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Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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Badlands Badlands National Park, SD, Wednesday, 14 September 2011 3:40am

The Motorcycle Museum was pretty cool. Lots of really nicely restored, very old bikes. Some from back before the invention of brakes! Okay, brakes had been invented, it just wasn't common practice to fit flat track race bikes with them in 1903, it seems.

I took I-90 from Sturgis to Wall. There are a lot of Wall Drug billboards on I-90 between Sturgis and Wall. I'd guess that they have a majority of the billboards on that route. When I stopped in to Wall Drug, I found out why. Wall Drug was originally a drugstore that was failing to do much business (because there aren't enough people in Wall). Eventually, the pharmacist's wife had the bright idea to advertise free ice water on the road that all of the tourists were taking to get to Mt. Rushmore. The increased traffic made Wall Drug a viable business, and now it's a full city block of knickknack shops, western wear stores, camping supply stores, and a cafe. They have a backyard with an animatronic T-Rex and a 6 foot tall jackalope. An early triumph of advertising.

Just south of Wall, Badlands National Park begins. I took the winding scenic road through the park, stopping at lots of viewpoints to take pictures of the wind-and-water eroded landscape. It's similar to Bryce, but in more colors. The formations range from rust red to pink to gray to yellow, with lots of interesting layering.

I set up my tent and unloaded my motorcycle bags into it and then went for a hike up one of the formations to a high plain. The hike was pretty short going uphill, but downhill the crumbling dirt made it hard to keep a sure footing, so it took twice as long coming down.

I came back to my campsite to find that my tent had almost blown over and another tent nearby had blown completely over, bending and snapping its tentpoles. Luckily, a couple of other guys on motorcycles had seen my tent flexing and staked it down better. I ran back to the park store and bought a bunch more stakes and some cord to make guy lines out of. If I never post this, it might be because the guy lines didn't hold. Or because of that thunder I hear rumbling in the distance...

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