Thursday, September 6, 2007

Crossing the Prairie

Well, we seem to be back on track! Shortly after my last blog entry, a nice man showed up outside our door to chauffeur us back to the Iowa side of the river to collect Mo. On the way there, he gave us a little tour, pointing out a number of sights to see in Sioux City. I was once again sorry that I didn’t realize we’d be there an entire day doing nothing but wait. If I had, I would have suggested to Joe that we rent a car and be tourists in Sioux City. In particular I would have liked to see the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, which ironically was only about 6 miles from our campground. Oh well- next time we’ll come back and schedule a week in South Dakota!

Anyway, we drove back to the campground, repacked our stuff, refilled the fresh water tank, and hit the road. From there, the ride itself was uneventful. Our route took us due north to Sioux Falls, and then due west on I-90 toward the Badlands. The scenery is really nice—it starts out with corn, but then turns to prairie, with grasses the predominant theme. The sky is huge, the road is as straight as an arrow, and after a short while the terrain turned to gently rolling hills. There is something so soothing about seeing all that SPACE, with those soft colors (the yellow-tan of the grasslands, green where things were still growing, and the blue sky.) The horizon stretches forever.

The Road Ahead

We made one “tourist” stop—after 2.5 hours, it was time to eat something, and that coincided with Mitchell, SD, home of the Corn Palace. It is only about 3 miles off the interstate, so after checking in at Cabela’s to pick up some propane, Thermacell mosquito repellent, and lunch, we went to see the Corny Palace . I have to admit that Joe is really a prince: he has seen it twice before, but he went again to humor me! Once should be enough for anyone. The Corn Palace was originally a place for farmers and ranchers to bring their crops and animals, but now the inside is a basketball arena (at least, that was what it was today—complete with a team of college-age girls practicing. Joe pointed out that EVERY one of them was blonde!!!) We walked in, spent about 5 minutes, walked out, I took the obligatory photos, and then we got back on the road.

I think it was not too long after that when we crossed the “wide Missouri” again (you’ll have to look at a map to see how we went across it in Sioux City and then had to cross it again!) It really WAS wide, and although the east side was relatively flat, immediately on the western banks the land was higher and began to be more ranch-type land than farmland.

Around exit 172, the time zone changed to Mountain Time, and I was hoping this would mean the sun would suddenly be higher, but no…. it kept sinking (it was now about 6:30, I think) and I was really wanting to get to our campground before dark. We turned off at the exit to the Badlands at about 7:30ish, and WOW!!! I was simply blown away! The sun had already set, and we were too late to see what would have undoubtedly been some fabulous colorations. But even so, in the dusk, the rock formations were amazing! They were all a soft gray color by the time we arrived, and loomed up in an absolutely fascinating array as we drove past. I was longing to have two more hours back, so we could get out and see a little bit. The entire way through the park to the town of Interior, I was repeating, “Oh wow! Oh wow! OH WOW!!!” I can only imagine what they will look like tomorrow in the daytime when we can really see them.
Back Seat Driver

1 comment:

Steven said...

Awesome! Any chance of Badlands pictures? (And, speaking for myself, I want Joe's beard back by the time we return. Everything "has to be" exactly the way it was when we left