10/10/2003: Day 2: Westward to the Badlands
We woke to loud voices in the parking lot at 3:40. Foreign born truckers, perhaps. I could not puzzle out the language. KJ got back to sleep. I courted Morpheus unsuccessfully until she woke at 6:20. I was slower to rise, and reluctantly got up to my 7:00 alarm. Why did we have an alarm set? Well, we are trying to get to Vancouver. More hours equals more miles. So the theory goes. Went, as it turns out.
We had a breakfast Buffet at Bluffs Run Casino & were on the road at 9:00 on another dreary gray day. Casino buffets can usually be trusted to fill you up for a reasonable cost.
Visual image: As we drove up I-29 from Sioux City, IA to Sioux Falls, SD, we were once surrounded by a yellow blizzard: A Leaf Storm.
Ah, South Dakota. Land of rest areas with Concrete Teepees. Land of strong and gusty winds. From I-90 near Montrose, SD we again saw the sculpture garden with a huge rusty-steel longhorn. It's just an interesting landmark. Some day, we'll have to drive this way when the place is open.
One harbinger of the travels is that we encountered several Welcome centers that were already closed for the season. I took to calling these "Unwecome Centers"
I was amused by some of the billboards promoting Mitchell's Corn Palace: "Ears to you", "Be a-maize-d", and the like. We didn't stop, but you can visit their site here.
We stopped for gas in downtown Kimball, SD. There was a chain gas station right at the interstate, but a small billboard promised gas for ten cents less if we drove into town. It was an old local gas station, surviving the Interstate bypass because of that little billboard.
We remembered our last trip up this way, and the "Scenic View" over Chamberlin, SD where I-90 crosses the Missouri (see the 2001 view here). I found out that there are now 2 modern windmills barely visible from there to produce auxiliary power from the steady winds in the valley. Similarly, we zipped right past the "Rock Shop Ghost Town" & the steel skeletons of a man walking his T-Rex (use the previous link if you are curious).
We got to the Badlands shortly before sunset. The Badlands Lodge was booked up with a wedding party, but there was room in the Badlands Inn down below. After we checked in, we drove up to an area we'd missed on our previous trip here to hike around a bit and watch the sunset.