Road Trip – South Dakota

Mount Rushmore is iconic and worth seeing and worth going to see if you are nearby.

The ponderosa pine forests near Mount Rushmore were interesting. It looks like the Park Service, or Forest Service or others are doing a good job of thinning and maybe burning. We drove through here in 1997. Back then, the woods were too thick. They were asking for attack by beetles and fire and the request was, unfortunately, granted. Management looks better now.

We also went to Wall Drug. For those unfamiliar, it is a complex of kitsch. You see signs every few miles as you drive up I-90. It is not far from the highway and worth stopping. Last picture shows some silos in Wall, SD. I just thought they looked cool.

Drove across South Dakota facing a bodacious wind strong enough to worsen our gas mileage. Funny thing is that we saw lots of windmills in Iowa and few in South Dakota. Must be differences in laws or subsidies.

South Dakota presents a variety of ecosystems. The place along the Missouri River is a lot like the upper Mississippi. You go west into great flat vastness. It has been rainy lately, so it is unusually green – almost Land of Oz green.

We took a side-trip through the Badlands. They are interesting to look at and there are lots of roadside notices talking about the unique ecology, but they are really just a lot of erosion, the kind of thing you might find in an abandoned gravel pit or abused farmland.

On the plus side, the area has largely left alone because it is not valuable for agriculture and it was hard to travel through. Lots of wildlife still exists here. My first and last pictures show bighorn sheep. Next is me with the Badlands in the background, followed by a closeup of some of the erosion. You can see the wind in the next picture and the green-green grass.

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