It was 223 miles from Mitchell to Wall, SD, all of it over I-90, heading due west 99% of the time. There was a very stiff southern wind the whole trip which made the journey more difficult than normal. Even though the Mothership weighs about 32,000 pounds, the wind still tries to move her around a good bit. The steering wheel was cocked about 30 degrees to the left the entire trip. We have also started the long ascent to the continental divide, this trip changing elevation by almost 1,500 feet. From St. Louis to Mitchell we had gone up almost a 1,000 feet. Our gas mileage reflects the climb with us averaging a little less than 7 MPG since St. Louis.
We are staying at Sleepy Hollow RV Park & Campground
in Wall and have a 50 amp, full hookup, pull-through site with free WiFi (pretty good right now but very few people here), good satellite and Verizon reception. As we got here, the wind was blowing steadily with 30 MPH gusts and that never makes for fun camping but it will pass. Winds and the plains kind of go together.
Friday we did our touring. First was a stop at the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site
. Just in this small area in western South Dakota, there was once 150 Minutemen II missiles on the Launchpad ready to be fired at a moments notice as a deterrent to the USSR during the height of the cold war. There was one Control Facility for 10 missile sites. There were a total of 450 armed nuclear missile sites on the northern plains of this country. The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START)
signed on July 31, 1991, led to the decommissioning of all of them. One missile site and one control facility was kept as this National Historic Site.
Next we went into Badlands National Park
. Before touring this park we never knew how Wall, SD got its name. In the park there is a lower plain formed by the White River and then an upper plain separated from the lower plain by the rock wall of formations in the park. This wall is constantly being eaten away and retreating North. It was a nice tour and we were able to walk a some short trails which felt good to get back in the saddle. We have missed walking our trails! We included a couple of pictures of some prairie dogs as their towns are located in several places within the park. We also saw some Big Horned Sheep as well.
Saturday, we went to the famous Wall Drug
. It hasn't changed much from our previous visits though it did seem a little cleaner than in the past - maybe because the season is not in full swing yet. Sunday was spent relaxing and taking care of some things on the Mothership. Hopefully we find someplace we can wash her soon - she really needs it!
Tomorrow, we head for six nights in Custer State Park, one of our favorite places to visit.