It has been a wounderful journey with so many memories made and so many to come. It has been long drives of seeing corn, corn, and more corn (oh, and did I forget to mention corn?). Then between these long drives we got to spend some quality time with family and friends. The visits were so nice because we got to catch up with with the Wilhelms and see Greg's new school. Then we drove to Aunt Catey and Uncle Doug's house, and had a great time hearing Uncle Doug's stories from his year at Deerwood. The next day we went out to get some supplies, and get some bikes since our old ones got ripped of the back of our camper. Afterwords, we went to Aunt Eileen's and caught up with the Barry's. It was so great to see all of them. We also explored the City Museum which is a really cool playground for all ages built into a 10 story building.
After a few wonderful visits we drove out to The Wilds, our first campground - a spacious RV park. We had a great bike ride along the Missouri river and through the woods, and at the end we saw a beautiful fawn. Another day of driving to make it out west as fast as we can, and a favorite part of our day was biking along side the banks of Lake Mitchell, with a pump track that had really fun jumps and bends. When we arrived at the Badlands, it was time for our journey to begin.
The Badlands is truly and amazing place, with a diverse amount of animals and land formations. The reason why the Badlands are so well know is because of it is where the prairie drops off along a 60 mile eroding sedimentary rock formation, (it's the picture on the cover page). It has the prairie mixed in with it, too. This allows the diverse life of deer, bison, prairie dogs, coyotes and the endangered black-footed ferret and swift foxes. It was also really fun watching the stars and remnants of the northern lights while a humongous thunder storm was raging to the south. Sadly, it was time to leave. We saw the depressing sight of the Massacre at Wounded Knee, and learned about how tough life is now for a hardworking Native American women. Then we got to the small yet intriguing Wind Cave National Park which would be our home for the next 3 days.
The was the first national park to be dedicated to protecting a cave that is the 4th largest in the world (due to barometric pressure readings of the caves, they think they have discovered only 10% of it.) Since it was the fourth largest cave in the world we had to take a tour through it. We learned that if a low pressure system is coming through the cave equalizes and breathes out and if a high pressure system is coming through it equalizes and breathes in. We also saw a lot of healthy animas such as a swift fox, bison, deers with antlers, and lots of bunnies and prairie dogs. We also heard elk buggelling and coyotes howling in the night.
As things happen there is sometimes changes in plans, ours was to go to Devil's Tower. Devil's Tower is a huge vertical pillar of igneous rock with what look like claw marks down the side. We had a nice, 6 mile bike ride up and down a big hill to get near the base of Devil's Tower where we saw prairie dogs, deer and vultures circling Devil's Tower and perched on a tree. It looked like a Halloween scene. When we got back, we watched Close Encounters of the Third Kind, were we could see Devil's Tower the whole time (oh, at the KOA we were staying at they show the movie every night!)