Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wednesday, 8 August

A day devoted to getting across as much as possible of South Dakota. We expected to find straight roads and endless miles of flat prairie. That is pretty much what we got but there were some welcome surprises.

Eastern South Dakota was mostly flat to rolling. There were huge fields of corn and soybeans (there is no such thing in South Dakota as a small field). Occasionally there would be a huge field of sunflowers. We saw very few farm buildings. We wondered if the land was mostly owned by huge agri-businesses.

Jean tried driving the motorhome for about forty miles. She was a little nervous at the start, but wanted a road with no challenges. It turns out that the biggest challenge was staying awake.

Then we came to a rest area that advertised a scenic overlook. What, we wondered, could be so scenic here?

Lo and behold, it was the Missouri River far below us. It flows through a deep valley that appears suddenly with no warning. This is where Lewis and Clark made one of their camps, and the rest area had several interesting displays about them. We spent a little time here, but it was very hot and we couldn't leave YumYum in the car for long since there is no shade in South Dakota rest areas. You could spend years studying the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Back on the road, the hills soon leveled out into the same, basically flat, landscape.

 As we traveled west, agriculture slowly became cattle ranching. The land here is dry, and we saw lots of hay bales. It is a sign of how interesting the area is when you find yourself noticing the different was people stored their hay bales in different areas.

When  you get to the western part of the state, you suddenly run into the Badlands. Gene's first reaction to the Badlands was to wonder how the pioneers moving west ever got through them with Conestoga wagons and oxen. Jean was merely blown away.

What can you say? It is indescribable. Tomorrow we expect the scenery to be better than it was most of today.

1 comment:

  1. So check to seeing the Badlands. Think I'll pass on the rest of SD, though. Hope you are staying cool today. Love ya.