What a surprise

Trip Start Apr 10, 2005
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Trip End Dec 20, 2005


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Flag of United States  , South Dakota
Saturday, June 4, 2005

Most people wouldn't think twice about South Dakota, but what a delight it was to find this state one of the most enjoyable places to visit! Mind you, 90% of the state is flat and I was certainly victim of the hypnotic illness of driving a straight highway through flat land and massive big skys. At first it's impressive, the vastness of the grand prairie, but after an hour, it's like your driving through an endless dream. You get so addicted to reading the billboards since that's all there is do to keep yourself amused.

And as soon as you enter South Dakota, there are billboards for some weird destination called "Wall Drug" every couple of miles that you can't help but wonder what and where it is. Well it was nothing more than a cheesy, western-style tourist trap, of which we couldn't help ourselves but gawk at all the "junk" tourists were willing to buy. Couple of cheesy photos later, we left to enter Badlands National Park.

Now since returning to Toronto, we were pretty disspointed we weren't going to visit the Grand Canyon, so the next best thing were the Badlands of South Dakota and it sure didn't dissapoint! It was so drastic a landscape we had ever seen, you could not help but be taken aback by the erosion patterns and the sheer drops into the canyon valleys. The drive through was sensational, such an alien landscape.

The next highlight was to the very west of South Dakota in Custer State Park where they boasted wild Bison herds amongst many other free-roaming animals. As soon as we entered past the gate, both of us jumped out of our seats at the large black object by the side of the road behind a tree. "What was that!?" Karin exclaimed. "Probably just a statue of a Bison. It's not like they're walking around everywhere." I said. Well, I was wrong because there are Bison grazing just about everywhere. They're about 6ft tall from hoof to hump and pretty intimidating when they walk by you grazing the grass. "Please don't squish us Mr. Bison, we're just two itty bitty girls from Toronto."

Custer State Park was like a big safari park, we could drive past huge Bison herds with the newly born calves, and spotted plenty of White Tail deer, Pronghorn deer and a pair of female Bighorn Sheep. Wow, just like that! Then there were these damn lucky donkeys that somehow got a free ticket to live in paradise. The park calls them "Beggin Burros" cause they'll come right into your car looking for snacks. Well, who could resist?

Sam's favourite though, are the big Prairie Dog "towns" all over the plains. He can get pretty close to them, and they sure are darn cute standing straight up and making such an awful squawk. We stayed at yet another quiet waterfront campsite and made our jaunt up to see Mount Rushmore and the Cathedral Spires of the Black Hills. What a sensational place, almost magical! We left South Dakota with a sense of immense peacefulness, onwards to Yellowstone Park in Montana.
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