Excuse me, can you tell me what planet I’m on?

Badlands National Park, SD —   I must have taken a wrong turn coming out of Wall. This doesn’t look like the planet I started on!  Where are the trees, the snow-capped mountains, the lush forests, and the gurgling streams?  And why is the ground the wrong color??

After Montana and Wyoming, the Badlands do feel alien.  That said, I wish I had more time to spend here.  I think I could have spent a week taking pictures along the Badlands Scenic Byway.  There’s so much to look at, but for good pictures I really needed to be at some places at sunrise, and other places at sunset to do the park justice.


This was my first time through the badlands.  The terrain was amazing, and so much different than what I’d seen anywhere else.


The moon was rising as I neared the east end of the park.  This bit does remind me a bit of planet earth, somewhere in the Southwest.

badlands4They actually have a couple of campgrounds in the park.  What a fun place to stay!  Way more fun than a Marriot Courtyard!


Earlier in the day before entering the Badlands I went to Wall Drug, and a Minuteman Missile Silo.

Wall Drug is a famous tourist trap.  I don’t know how many signs Wall drug has along highway 90, but I suspect they have more than one person employed keeping the signs looking nice.   I guess their first sign, back in the day, simply advertized free ice water.

Wall Drug Highway Adverts
Wall Drug Highway Adverts

I didn’t spend much time in Wall.  The whole town is one long series of shops selling t-shirts, cowboy clothing, food and trinkets.  It was actually quite busy there — lots of cars as well as tour buses full of elderly folks.  I didn’t ask for my free water.

Wall Drug
Wall Drug

The missile silo I visited was a bit of a bust.  The visitors center doesn’t have too much to look at, and the quality of the video they showed wasn’t that great.  The control center might have been interesting, but they only allow 72 people a day to tour “the capsule”, so I would have had to been there around 7AM to get one of the coveted tickets.  The actual silo, which is several miles from the visitors center, takes about 10 seconds to look because there’s nothing to do but peer down into the silo from ground level.   Let me save you the trouble.  This picture is actually better than what you can see by eye because I held the camera out, and against the glass structure covering the silo.  I couldn’t see much without the camera because of the glare in the bright sun.

Minuteman Missile Silo
Minuteman Missile Silo

Next up:  The amazing thing I learned about Nebraska

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