Wednesday, 5 October 2016

South Dakota road-trip (days 7 & 8)

It;s our last day at the Battle Creek Lodge and we wake at a reasonable time and have a leisurely breakfast of French Toast. After chatting to the lovely hosts and some of the other guests we load the car for the trip home and check out.

Glancing at the odometer we have done 1240 miles so far this trip. We leave Keystone and pick up the highway to Rapid City where we stop and fill the tank and I gave the windows a wash to remove the bugs.

We then get back on the I-90 heading towards Wall, our previous stop-over. Our first destination today would be the Badlands - the park ticket we purchased being valid for the entire week - on Sunday we had seen the beautiful Badlands at dawn, dusk and during the blazing heat of a late summers day, today it was more overcast and we saw yet again another set of stunning hues. We do love it here!

Driving west to east we stopped at many view points, some we had used on our previous trips and some entirely new ones, all felt new in the overcast light. We were delighted to see some Longhorn sheep taking in the stunning scenery and others running along the roads.

Driving out of the Badlands we stopped at the shop and visitors centre for postcards and souvenirs before picking up the I-90 heading east again towards the Missouri River. Getting ready for some lunch we stopped at Al's Oasis on the west bank of the Missouri River for another 5c coffee and grilled cheese sandwich each. These 5c coffees that we get in South Dakota are actually rather good and include free refills! Als is a strange place with some 'interesting' clientele.

Crossing to the east bank of the Missouri we again stop at the Chamberlain rest-area to take another look at the fantastic 'Dignity' statue that we had seen the dedication of on the previous Saturday. We got to get much closer and had a really good look at this impressive edifice.

About eight and a half hours after setting off from Keystone we arrived at Sioux Falls, first stopping for fuel and then on to the Super 8 - when in South Dakota and all that! - for the evening. We crashed out in the hotel and had a decent enough coffee from the lounge. It was not that late but although we were quite tired we thought we should do something. Brew-pub it is then, Victoria located the Hydra Beer Company about 15 minutes drive away and we headed over there.

The Hydra Beer Company has a metal aesthetic and we shared a lovely flight of Hefeweizen, Hexenbiest V1 (a nitro coffee brown ale), Unholy Vanilla Stout and Morning Star Berliner with a generous helping of the free popcorn and pretzels and a chat with a really nice bloke we met in the bar. We bought a bottle of Morning Star Peach Berliner to take home with us before heading back rather tired to the Super 8 where we crashed for the night.

Up for breakfast we went down to the lounge and had a passable repast but the most disgusting coffee we have ever tried before again mounting our trusty Honda for the last mere 450 miles! First stop was the post office to post the last handful of postcards (Jasmin likes to have one from everywhere we go!) and then on to the I-90.

First stop was a McDonalds somewhere in Minnesota so that Victoria could start her day with a decent cup of coffee and myself a Coke, our next stop would be an hour or two later when we stopped at the rest area just outside Austin to 'lose' the aforementioned coffee and cokes from earlier.

The weather was pretty miserable by now with quite heavy showers as we crossed back over the Mississippi and into Wisconsin, the last fuel stop at Tomah and then heading back to Madison. We were getting hungry again so stopped at Wisconsin Dells for a pretzel and coffee before blitzing the Disney Store for some goodies - Cheshire Cat, don't ask!

The last 50 miles back into Madison to unpack and crash out with a lovely Chinese take-away and Deadwood season 3.

2084 miles all told, what an adventure, bye bye South Dakota, you certainly have a lot of geography!

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