Day Two – Into The Black Hills

More photos here.

Day two, first morning at a campground. Not the most exciting overnight beyond sweating ourselves to sleep and waking up freezing. We possess the ability to thermally regulate, just not a ton of sense of experience to execute. But that’s the thing: we’re learning bit by bit, muttered curse by muttered curse, unexpected joy by unexpected joy. We’ll be experts in what we know and comfortable in the naïveté of what we don’t by July 4, I’d wager.

Leaving Wyoming we crossed into South Dakota and the towns leading into the Black Hills. I was glad to be back after recently finishing Dan Simmons’ masterful The Black Hills and subsequently having no desire to trot over to Mount Rushmore. Hit Custer on the way to our first real destination in Hill City, the Museum of the Black Hills Institute. Known primarily for its role in the discovery of Sue the T. Rex (now at Chicago’s Field Museum) it’s a small affair with a truly exceptional collection. Two laps of the whole thing and the teens were still enthralled. We’ll see if that lasts through our actual fossil dig in a few days …

For something completely different we visited the Cosmos Mystery Area, a surprisingly fun bunk science sideshow where buildings erected at weird angles on a hillside show “evidence” of cosmological “hot spots” where gravity is wonky.  It’s not. The whole experience is your inner ear data fighting with your eyes’ visual data. Of course it knocks you off kilter, but it isn’t a mystery. I’d do it again, though. Always up to humor a carnival barker.

From there we took a short jaunt onto the other planet that’s known Badlands National Park. Just a taste as we were heading to our campground. The Badlands gets our full attention tomorrow — as does Deadwood and finally Devil’s Tower tomorrow night.

A note on KOA Kampgrounds, our second tonight. There’s a massive difference between Journey tier sites (basically camps only as waypoints) and Holiday tier sites (amenity-laden destinations). The ladies prefer the latter. I just need to sleep.

Oh and another campsite observation. KOA sites all have ample bathroom and shower facilities, but I find that the toilets are only used by people who don’t want to lay waste in their $200,000 home-on-wheels. What I’m saying is that campsite-provided indoor plumbing witnesses atrocity.

And goodnight!