Although I knew today would be cooler than yesterday, I wanted to get up early and get to the Badlands before the heat of the day. I went to bed early and was up and about at 5:30, and was on the bike by 7:00 The entrance tote Badlands national park start directly south of Wall (another reason I stayed there.
To say that this would be the best riding / sightseeing day of my trip just does not express in the slightest way how much my mind was blown or how exhilarated I felt. These are the days I live for on bike trips. They are like a drug that get you thought those scorching hot or freezing cold or boring long days. I would find it hard to believe that these days could be experienced in any other way of traveling than on a bike. They are the days you hug your bike because you want to hug the world but that’s impossible. The journey from Wall to Keystone (even the scenic route) should have taken me 3.5hrs, it took 12hrs. I got to the hotel at 19:00 and I think that says it all. I stopped every 5miles to take a picture or just look at swallows.
The Badlands are stunning, breath-taking, interesting and very unusual. I kept stopping to take pictures (many of which I have delated but still think I have over 300 for the day) Right at the entrance to the park I got to see my first buffalo, beautiful big male munching away posing and welcoming us into the park, behind him some prong horn deer looked at us in curiosity.
Even though it is almost peak season, or close to peek season and is school holidays the park itself was not at all crowded, lathi for the rest (also surprising not crowded) but I’d still suggest coming out of season just in case.
As I ventured through the park, I also got to see mule deer, big horn sheep, prairie dogs, a rabbit munching his breakfast just at my feet. The big ram I saw just next to the road had me feeling a bit cautious since I was on the bike and he was standing right there on the side of the road. I turned off the engine, as I had heard about them, and bison, charging bikes due to the noise. Apparently, this has happened in Custer state park during the Sturgis bike week as they seem to just get fed up from the noise. I was in two minds as I could have kept the bike running for a fast getaway or just tried to be quiet. I chose the latter and he had a very good look at me but was more interested in his breakfast. The prairie dogs were the funniest. I stopped and watched them for ages running around sitting on their hind legs and generally being very chatty about me standing there.
As I left the park, I saw a huge male bison behind the park fence. It was a very Saturday looking fence and I felt okay to park my bike and get off and get a little closer, but still being aware of the fact that he is a very large very wild and possibly unpredictable animal. He had no interest in me, or the driver of the car that also pulled up and just carried on grazing and walking along the fence until he decided to wonder off. OR he has looking for the hole in the fence he had cut last week 😊
A bunch of bikers pulled up and we got chatting about travelling and the US and the bad rap American often get in Europe, which is often misinformed. I have met the best people on this trip. Yes, I may not agree with everything they say but generally 80% of the people are pretty damn moderate and just like you and me. I took some picture with Swanson / Birmingham family. I so like meeting people when I travel. Enough of that, moving along the road I spotted a bunch of cowboys putting 3 horses in a horsebox. They had moved a herd of cows from one pasture into another and the boss was now picking them up. Damn how awesome would it have been to see them actually moving the cows. Nope this sure isn’t Switzerland (we move cows by Helicopter. If you need to hear, more ask me and I’ll send you the pictures)