Sunday, August 31, 2014

Huron to Rapid City Via the Badlands

I didn't plan on this being more than 1 or 2 posts about our trip but I can't seem to condense it down to that. Work with me and I'll keep it interesting. I promise! Part one can be found here.

With Huron in our rear-view mirror we headed west on Highway 14 toward Pierre, the capital of South Dakota and a city I'd never been to. Tammy was in control of the music this entire vacation and I was happy to let her surprise me with her selections. Never once did she disappoint. I could tell that she was cheating a little in my favor, not that there's much of a difference in our likes.

We'd both been dreaming of our time away for a while and the chance to just point our car in the direction of the open road while watching the world pass by and not thinking (especially Tammy) about work.

In another life I could've maybe been a long-haul trucker, but maybe not. There's something very seductive about seeing the world this way but I don't suppose my blood clotting condition (Factor V Leiden) would be a good match for sitting in a truck's cab for extended periods. 

We weren't in any hurry to get to where we were going so when an interesting scene unfolded in front of us we'd pull over to experience it in real-time and not at 70+ mph. Such was the case with the fields of sunflowers that surrounded us somewhere between Huron and Pierre. I'd never seen so many! We enjoyed getting out and photographing them and having a closer look. I remember driving off and thinking how much fun that was and what we'd have missed out on had we just sped past them instead.

The Badlands were our main stop along the way in our travels for Friday. Whenever someone tells me they'll be traveling through western South Dakota I always encourage them to make the Badlands a part of their plans if they aren't already. To miss out on them is a big mistake. Despite the advertising signs beginning hundreds of miles away, take a pass on Wall Drug instead if you're looking to save time.

We stopped a couple times during our drive through this otherworldly place to hike and take photos. One thing you notice is that the dirt/soil/clay that make up the Badlands seems to be very crumbly. Tammy was wondering how it is that it hasn't eroded or washed away yet. I found this quote online from the National Parks Service: "The Badlands erode at the rapid rate of about one inch per year. Evidence suggests that they will erode completely away in another 500,000 years, giving them a life span of just one million years. Not a long period of time from a geologic perspective."

So many times on this trip I found myself dreaming of being on my bike and and how cool it would be to someday ride these roads we were taking. Someday.

We eventually made it to our room at the Holiday Inn in Rapid City, a place we'd liked very much when we stayed there some 13 years or more earlier. It's a smoke-free hotel but it didn't appear that our room was living up to that. More on that later.

We did a pretty good job of saving our appetites for Firehouse Brewing Co in the city. It's not that the food is great because it's really not but we really enjoyed ourselves the last time we were there with Rachel 10 years ago and we sort of wanted to maybe recapture some of that. I think we did.

We kicked around the city after dinner, going in and out of the many shops and bars in downtown Rapid City. I commented to Tammy that if we didn't retire in Lakeville I'd like to give serious consideration to settling down in the Rapid City area. I don't see it as being a choice we'll ever actually make; more of dream than anything else.

But I've always been a dreamer.

(Part 3 can be found here)

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