Tag Archives: Badlands

A Bit of the Bad Lands

Yes, Bad. Time had come to move on West. Typical drive across South Dakota. Made a quickie in Mitchell to see the Corn Palace. A place I have seen as a child, but don’t possess the memories for. To my surprise this is what I found:

The Corn Palace as of July 2014. Nothing but a big ol' gymnasium!
The Corn Palace as of July 2014. Nothing but a big ol’ gymnasium!

Well, what a bust, but no matter, it wasn’t the focal point of today’s trip. I enjoyed so much driving across South Dakota. I enjoyed being part of the other RVs and campers, popups, A, B, C class. I felt like I was part of the group. But really, I wasn’t. I have an old van. It doesn’t have a sink, bathroom, a stove, or rear A/C. You can’t even stand in it. I felt like how motorcyclists feel when they see another motorcyclist – they do that subtle downward wave to acknowledge one another when passing. I wish RVs had that. That would be cool. I want that. Can we start doing that? What would the gesture be? One day I hope to be a REAL RVer, For now, to everyone else I am just another vehicle, but today I smiled and waved at every RV that came my way.

The Badlands are AMAZING! But so HOT! I’ve never seen a desert, but I felt like I was in one.

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Thelma was not enjoying herself and I took too much time stopping and taking pictures. It was 4pm when I got there and next thing I knew it was nearing 8 and I still hadn’t hunkered down in a spot. The free site to camp in the Badlands is Sage Creek. IT IS IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE! I had fumes for gas, and trudging down a windy dirt road. I saw a sign saying Wall, SD was 10 miles away so I raced into town to fill my tank. I definitely didn’t want to be stranded in the Bad Lands. 

Wall is a funny town and filled with tourists. Thing about traveling with a dog is you can’t visit many shops. I raced through Wall Drug, got my gas and Izzy and I were back on the road.

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The heat made me discouraged about sleeping in the Badlands. I sought places to stay in town, but couldn’t get myself to spend the money. I wanted to be in the Badlands because I read Sage Creek boasts spectacular views of the stars and the possibility of sleeping among the bison. This particular night it had none of that. I felt uncomfortable being so off the grid…and grateful for a pit toilet.

I bought a generator specifically to use for this night. It didn’t work!! Ahhhh, so hot!!! There were two RVs in Sage Creek. While I was apprehensive about talking to strangers, can’t trust anyone on the road they say, I walked up to the biggest RV there. I figure, RV owners must know a thing or two about generators. This idea was given to me by my good friend and pseudo mother, Karen. “Just go ask for help,” she said. So I did. I didn’t get his name, but he and his wife were from Missouri, had the best accent, great sense of humor, and were true characters. Maybe in their 50s or 60s, they hit the road to get away from the stresses of family, and wound up in the Badlands. What luck! The silliest thing about meeting them, and silly for me because this is something I rarely have been around, the man said, before agreeing to come over and fix my generator, he “Need me a weeeeed,” and he and his wife took a hit off a joint. I didn’t understand at first so started walking away and he said, “Now just a minute, Ma, pass it to her.” I politely declined. They chuckled, and we left to my site. This guy was awesome. A tinkerer and possibly part of the biker variety what with his cut off sleeves, bandana, chops, and mopy hair. He had no sensor for swear words and had a thing or two to say about Menards, where I bought the generator. With a magic touch it worked and Thelma was finally able to cool down.

It was met several minutes later with disgruntled campers…of course. So I turned her off and soon learned why they wanted the silence – you could hear the coyotes in the distance. 

I didn’t see any Bison.


Saw a goat. Didn’t sleep; too warm. And happy to be out of the wilderness and headed to an RV park and campground with SHOWERS for the next night. The Badlands were amazing, but great just for visiting a few hours. I’m just not wildman enough to spend another night there. 😛