Thursday, June 18, 2009

Day 13 Badlands NP June 15, 2009

Captain’s Blog

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

It was a very quiet after the storm last night and we woke to clear skies and bright sunshine. The weather here is so volatile – one minute its clear the next a huge storm is rolling in. Later in the day more storms are expected.

Ron wanted to take the geology hike this morning only to find that it was the same presentation given by the same Ranger at the Plains hike last evening. We went back to the campground and headed west to Wind Cave National Park.

Again we are going at full steam and acting like we have only one month to complete this trip. Ron is go-go-go- and we put in long days. Slowing down is difficult for the both of us but we are trying.

We stopped and took a tour of Ellsworth Air Force Base and the Minute Man Missile Site there. The tour was great and the tour guide very knowledgeable. This time e were able to go into the actual silo. The base is used as a training station for the military and is not a live site.

The base is absolutely beautiful and the housing is brand new with duplex homes with two car - heated garages for each enlisted man’s family. Ellsworth has the best facilities for its men and women in the country.

We managed to get a site at Wind Cave National Park despite the sites being narrow and tight. At $6.00 a night we can’t complain. The area is beautiful, quiet and serene – all that we love.

After settling in at the campground we opted to take a ride around the park and headed for the wildlife highway. The speed limit is 15-35 miles per hour and is strictly enforced. Once out on the roadways we understood why. We encountered herds of buffalo ambling in the streets looking right at us. We saw tons of prairie dogs scampering everywhere in the fields. Prairie dogs are rodents but are really cute and bark like a dog. We saw prong horned deer, mules and antelope. What a variety of wildlife and all within a few miles of our campground. We have been so excited to see all the wildlife and watch the buffalo as they pass in front of our car. How fortunate are we to be able to do this.

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