Tuesday, June 22 (Driving through Wisconsin, Minnesota, and South Dakota)

Evidence of the tornado could be seen a lot better in daylight. The guy in the next site had a tree on top of his trailer, so we watched them take it down with chainsaws while we cooked up eggs and toast and packed up the next morning.


Elizabeth starts her trip journal


A first page

Note: the bathrooms/showers were awesomely clean, and the place looked really nice (disc golf, swimming pool, big open grassy hills) and would have been a nice place to stop for an afternoon.

We wanted to get out of Wisconsin before lunch, but it was hard! Police were stationed every 5 miles and were pulling people over like crazy (???). Then, somewhere about an hour from LaCrosse, Julia went into a gas station bathroom and left her camera hanging in the stall – remembering it a half hour later! We had to go back, and she rode the whole way feeling awful ‘cause we told her it was certainly gone. I took her in to check it out, and sure enough, it wasn’t in the stall. She ran right up to the cashier, though, and asked if they’d found a camera. When they said they had, she started jumping up and down and was so seriously happy. She walked out saying the people of Wisconsin must be the nicest people in the world, ‘cause they didn’t take her camera. So here’s a shout out to Travis and the nice folks working at the Road Ranger somewhere in Wisconsin.

When we hit the Mississippi River, we pulled out the coolers and had sandwiches and chips at the Welcome Center.

DSC02627     DSC02632

           Looking out at the Mississippi                              Near our picnic spot


Minnesota!  Still a long ways to go

There were some long trails along the river, so Mike took Buster out for a good long bike ride/run before we packed back into the car. We made it through Minnesota and had to make some decisions when we crossed into South Dakota. It was already evening, and our desired destination, the Badlands, was still hours away. After driving through for a quick dinner at Taco Johns in Sioux Falls, we decided to just go for it. Storms were coming, and we were just going to drive until we had to stop.

Side note: The girls’ favorite snack is nachos and salsa, so they decided to give this particular food a ranking every time they eat it on the trip. Taco Johns Chips and Salsa got 2 out of 5 stars because while it had a good spicy flavor, it wasn’t exactly salsa – more like the insides of a burrito. Burrito guts do not earn points for good salsa flavor.


Taco John’s “Not Quite Chips & Salsa”

Highlight of the night: The amazing lightning storm that stretched across the whole horizon in South Dakota and gave us a non-stop light show for over two hours. We had the radar on and could see we were threading a needle between two huge storms. We passed by the aftermath of the first storm and saw a Harley Davidson truck that blew over onto its side. A little scary, but it was a good move not to stop and get caught in the middle of the next one.

Driving into Badlands National Park after midnight felt unreal. One minute the scenery was bleak and empty, and the next there are these huge jagged red rocks lining the roadway that just come out of nowhere. It was dark and we couldn’t see much as we set up quickly at Cedar Pass Campground (only $14 a night!) to get sleep. Waking up with the red rocks out the windows was beautiful. So glad we drove the extra hours! 

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