Packed up from Big Pine Campground this morning and headed out around 11 am. We had a blast in the Black Hills area the last several days- there is enough stuff to do in this corner of South Dakota to spend a week. We look forward to coming back. We added a stop this morning- the world famous Wall Drug Store in Wall, S.D. I thought their story was inspirational- The newly married Hustead family moved to the very small (and very poor) town of Wall, S.D. in 1931 at the beginning of the Great Depression.
For 5 years they had no business and in 1936 the wife thought up the idea of offering free ice water to westward travelling motorists. They put up signs along I-90 (similar to South of the Border) and business boomed. Today, they occupy more than the city block, have 19 sub-stores within the store, restaurants, and other and welcome over 20,000 on a busy summer day! If they can succeed there, most of us can make it where we are. We had a nice lunch, walked around the shops (kids were in heaven with the tchotchkes galore) and everyone except G got the fudge- G got the huge donuts and they were tasty! We headed out on I-90 East mid afternoon and made the short trip down the road to the Badlands National Park exit. We were at a small campground on the far side in the small area of Interior, SD called Badlands Motel and Campground. It was a site- we pulled up and the dusty place had an above ground pool that a older gentleman in black Speedo was exiting- I told the kids we might be skipping the pool swim this time! The owner met us and gave us a personal escort in his circa early 1980’s Lincoln Town Car to our site- all 25 yards from the office! We set up and made a quick dinner and headed out to the visitor center for a quick intro. The Badlands is a surreal
landscape! I can only imagine being a homesteader in the 1800’s and coming upon the Badlands and the formidable wall they make. The formations have
been shaped by the elements and erosion more than any other park we have seen. We decided to explore the North Unit and left the visitor center for the 22 mile (44 round trip) ride out to the Pinnacles entrance back near the town of Wall. We stopped at numerous overlooks and short trails along the way and saw some beautiful views- (a different kind of beauty than a Yellowstone or Glacier but beauty nonetheless). The kids loved seeing the Bighorn Sheep right up close- there was a group of 10 about 10 feet off of the road! As we made the turn around at Pinnacles, darkness was setting in quick and we hurried back but saw our first ever porcupine right next to the road- pretty neat. We called it an early night and looked forward to heading south tomorrow to start our way home!