Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Badlands and Custer Feat. Buffalo

We left Minnesota early on the morning of the 16th. Passing through South Dakota we made it to the Badlands and Custer. A drive by park experience, the first days of our trip was a whirlwind of driving that took us through South Dakota, the Badlands, Custer state park and Mt. Rushmore.

The Badlands drive took us through painted hills and colorful rocks. We stopped and took a few pics along the way, hiked up a hill and enjoyed a picnic.

While driving through the entire state of South Dakota we kept seeing signs about a mysterious place called Wall Drug! now Wall Drug is an old establishment that is along the gateway to the West. Travellers would pass by but wouldn't stop. That is until one day Wall Drug's proprietors decided to offer cold ice water to passerby. This changed Wall Drug's fortune forever and to this day they attract a crazy amount of tourists (like us). We had to stop, the sheer number of giant billboards convinced us and i'm glad we stopped. Riding the giant jackrabbit was definitely worth the stop.

A quick driveby of Mt. Rushmore  proved that it looks just like the pictures!

Now the Black Hills and Custer were fantastic and beautiful. So glad to have stopped by and seen the amazing sights. While driving through Custer we came across a huge herd of Bison (aka Buffalo). We thought of our friend Claire who absolutely adores them. I was taking a bit of a siesta when I awoke to the sight of large buffalo surrounding the car. It was surreal. I think that was the first time I'd seen a buffalo (except a water buffalo in Thailand) up close a personal. 

Starting The Roadtrip

I have never been one to turn down an adventure. When my girlfriend Ashley invited me to go with her on a roadtrip I had to say yes. There were tentative plans in my mind to explore some national parks and I had just gotten a ticket to Burning Man. The idea of leaving a bit early to enjoy a bit of the country seemed like a fantastic idea.

I caught a redeye from Maui on June 12th and flew into Minnesota on the 13th. I arrived to a death in the family but was welcomed in wholeheartedly just the same.

Ashley's friends took us for a ride on the lake. Classical music under the stars. While not exactly the high seas we were able to have a bit of fun bobbing around on the calm lake, passing through channels and around moonlit bays.

Sometimes I think about where I am today and I thank my past self for putting things into motion that I can enjoy in the moment. There were definitely preparations to get to the point of embarking on a three month adventure. I found a subletter for my room and tied up some lingering business projects. I'm thankful for the efforts because the trip is already a success!