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Sunday, January 20, 2013

24 States in 27 Days - Day 5:

Oct. 14th, 2012, Sunday: Waking to the glow of sunshine on the Devil’s Tower, we walked down to the river for more photo ops. It was a beautiful morning! 

We left without breakfast or coffee, sharing a granola bar while stopping for more photos along the Belle Fourche river. 

Back on I-90 we pulled off in Spearfish where Brad spotted a bright pink coffee kiosk. Hoping to drive to Mt. Rushmore and take a tour of the NW corner of South Dakota, he stepped outside of the truck to look at a map with the coffee barista. Not remembering he’d taken off his glasses, he sat back down in the truck right on top of them! Luckily he didn’t break them but he did bend them pretty badly… That along with the realization we needed to start making tracks if we were to arrive in Michigan before my Aunt and Uncle moved, made for a bit of a rough morning. Leaving the Black Hills behind we hopped back onto I-90, thinking we’d have time to drive through the Badlands instead. A short while later, Brad passed a cop, going 79 mph in a 75 zone. No worries, right? Wrong… Pulled over, on I-90, a young police officer had me roll down the passenger window, collected all our info, then asked Brad to come back with him to his car! How was I supposed to give any input that way?! After some tense moments, Brad returned with just a warning. Phew! Welcome to South Dakota! I joked with Brad, it must be time to shave his days old scruffy beard! 

We soon stopped at a rest area where we had a nice breakfast in the sunshine - trying not to blow away in the powerful winds. Of course, everyone needs to experience Wall Drug, so we made a stop on our way to the Badlands National Park entrance. I drove while Brad practiced his drive-by photography. 

Truly another natural phenomenon worth checking out. 

Coming out on the east end of the park Brad took over driving and I photographed the amber prairie and wonderful puffy clouds.

Time to beeline east. We scooted along on I-90, slipping into Minnesota after dark, around 7:45 central time. Spying a state park on our road atlas we took the Luverne exit, drove through town, then north where we found signs and easy directions to the campground, which we were happy to see was open. It was cold out, temperature in Luverne was 50º but it felt even colder when we stopped to pick up a campground map at the closed office. We pulled into a vacant spot - not many campers this evening, so there were lots to choose from. We were at Blue Mounds State park where it seemed like we were camping real close to nearby farms. The aroma of cows or maybe bison was part of our evening enjoyment, and once we were in bed we heard weird bird warbling sounds not far away. Maybe turkeys? A truck with a tent camper arrived, drove past, then soon returned and stopped at our site. A woman ran out of the truck and grabbed a dog outside which was possibly what set off the birds. Evening entertainment for us as we peered into the darkness through our canopy windows. Even though we didn’t have any close camping neighbors, we decided to put up our curtains to block any further ruckus! Later that night we were awakened by coyotes yipping off in the distance. 

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