Sent: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 5:32 PM
Subject: Badlands V
After Chris and Brooke headed out, I took off to
explore more of the park. I headed down to the Southern section of the
park to check out this several mile dirt road that goes up onto one of those
big mounds of dirt with a prairie on top. As you will see in the
pictures, the dirt road was pretty rough, and at times was just two ruts about
8" lower than the dirt in the middle, but the van handled it like a
champ. I can see why the people that own the 4WD versions say it is
the best off road vehicle out there, because mine tore it up. At times I
felt like I was on the moon, the landscape was so crazy, and once I got on top
( I guess they are called Buttes), and was driving along a cliff, the scenery
was amazing. Here's a look, although most of the pictures I took were on
the real cameras....
After that little adventure I headed up the road,
hoping to get some better pictures at the front of the park than when I came
in, stopped for gas, ice, and what I was quickly realizing to be THE most
important supply (with coffee a close second)....Beer. Not only is a
cold beer at the end of the day a beautiful thing unto itself, but it is worth
its weight in gold in the camping community. I could probably throw out
all of my food, fill the van with beer and ice, and trade for food cooked by
other people. Made it to the front of the park and was getting some
amazing light from the sun so I stopped to take some pictures. As I was
getting out of the van, this guy walked up to me and started talking about
Vanagons. He has one, and it turns out he recognized mine from the
campground. He and a friend of his were from Michigan and were traveling
out West for about 3 weeks. He invited me over for some sort of gin
concoction they were having that night. As I was getting to my prime
location for pictures, some clouds started rolling in, so I set up and waited
for about an hour for the light to come back. Never got the light I
wanted, but I shot about 2 1/2 rolls of film trying to get a shot of
lightning. I think I got one good one, and maybe one ok one. We'll
see whenever I get my film developed.
When I got tired of waiting for the light, I set
out for the campground and got there in time for a very impressive sunset....
Maniacs! You Blew it Up!....I mean, uhh, look at this slightly
overexposed picture of the sunset....
I had been thinking about having a relaxing
evening, but my two new friends from Michigan wandered over with a beer.
Turns out that in their haste to leave, they forgot a stove, and had some
hotdogs sitting in their cooler. I offered up my stove, and in return
they offered up some hotdogs. Damn those were tasty hotdogs.
In the end, they gave me all the leftover hotdogs since they had no way to
cook them. MMMmmmm hotdogs for lunch for the next three days. So I
sat around with my new friends drinking beer until bedtime. The one guy
was pretty funny, after quite a few beers he got into this huge argument
with his friend (who had just been laid off from one of the Big # accounting
firms) about the uselessness of what his chosen career was. When they
got into what was apparently a very old argument, I decided to go to bed, at
which point he settled down and told me how cool my trip was and gave me a
The next morning I woke up early for some reason.
I could hear the coyotes barking to greet the new day, so I got up to
take some pictures of the sunrise......
After getting packed up, I headed out of the
badlands, with plans to head towards the Black Hills and everything