After nearly ten months of being off the road, except for a few short, nearby trips, it’s good to be exploring our beautiful country once again. We spent six days traveling through the heartland of America, through miles and miles of farmland and past busy ranches, through hill country and flat plains. Sadly, we saw vast areas still underwater from the recent flooding. In fact, many smaller bridges across the Missouri are still impassable requiring considerable detours. Speaking of the Missouri, we must have crossed it at least six times in one day, and we’ll be seeing it plenty more times on this trip. It’s 2,300+ miles long, and when it joins with the lower Mississippi it become the 4th longest river system in the world. Who knew? Not me, until I looked it up.
Those that take sparsely populated, rural America for granted need only to traverse it’s vastness to observe it’s richness; to realize how important the crops, fuel, and products produced there are to our comfortable way of life; to take note that it’s the little towns in middle American that keep the transportation routes open, crisscrossing this incredible country, allowing our travels, but more importantly facilitating the movement of goods. Yes, including all those Amazon packages. We saw lots of Prime Trucks! Urban America cannot survive without rural America, but be assured, rural America can survive on it’s own.
Needless to say we were tired after six days of driving but excited to arrive in the Badlands and begin our adventure. First, though, I must comment on several places we stayed along the way. We have to compliment two state parks: Davy Crockett State Park in Tennessee and Hawn State Park in Missouri. Both had excellent campsites, asphalt or concrete pads, were nicely treed, had grassy areas, and well maintained facilities. In the fall they both would be gorgeous, and I suspect stay very busy. Due to the crazy heat wave, we had to change our plans for boondocking at a Harvest Host cider mill site, because we knew air conditioning was a must. Luckily, we found a beautiful little campground, Victorian Acres, near Nebraska City. The staff was extremely friendly, the grounds were immaculate, and they saved the day for us. It was 96 degrees that night at 8:00 PM. Thank goodness for great RV air conditioning!
South Dakota was our first destination for sightseeing and so far, it is meeting our expectations. In 1987 we took a road trip with the kids to Yellowstone and the Tetons. We crossed South Dakota and drove into Wyoming in one day, stopping at the Badlands and Mt Rushmore along the way. Road construction in the Black Hills slowed us down so we drove through Deadwood and just waved to Devils Tower as we passed by. It was quite the day, and a memorable family trip we treasure. Jennifer and Matt have each recreated their own version of that trip with their families. This time Larry and I want to actually spend some time here in SD, so we’ve devoted a week to what was a single day trip thirty-two years ago. Our first major stop, The Badlands!