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July 20, 2006

Badlands, Billboards, and Bison (aka South Dakota)


Well things have been going well, until yesterday afternoon, but I’ll get to that in a bit. I flew back to Minneapolis on Sunday and had a meal with my relatives out there. I hadn’t seen them since 94. We had a nice visit and meal and I spent my last night in a bed for a while. The next day I did my grocery shopping, got an oil change and headed for South Dakota. Made it just inside the border that night and then drove to the Badlands National Park on Tuesday.

What a crazy place. The terrain is something out of this world. You would have no idea where you were if someone just dropped you off there. I arrived at about 1pm on a day that got up to at least 97 after being 47 when I woke up. A good day to see why they call it the badlands. After a short hike I decided to hide out in town for the afternoon and come back later. I went to Wall Drug in Wall SD which I had seen about 200 billboards for during my drive on I-90. What a let down. A bunch of separate shops that sell one thing you might want then would have to pay for that, go to the next place and so on. I decided to wait and find a Target. The other billboard king was the corn palace which was about what I expected, but nothing great. They use corn husks, cobs, and so on to decorate the inside and outside of a building and change it every year. Good for a break, but it was a quick one.

I went back to the park and saw a bunch of bison right by the campground. Some where close to the road for pictures, while most of them were spread out doing there thing. I took a hike from the campground, in the other direction over some of the bison trails. I found some huge geodes in next to one of the vertical walls that had tumbled down and split. They largest were 3 feet by 2 feet. When I returned I found out that one of the bison had walked right through the campground in between my car and my neighbors. The next morning I took a drive to another area of the park which I had all to myself. I ventured half way out one of the spires. But given my health respect of heights and the pebbles I was trying not to knock over and listen to them fall, fall, fall. I only spent a couple of minutes there before heading to a more robust area to look from. I’d seen what I wanted to then and decided to head over to Custer state park.
Custer is just south of Mount Rushmore which I saw on the way there. When I got out of the car I felt a slight twinge in my lower back, but no big deal. I took a nap and made dinner then went on a drive on their wildlife loop at sunset. Saw lots of deer, a few turkey, and some more bison. It is a beautiful state park and quite large. Lots of camping areas and everything is well marked, not always the case.

When I returned, my lower back was killing me all of a sudden. I was planning on doing a nice hike in the morning, but decided to wait and see how I felt. It was a miserable night, I could sleep on my right side for a while, but then have to shift. No other position would let me sleep so I’d wait a while get back on my side and try again. I packed up early skipped my hike and found a chiropractor in Rapid City. I hadn’t ever been to one, but he checked things out and said I had got out of alignment, probably from all of the driving, and adjusted things back to where they belong. I just left there and will see how it goes. Probably have to find a couple more as I continue west. Right now I am out of commission except for short walks. Never had problems like this before and hope they don’t last long. I was planning on doing the Deadwood and Spearfish areas today, which I should still be able to do. Of course the weekend is coming up so Monday will be my next chance to get adjusted again if I need to.


See the rest of the pictures

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