Thursday, July 17, 2008

Travelblog episode 6: Badlands, Wall Drug, and in to the Black Hills of Dakota

So, as I mentioned before, at 6 or so we pried ourselves out of the cars and assessed the damage. Our tent was definitely hosed, and went straight in the trash. The girls tent was hosed for now, but possibly fixable since the two broken poles were only broken in one segment. And better still, the tent itself seemed to have held together. So it was possible we'd only have to buy one tent. But since there were more storms in the forecast, and since other than Logan none of us had slept well, we decided to spend the night in a motel. And thanks to the fine folk at the Ramada Inn in Black Hawk, SD was the motel for us!

But first it was time to do some touristing. We headed back up in to the Badlands National Park, stopping to walk up to the "Door" and "Window" and take more pictures.

Cool rock formation...

Cool dried out mud...

Cool kids posing in the "door"

And some crazy cool Badlands!

Then we drove down through the park heading for Wall, where Matt introduced me to "You Look Nice Today" podcasts, which are high-larious and led to far too many exhaustion-enhanced fits of giggling. Which make it hard to drive, I hope you know.

Our next stop was in Wall. First at the Wall Dairy Queen for lunch, then on to Wall Drug for yet more craptastic Americana. I'd been to Wall Drug back in the '70s when I was a boy (and possibly the '80s as a teen), but I had no recollection of what a carnival of kitch the place is. Oh my God. They had it all. Well, all except replacement poles for tents. But they did have big bins of shiny rocks for kids to buy, and funky earrings for kids to buy, and post cards for kids to buy, and ice cream and pie for parents to buy for kids. And it was air conditioned, which is always a good thing.

After we were crapped out we got back on the road and rolled through Rapid City up to Black Hawk and the Ramada, checked in, then piled in the Commander and headed off to Mt. Rushmore to see the lighting ceremony. The ceremony, as I mentioned before, is both inspiring and cheesy, both patriotic and almost jingoistic (although I'm sure I'm using that word wrong...). But the mountain looks really cool with the lights on, as you can see from the photo:

Finally, we made our way down the mountain and back to Black Hawk where the boy's room fell asleep and slept soundly, while the girls' room was filled with snoring (from Paige) and sobbing (from Maya) and non-sleeping (from Megan and Maya, and Paige since they kept waking her up telling her not to snore). So our night of motel rest worked for half of us, but not so much for the other half. Ah well...

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