gouged out with eroded rock formations and valleys. As we drove through the park, we ran across rock formations that seemed to have stripes of different earth tone colors painted across them. It looked interesting from a distance and even more interesting up close. We enjoyed the time we spent in the park but it was getting late and we had to drive home so off we went.

We spent a few more days in the Rapid City area but we kept a close eye on the weather forecast and it soon became apparent that we needed to leave a few days earlier then we had planned. The forecasts were calling for temperatures in the mid-teens and we wanted to avoid that so on Monday, October 7th we left Ellsworth AFB FamCamp and began our move South towards Oklahoma and warmer weather.

We made overnight stops in Ogallala, Nebraska and Hays, Kansas before arriving in Stillwater, Oklahoma where our son lives. We’ll be hanging out in this area for a while soaking up the warmer weather but we know that will not last forever because it will get cooler in Stillwater eventually. We will be staying here through Thanksgiving and then see what happens next. That brings you up to date for now. Do what you can to stay warm this winter.

Until next time…Enjoy!

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