Cedar Pass at Badlands National Park and Hot Springs Fire Tower

From Custer State Park we drove Shana east through Rapid City to Cedar Pass campground at Badlands National Park. We were planning to checkout downtown Rapid City, so when our car started making a clunking sound near there it ended up being a necessary visit to downtown Rapid City. A bolt on one of the brake calipers broke making the caliper clank against the wheel. Fortunately, a service station was able to fashion a repair within 2 hours while we walked to Armadillos Ice Cream Shoppe to get a half gallon of creamy raspberry cheesecake sherbet to taste after a cold brew from the air conditioned vibes of Pure Bean Roasters.

Cedar Pass campground has a few campsite with electricity, but most are primitive (no electricity or water). The campground layout is unique. Rather than having dedicated spaces parking is along the perimeter of grassy areas. Each campsite has a partially covered picnic table. Campfires are prohibited as the area is extremely dry with regular winds…a perfect storm for wildfires.

Interior, South Dakota is a town with population of around 95. Driving in we noticed a rodeo setting up, so we went back to check it out. The concession stand served NDN (Indian) tacos, which is a flatbread with the texture of a donut filled as if it were a taco. None of us were prepared to see calves lassoed around the neck and jerked in the opposite direction. Steer wrestling was a bit easier to watch as cowboys jumped off running horses onto smaller cows with horns wrestling them to the ground by hand. Usually, the cow won the event.

In the Badlands we did a few short easy hikes to see amazing panoramic views. One of the hikes involved scaling a 100 foot cliff, then coming back down on sort of a giant ladder. We drove through the park to Wall Drug Store, which is a must-see tourist trap. Along the drive we past a few big horn sheep and saw amazing views of the badlands and were treated to a few storms in the landscape.

On our return to Georgia we stopped in Hot Springs, SD to stay at the Fire Tower, a three story house near Angostura Reservoir built like a fire tower with amazing 360 degree views from the top. Most of Hot Springs was closed due to COVID-19, but fishing for walleye in the reservoir and swimming in the crystal clear waters of Cascade Spring and Cascade Falls was open.

Not long after our bittersweet departure from the Fire Tower at Hot Springs to Georgia, we passed a sign for Carhenge and had to stop. Carhenge is a car art installation that is Stonehenge replica from gray painted cars. Not as interactive as our trip to Cadillac Ranch, but very cool and BIG. An overnight stop near Kansas City and drives through St. Louis, Nashville and Chattanooga and we were home some 24 hours of driving later. Our Pacific Northwest Road Trip was complete with an odometer reading 6,689 miles.

Shana, a 1958 Shasta Airflyte Deluxe, camped at Badlands near Interior, South Dakota traveling a total 1807 miles through 9 states. On the way to Badlands, our retro red vintage camper received 11 compliments. With temperatures ranging from 60℉-95℉ between Friday, July 3, 2020 and Sunday, July 5, 2020, Bennett Burgess, Cannon Burgess, Kimber Burgess, Matt Burgess, Ruby Burgess, Teagan Burgess camped 2 nights at campsite #87 & 47 near Interior. Learn more information about camping with a travel trailer at Badlands in South Dakota by going to https://www.nps.gov/badl/index.htm.
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