We got up early on May 8 and left Lake Point Drive at 6AM. We stopped along the way later and ate breakfast in our traveling home, took a rest and continued on this long day that brought us to Elkhart, Indiana after traveling 500 miles.
Our second day was only 321 miles to Wisconsin Dells, after battling our way through the Chicago construction traffic. We had expected to view rock formations that were purported to be extensions of the picture rocks of Lake Superior. However what we found was a Midwest version of Coney Island with lots of water slides.
On the third day, things began to get interesting. While driving I-90 approaching Austin MN, we noticed an unusual billboard - for the SPAM Museum. Who could resist! Austin is the Corporate Headquarters of SPAM's creator, Hormel. This Museum is about 5 years old and home to the SPAMboree each June, featuring the singing SPAMettes. We enjoyed the Museum immensely and purchased SPAM earrings and flip-flops as well as cans of SPAM for our larder.
After this welcome break from the sameness of the interstate highway system, we pushed on to our overnight destination of Sioux Falls, SD. From there we continued across most of South Dakota on Thursday to the Badlands National Park where we stayed at the sparsely populated National Park Service Campground, and Tom acquired his Golden Age National Park Pass - the best senior citizen deal in the world ($10 for lifetime). Our trip log showed we had traveled 1495 miles.
Friday morning we went for a 4-mile loop hike through the beautiful and dry Bad Lands. One of the exhilarating sights was a herd of bounding antelope. After returning to our van, we drove on through the Badlands, stopping at the overlooks. We reconnected with I-90 at Wall SD home of the "famous" Wall Drugstore - a self-made, and vary popular tourist attraction - sort of a Parkleigh gone wild with a Western theme. We were less than thrilled.
From Wall, we pushed on to Piedmont SD in the Black Hills. Our stop that night was Sacora Station Campground and steak restaurant and bar. We treated ourselves to a delicious dinner and enjoyed excellent service - since we were the only customers besides the locals at the bar.
With an exceptionally early start on Saturday we crossed much of Wyoming and watched the altitude continue to increase on our GPS as it had been doing over the last day or two while we traversed the high plains. We were nearly a mile high, yet the snowcapped Big Horn Mountains still loomed in the distance ahead of us. At Sheridan WY, we began our climb into these beautiful mountains, where we stopped for lunch beside a still-snowy forest. From there we went over the pass and down to Cody WY - home of Buffalo Bill. We stocked up on vital provisions such as Ben & Jerry's in this last big town before Yellowstone and spent the night at the Ponderosa Campground in Cody.