Okay, so now I’m going to start recounting mine and Jennifer’s road trip out to Oregon. I’m going to do this through multiple posts because I want to share pictures without the post being too long. Day 1 of the trip was May 21st when we left the Milwaukee area around 8:30 am, with a Starbucks Caramel Latte in hand. The only place we stopped in WI was at Paul Bunyon’s restaurant in WI Dells – for some yummy breakfast. The rest of WI and Minnesota were pretty uneventful. It was a gorgeous day for traveling.
Our travel companions Buffalo Bill (purchased from National Park Service) and Wish Bear. They wanted to see where we were going.
We made it all the way to Oacoma, SD in the evening. The only other place we spent any time that day was in Sioux Falls, SD. We hit the mall for dinner and to get our nails done (we “rough” it while vacationing ;)). After dinner we went to Falls Parks in Sioux Falls.
Falls Park, Sioux Falls, SD (May 21st)
Falls Park, Sioux Falls, SD (May 21st)
Day 2 brought out the power vacationers in Jennifer and I! This post will only be covering Badlands National Park. Day 2 also included Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse Monument and driving through Black Hills National Forest. Before I detail more of our Badlands NP adventures I have some random tidbits. During a summer if you are going to multiple National Parks and Monuments, I would suggest investing in an Annual Pass. This parking pass covers entrance fees for US Fish & Wildlife Service, Forest Service, Bureau of Land Managment, National Park Services (parks & monuments), and Bureau of Reclamation areas. It saved us from having come up with the money on the spot at the entrance gates for many places. The other tidbit I have actually came from a colleague (thanks Laura!), and that is to invest in the National Parks Passport book. It’s inexpensive and a great way to document the different national parks and monuments that you visit. In one week I put 7 stamps in my book! I’m hoping to put a few more in before the end of summer. One last tidbit I have is to do your research. Each National Park has a wealth of information on the internet (including educational videos to watch before visiting) and most of the parks have twitter feeds that give real time information about the park. Books are also helpful. I bought The Official Guide to America’s National Parks, put together by the National Park Foundation.
Badlands National Park was gorgeous. That doesn’t accurately describe it though. The park was breathtaking.
The day was sunny, breezy, and hot (almost 90*!). Even though I had a ton of sunscreen on, I still got my tan on. 🙂 We drove the Badlands Loop on Rte 240 that ran along the northern rim of the park. It was an easy drive and there were plenty of places to stop and take pictures along the way. This loop also has the park headquarters (Ben Reifel Visitor Center), which is where we stopped to find park info, souveniors, and to get the first stamp for our passport.
Jennifer take pictures over the edge. She was bold with her photography. She had to get all the great pictures. 🙂
Buffalo Bill overlooking Badlands National Park.
Me at Badlands National Park.
All in all, our morning at Badlands National Park was fantastic. I couldn’t wait to visit other national parks after visiting this one. Here are a few more facts about the Badlands NP. It was established as a National Monument in 1939, and was later redesignated as a National Park in 1978. Total acreage is 244,000, with 64,144 of that being wilderness. The park also has the largest expanse of protected prairie (Buffalo Gap National Grasslands) within in the National Park System. The facts were from the Badlands Visitor Guide that I picked up at the visitor center.
I can’t wait to share the rest of our adventures from the road trip. The rest of Day 2 will be coming soon! Oh, and I took all the pictures with the exception of the one of the me, Jennifer took that one.