The remainder of our North Dakota trip was spent sight seeing and spending time with some great people. There were lots of laughs and many lessons by a two year old on how to make the things you want to do sound like someone else’s idea! We left North Dakota and Central Time for the Badlands and Black Hills of South Dakota and some road tripping side adventures to boot.
For our drive from Bismarck, North Dakota to Interior, South Dakota we backtracked a bit so we could check out the “Enchanted Highway”. A 30-mile stretch of freeway with the “worlds largest metal sculptures” set up at a rate of about 1 every 5 miles. They were impressive sculptures of Deer, geese, grasshoppers, and my favorite the Fisherman’s Dream. At the end of the freeway there was a small town, with a gift shop where the sculptor likes to hang out. We stopped to get some post cards and thoughts from locals on where we should get lunch.
They recommended we go a bit off our track (something we were clear we don’t mind doing) into a town called Lemmon. In Lemmon there was a little coffee shop worth stopping at and a petrified wood park. We were in once we heard petrified wood but honestly the beautiful metal sculpture of a cowboy on a triceratops (yes a triceratops) at the edge of Lemmon, really solidified the greatness of this choice. In appropriate style the park was its own cool bit of weird. The coffee was good and the shop employee’s recommendation to stop in to the Kokimo next door to seem more metal sculptures was totally on point!
One South Dakota fried lunch later we were back on our way to Interior, South Dakota just south of Badlands National Park. We were there in just a few hours and checked into a little motel room and hit the park. If you haven’t been to the park you should. We were greeted by long horn sheep at the gate and the Buttes of the Badlands offer a view I can’t describe in any way that would do it justice. We spent the rest of the day playing around the trails, taking photos, and eating a backpacking meal while waiting for the 8:00 ranger talk on the origins of animals followed by night sky viewing. The ranger was very knowledgeable and learning about the animals, the landscape, and just how old /new things in the par are, was particularly interesting. We learned we were in the birthplace of the modern dog! The night viewing helped to better understand the stars and planets and some of constellations and the names. Did you know Antares is named from Anti Ares (the Greek God of war), which is really just a way to say its not Mars (the Roman God of war). Apparently they look a lot alike so its Mars and not Mars.
We enjoyed the Badlands and would be staying for two nights but spend our second day driving to the nearby Black Hills. The badlands is open hike. That means while there are designated trails you don’t have to use them. You can hike anywhere you want. I like the ranger said it. “You can hike and butte you want, and you can fall off any butte you want!