The day had come to leave behind all of my new friends (family really) and favorite places. I tried to hold back the tears as I put the Conga behind me. One more ride through Shell Canyon and the Bighorn National Forest made the early hours of my day bittersweet. I made sure to get video of my ride down the front side of the mountain, where it seems like you just might have the chance to learn to fly! Check it out on my Day 10 post!
I took Interstate 90 back to Rapid City to avoid the heat wave that had struck the Midwest. I stand by my previous statement that I would rather ride Interstate 90 than any other highway in the country. My original route was supposed to take me through Nebraska and Kansas and I meant to avoid them now at all costs! As I passed back into South Dakota, my mind was reeling with ideas and plans for next year’s Conga. I envied those who had 3 more weeks of riding ahead of them, and wondered how long I would be able to stay away from the place that had stolen my heart. I thought nothing could lift my spirits with Wyoming at my back. I was truly distraught. The only thing that distracted me from my sadness were these incessant signs for Wall Drug that started popping up just beyond Rapid City and became more frequent as I approached the town of Wall, South Dakota. If you have ever been in the area, you know what I am talking about… you cannot escape the Wall Drug Store signs! So, I decided to make this my next destination.
Thank heaven for the Wall Drug Store! The place is huge… beyond huge. Tourist trap? Perhaps. Entertaining? Absolutely. I had a great time drinking my free ice water, browsing the stores within the stores, and people watching. Did I mention it was packed? The 300 + signs sure did what they were meant to do! I bought a few things for my family and a t-shirt for myself and stuffed them into my already bulging luggage. I was in an entirely different mood when I started my engine and headed toward the Badlands National Park.
I cannot explain to you what it is like riding through the badlands during the daytime… because I was fortunate enough to hit it at sunset. I felt like I was on a different planet as I twisted through the park. How would I describe the rock formations, you ask? I am at a loss for words. I will let the photos do all the talking.
After the Badlands scenic loop, my spirits were lifted as high as if I had spent the day in Shell. I was content and rode the rest of the way to Sioux Falls with a smile on my face. I was in the dark, but I didn’t mind a bit… because visions of badlands danced in my head.
Day 8 STATS:
Hours Traveled: 14
States Visited: 2
Timezones Crossed: 1
Miles Traveled: 701 (holy crap!)