So far on this trip we have been pretty frugal with where we camp, I guess always looking for a good bargain runs in the family. We got into the Badlands national park pretty late so there was no one at the little station. We continued on driving keeping the change in our pockets for another night. When we rolled into the campsite we were faced with the same issue, no one was there. Truly a shame isn’t, when you have to pay to get in somewhere but it always seems people are conveniently absent when you go. It’s such a struggle not having to pay...
As we settled into our home for a night at the cedar pass campsite we cooked up some dinner of lentils, rice and some garbanzo beans. Such an appetizing meal at first glance, not sure why we had any leftovers to be honest with you. We planned to wake up early to catch the sunrise as we heard it was beautiful here. Sadly we woke to a cloudy day and no sun to be seen. We packed up our stuff, did the dishes from the night before that we were too lazy to do, filled our water jugs and hit the road to travel through the beautiful badlands.
Kember drove first but we made it less than a mile out of the campsite before we had to stop for her to get all of her film cameras ready for action. I took this time to check the coolant and add oil to Vandy. I even had several minutes to spare thanks to Kember's mass of camera equipment, so I walked around a bit, I even “climbed” a small hill. The badlands are pretty remarkable it's all this clay like material, the rain causes the mountains and hills to erode. Something about that stuck in my head all throughout the day, that the badlands I am seeing right now are different from the ones people saw last year or even a week ago. Even if it’s the smallest difference I feel like it adds a personal meaning.
We stopped several more times to take in all the beauty, each direction you looked seemed pretty and more breathtaking then the last. We finally made it a whopping 6 miles to a small lot that had hiking trails off of it, and this weird wooden platform you could walk on that just took you around in a circle. We met some people who commented on Vandy and said they saw us the day before driving and hoped to see us again in the badlands. I like to think we made their dreams come true. As they got to their car the man pulled out a jar of pickles… This then made us immediately think we also needed pickles to add to our collection of miss match food that stocks our fridge. Right now it's full of, pickles of course, cookie dough, kombucha, grape jelly, peach salsa, Kember pudding jar and our lovely leftovers.
We hiked around a bit and as we headed back to the van we call our home I saw these 3 little old ladies that seemed to be in quite a debacle. They left their car on the side of the road to go for a hike but as it turned out the path they took didn’t loop back to where they started. They were warned about this issue but decided to take the risk. One lady came up to me explaining this issue, even though I guess I was eavesdropping unknowingly. So she hopped in the van and we were off to find her car. A few minutes pass and we are all caught up on each others back stories of why we are here and where we are headed, there was still one problem, no sign of the car. So we swung back around and dropped her back off with her friends Lynda and Kate. I only know their names because she yelled them as I opened the door for her to hop out. For the rest of the day every parked car I saw I wondered if it was the lovely trio of ladies we met up with earlier. I hope they found their car by now, it’s late and cold, but most importantly they had a dinner reservation at 5!!
Another exciting moment today, while we were at the grocery store Kember saw a sign saying “German Shepherd Puppies For Sale.” She was hooked and I mean we called the owner and were about to drive an hour to her house. I knew this would be a horrible idea, a cute and very fun one, but horrible. We called our lovely parents to tell them the fantastic news!! They were going to have a new grandpup, they immediately shot down the idea. Kember spent the rest of the day sulking at this idea. We even thought of some adorable names for this new little guy that could have joined our adventures, I of course suggested Dakota because we are in South Dakota, I don’t think I have to mention the other names we tossed around because that ones the best. Feel free to let me know in the comments if you think we should add a dog to this trip. I don’t think my sister will let this one go for awhile, she asked me why I hated dogs or she never failed to mention that we could have been at the pet store right now picking out cute toys and collars for this new addition. The one that got me the most was that I could be cuddling this little fluff ball. She almost had me I have to admit but I stuck my ground at being the more mature sister.
The rest of the day was full of more amazing views as we headed to a new campsite in the badlands. There are hundreds of cows, bison or buffalo (not sure if there's a difference) and prairie dogs which I have to admit have the cutest little butts. Kember even jumped out of the car and to what I believe got way too close to a buffalo/ bison (still don’t know) to take a picture.
I have had a lot of fun on this trip so far, I am not only seeing places I have never even seen before but I am getting to meet a lot of great people along the way. So many people see our little old Vandy driving by and toot their horns waving, some even come over to ask us about it. Most importantly to me I am getting to spend this time with my sister. We are getting to experience all this beauty the world has to show us together, I honestly wouldn’t have asked for a better partner in crime.
Greta Ann Vanderblue.