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Prairie Vacation: Day 3 & 4

Bismarck has lots of parks. Some seem pretty nice. As fellow residents of the Missouri River we visited a park on the flooded Missouri in Bismarck. There were small shore birds I didn't recognize that sang nicely and ran curiously. Beavers liked it there. I didn't. So we left and went to Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park. There was one old fort here for infantry and one newer one for cavalry (man everything is Custer all over this part of the country) and a Native American (Manden) village that was really cool. It looked like it might rain all morning.

Afterwards Kate took us the wrong way and a 2:35 trip took 4:23 instead. Kate likes to point out it was a lovely drive all the same. I like to point out my back hurts after driving so much. Really though the western part of ND is beautiful and the Enchanted Highway with it's giant metal art sculptures is a must see.

We planned to make it to our cabin in the Badlands that night, but were forced to stay in Faith, SD to weather a severe thunderstorm. After all the flooding we saw, driving through the middle of nowhere in the pitch black amidst reports of flash flooding and golf ball-sized hail smashing windshields, we were happy to dine on burgers (without the burger) at Linda's Drive In and stay at the Prairie Vista Inn. Turns out Faith is where Sue and Bucky the T-Rexes were discovered. T-Rex capital of the world the sign says.

Sunny and clear the next morning. Plans have changed. We're heading straight for Mount Rushmore, through Sturgis and Deadwood. We didn't stop at either as we had no need to gamble at a saloon named for a motorcycle Mount Rushmore was kick ass. Don't believe the people who tell you it's lame. The Black Hills are nice but not much different than the ranges in the Rockies. Though the Iron Mountain Highway, with its tiny tunnels and pigtails, was great. I needed a scooter. The Needles Highway was good and those are some neat rock formations. Crazy Horse Monument was sad. Not very complete, controlled by a crazy Polish family, not linked with native people, and umm just embarrassing to be at. Avoid.

Then a drive through Rapid City (not much there) including some bland massaman curry with tofu at Coco Palace. Then it was straight into Badlands National Park at dusk. LOVELY. Not like anywhere else on the planet I've ever been. Have you been? Why not? Go! After nabbing the key from the drop box out front of the lodge, we dropped out stuff off in our tiny, CCC-built cabin, and headed back out for some night photography in the park. I was happy to take advantage of a place with so few lights.

As with last time, all my photos are here and Kate's photos are here.


May. 14th, 2011 05:21 am (UTC)
i like it when you post about our trips because that's when i find out what you actually were or were not excited about.

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