Crossing into the Great Plains – 8/12/16

First of All -

  • First time traveling in South Dakota
  • First big horn sheep seen on the trip

Namely Speaking-

  • Pottawattamie
  • Council Bluffs
  • Sioux City
  • Sioux Falls
  • Mitchell
  • Corn Palace
  • Badlands

Loop Log:

  • Miles Driven today: 650
  • Total Miles Driven to date: 4,472
  • Hours Underway: 10
  • Fuel: 55 gallons
  • Morning House Battery Reading: 14.3 (plugged in)
  • Wind Speed: 15; Wind Direction: NW
  • Daily High Temperature: 87
  • Water Temperature: NA

DSCF6186Breakfast at the hotel is very good. We’re back on the road by 9am, feeling relaxed and refreshed. It rained last night, and is still drizzling when we take off. The sky remains overcast throughout the morning. The corn growing country in this part of Iowa is beautiful, with tall stands of corn as far as the eye can see. It’s hard not to be impressed with the richness of this land, and the agricultural productivity it’s so famous for. We stop for fuel shortly before reaching the Missouri River. I’ve decided to return home via I-90, so we jog north on I-29, passing through Sioux City and then picking up I-90 near Sioux Falls. We’ll stay on I-90 all the way back to Washington State.

As we roll westward, the landscape quickly changes. We’re in South Dakota now, and venturing out onto the Great Plains. CornfieldsDSCF6190 give way to grasslands. Billboards compete for attention, urging motorists to stop at the Reptile Gardens, the Corn Palace, the 1880’s Town, and Wall Drug. We motor on, pausing at the Missouri River crossing to fuel the truck and grab dinner. The drive after dinner is a scenic delight. Beautiful cloud formations create dramatic skyscapes. The sun beams through to light up vast fields of sunflowers, in full bloom. Rather late in the evening we take the Badlands National Park exit and drive down into the park. At the entrance station I jokingly ask the Park Ranger “Where’s the lake?” He appreciates the humor. In response to my inquiry about the park campground, he says it’s full, but suggests a place in the nearby town. We drive down into the park, enjoying the tortured scenery of the Badlands. We pass a beautiful bighorn ram, right beside the road, but I’m not quick enough to snap a photo. Just outside the park we find the local grocery the ranger told us about. They have some RV sites in a field across from the store, and we park there for the night. We have the place all to ourselves. Tomorrow we’ll take the scenic loop drive through the park, before climbing back onto the freeway and heading for Montana.

 

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