Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Badlands, South Dakota

How do you picture the Badlands of South Dakota? Maybe hot, dry, dusty, even baron was my vision, more like Death Valley

The Badlands however rises out of the prairie floor mounting into pointed peaks and valleys. 

In valleys amongst its peaks are green grassy spots with sunflowers.

The visitor’s road twists up and through different shapes. The Badlands over the years developed massive earth layers like those in Utah but not as bright with the red and white strips. Valleys with large farms reach to the feet of the Badland mounts

Pentacle Peak is the highest point in the park and can be seen for miles before reaching it


All types of animals survive in this desert climate; like this spider I found in the grass near one of the overlooks.

I don’t know if Peggy was going to fly or just point out the vastness of the Badlands or just pointing to one of her favorite pointed peaks again.

There are paths that lead out to the edge of the points and this couple had found a quiet moment to share.

Water had cut moguls in the one of the valleys and water was running from an earlier shower on the day we viewed them. Vine weed was in bloom in one of the valleys.


On our return trip the peaks appeared higher with less red colors on the Westside of the park.
As we scoped out the roads for Kemosby (our RV) climb the next day we could see the southern farmlands and the vast rolling plains. Everything looked green, even the thistle were blooming along with other plants.
Last of the day we made it down to the Prairie Grassland Museum to see what life might have been like in the farm lands of South Dakota in the early 1900’s.

Safe travels through your Badlands,

George McGaughey (with Peggy & Coco)
Happy Feet RV Travels   

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

South Dakota, Custer and the Black Hills

On the road again!  Our first stop after leaving Denver was Lusk, Wyoming. It is a small town on Hwy 85 on our route to Custer, SD. The week before a six foot of water destroyed the bridge on Hwy 85. Kemosabe got us through the rough detour.  We reached Wheels West RV campground, in Custer and unpacked. This was the same valley where Custer camped on his epic journey through the Black Hills.  Gold was first discovered here in 1874. In town we were met by a Buffalo on every corner and a strange assortment of characters wondering down Main Street. 

On our second day we backtracked to the small town of Hot Springs. There we enjoyed the swimming and hot tubs. Stopping in the parking lot of United Church we saw an unusual pastor named Clint Walker.

On our way back, Peggy spotted a monument of bicycles in the town of Pringle.


The next day we ventured to the Crazy Horse Monument. We were greeted with a line of motor cycles being the Sturgis rally was a week away. Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear chose sculptress’s Korczak Ziolkowski to carve the Memorial in 1948. Korczak married Ruth Ross on Thanksgiving Day 1950. There at the monument they raised 10 children, five girls and five boys. Many of the children and grandchildren still work on the project following in their father and mother’s footsteps of completing the monument.


On day four we tour the Wind Cave National Park. Taking a 1-hour tour, this was the least strenuous with only 150 steps. There we viewed samples of beautiful cave formations of boxwork, cave popcorn, and flowstone.  It was the seventh U.S. National Park and the first cave to be designated as a national park by Teddy Roosevelt in 1903.


Moving on to the next trip was through Custer State Park. There we viewed buffalo, wild donkeys  and prairie dogs.

On our fifth day we took the trip everyone comes to the Black Hills to see the famous Mount Rushmore.  Taking the back road we saw more buffalo.  Driving through an old railroad tunnel we saw the sight of figure heads in the distance. There on the granite mountain top were the carvings of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln.

On our last day we visited the monument of the first white women in the Black hills.  She lived with her husband teaching school at the nearby fort. They had come to the valley searching for gold.  In the spring of 1876 they were evicted by the army.  They returned after Custer’s demise at the Little Big Horn in Wyoming.

On to the Bad Lands and more buffalo
Happy Feet RV Traveling,
George (with Peggy & Coco)