apparently i did not take the advice of “CONSTANT VIGILANCE” as well as i should have. because it applies to driving as well as running ragnar!
we broke camp this morning pretty quickly; we were packed up and on the road out by 10 a.m. liz and fam were on their way to go ziplining, and mom and i were going to check out the badlands. instead of hauling it on I90, i wanted to check out an alternative route. so first we headed up to check out pactola dam, then went into rapid city via hwy 44, which we were supposed to just stay on the entire time.
except i didn’t! i don’t know what happened, but somehow i ended up on 79 instead of 44, and we ended up going 20 miles (!) south before realizing it. i blame bad signage in rapid city. we were even checking out landmarks on the map to make sure we were going the right way! i’m sure i missed a sign or something.
so, by the time i realized i was going the wrong way, we sure weren’t going to turn around. instead we traveled maybe 30 miles on gravel roads to get up to the road we were supposed to be on to come into the badlands from the south.
the good news is that i saw the buffalo gap national grasslands and parts of the badlands that i’d never seen before. bad news? it probably ate up an extra hour or so of the day. oh well. at least i didn’t have to call in for a 2 p.m. meeting!
once we got into the main loop, the badlands were badlands-y like always! the highlight for me was seeing the vault toilet that was available right away after we entered the park. we’d planned on being able to stop at one the towns on the route we were supposed to take.
but the badlands were looking good!
we hit up the dining area and gift shop on the way out. i’d forgotten how great that gift shop was! and the food wasn’t bad (nate and i had not tried out the food the last time we were out).
it was SO HOT. it was close to 100º while we were driving across the prairie. after the badlands, i kicked it up to 85 and we made it to chamberlain after losing an hour crossing from mountain back into good ol’ central time. i don’t know that i’ve ever stopped at chamberlain on the way back – i’ve always just booked it across SD and MN in 10 hours to get back home. it’s not bad to meander sometimes.