I’m not sure if North and South Dakota liked us too much (all.the.allergies), but it was definitely worth the trip. It seems just about every which way you turn could be a postcard. After Minneapolis, we made our way to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in southern North Dakota. We fortunately came across the Mecca that is Chick-fil-A on the drive, which doesn’t seem to have caught on just yet up here. There was only one person inside, no wait in the drive-thru, AND they had a sign offering a free chicken biscuit every Tuesday morning, no purchase necessary. What??? Are we in the upside down?? If the one by our house did that promo it would shut down the highway. But enough of my disbelief, back to the great American road-trip. We were lucky enough to have good weather and see a ton of wildlife! Sadly, the park campgrounds were full so we stopped at the Medora campground right outside the park (and still had a great view). I’m not sure I’ll ever be used to seeing a bunch of folks in shorts and tank tops when it’s under 50 degrees out, but I’m sure I look pretty funny to them with my sweatshirts layered. At Theodore Roosevelt we visited the north and south units and ran across a couple Elk, wild horses, bison, and all the prairie dogs! It rained the afternoon of first day so we didn’t get to do quite as much hiking as we wanted, but we did find my trail!
After a couple days here we drove down to Badlands! This has to be the most windy place I have ever been! I had read reviews online about campers having to pack up their tent because of the wind, but I didn’t really think much of it – until we stepped out of the car. Once we got to our spot we tried to make a game plan of how exactly we were going to get our tent up. And we tried. Twice. I’m sure it was a riot to watch 2 people try to raise a tent in 20 mph winds. Luckily, we had some very kind souls parked across from us that came to our rescue. It took 6 people and a lot of rope, but we finally did it! One of our helpers advised us that adventure is never fun when you’re in it, but at least you’ve got a great story later. I’ve been reminding myself of this since when we’ve been in frustrating spots. Of course, it was never as windy again the rest of our visit, but that made for some nice hikes. The scenery at Badlands makes you feel like you drove to Mars. I think this is the first park we’ve been to where you can get the best views for pretty much no work at all. If you don’t like hiking long treks, or even if you just want to drive around and see cool stuff, this park is for you. We only did one hike over three miles and it was actually my least favorite. Personally, I could hang out and climb on rocks (and try not to fall) all day, so that’s exactly what we did!
Fun Story – A rock cracked my windshield pretty bad and we had to get the whole thing replaced! That lead us to bumming around Rapid City for awhile. How cute is this coffee shop we found! And yes, they had a little table set for two inside the van. You can see the fun record shop we found over on my instagram.
Before we hit the road to Grand Teton, we had to make one more stop in South Dakota – Mount Rushmore! Obviously we couldn’t miss this marvel, and it seemed like no one else could either – it was packed, but still worth the quick stop. I think Badlands might’ve taken over as Max’s favorite place of the trip, but we’ll see if we can try to top it!
Next Up: Grand Teton & Yellowstone Adventures!