October 11-12, 2017
From now on, the date on the blog post itself will be the date that the post was actually posted. The date(s) that the events occurred will be written at the top of every post. This allows us to schedule posts so we can post on days when we don’t have internet access.
After taking a few days to reorganize, plan, and buy additional supplies, we set out on our trip to cover the Western United States. Originally, we had planned on stopping at places in almost every state along the way; however, due to impending inclement weather, we decided that we needed to book it out to the highlights. We learned that some of the parks in the Rocky Mountains close down most of the way in October and November and we wanted to make sure we didn’t miss them.
We decided our first major stop was going to be Badlands National Park in South Dakota. The first day, we drove about halfway there and stopped at Albert Lea KOA in Minnesota. We didn’t leave till almost 2pm but we managed to drive 605 miles, averaging over 74 mph. We only stopped once and that was just for gas. We decided to just sleep in the front seats of the car so we could get an early start the next day. After struggling to sleep for a short bit, Lauren decided to crawl to the back and stretch out on top of all the tubs and suitcases. She somehow got comfortable and fell asleep directly.
In the morning, we continued our journey to the Badlands. We made a stop in Mitchell, SD for lunch and to visit their Cabelas store. We thought about visiting the Corn Palace, but decided to keep moving on. We arrived at Badlands National Park and stopped by the visitor center before driving the main road through the park. The rock formations were quite eerie, and we enjoyed many overlooks along the drive. We saw a ton of wildlife: bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, coyote, deer, pronghorn, and bison – most of which were right on the road beside our car. We drove the longer nature trail drive and saw a huge herd of bison.
By the time we left the park, it was pretty dark so we drove on to Rapid City KOA. With our late arrival along with the 2 hour time change, we were starving. It was freezing (literally) and super windy outside as we cooked some hamburgers on our camping stove. We scarfed them down and then set up our tent. Our heated blanket turned out to be a very wise investment. It got very, very cold that night. Thanks to the heated blanket, we were nice and toasty, except for our heads. We had to make a bathroom run in the middle of the night and thought we were going to die of hypothermia. We woke the next morning to find frost covering our tent and car. What the heck.
End Days 50-51.