Sunday, June 2, 2013

Day 14 - Rapid City & Badlands

The cafe at Wall, South Dakota - Wall Drug - free ice water!!!!

The Wall Drug at Wall, South Dakota - approaching this town there were many signs indicating what one can buy at Wall Dug - eg: free donuts for honeymooners at Wall Drug!

An actual Minuteman II missile with all its business parts removed near Cactus Flat, South Dakota

Missile site in South Dakota - the blast panel is ajar and a viewing glass is on top to clearly see the missile inside. The white pole on the left is the antenna for active operations

Scary information regarding the cold war

This is the 30 feet elevator shaft that leads into the control room to launch missiles. Only certain Air Force personnel were allowed entry

One of the "hot" seats" to launch missiles when commanded. The closest for any firings was during the Cuban Missile crisis.

The Missile Control location out in a farmer's prairie property. About one mile from the main Interstate Highway, Cactus Flat, South Dakota - Junction 147.

Inside the Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Another view inside the Badlands National Park

Taken at a viewing location, Badlands National Park

Visitors can climb over these rock formations - if they can avoid rattlesnakes!

The colours of the rock features are vivid - Badlands National Park

Who is the roofing nail waving to the cameraman?

Road heading east inside the Badlands National Park

"Ralph" in front of our lodge at Cedar Park, Badlands National Park

This view is just outside our lodge, Badlands National Park - waiting for a glorious sunset

Today started out a beautiful and a warm day – perfect for driving. We checked-out of the Holiday Inn Rapid City Hotel and gave back our $20 breakfast voucher they gave us last night. This was in view for the mistake the hotel made when we discovered our room was not serviced last night. We explored their breakfast and it was huge – so we decided not to take their kind offer. Also the cost for one breakfast per person was over $11 – so we would have paid the difference. The reception girls thought us Australians are a weird mob! Our destination today is the Badlands National Park in South Dakota – it is only 70 miles away from Rapid City. After we topped up our small esky at Walmart (lunch supplies etc) we headed east to a place called Wall. Now place this is world famous. In Wall there is the Wall Drug. In the 1930’s it started out as a respite for weary travelers (its location is within a prairie) and the owners offered free ice water. Over the years this became famous and now is a multi-complexed souvenir shop – they still serve free ice water! The shops that has expanded over the years is amazing – one can spend hours just browsing. From Wall we visited a Minuteman II missile launching site. Now defunct it is now a tourist visiting site – and it was free. We arranged a tour to go 30 feet below in the main control room and saw the way missile launchers would have press the button if the Ruskies were going for WWIII. Apparently there were over 1000 of these sites all over the northern USA countryside. Not oblivious to road travelers or alike, these sites could just be another small inconspicuous telephone exchange. The security was so tight that weapons would certainly have been used on any wayward individual that could have lost their way. Interestingly, there are still hundreds of these sites still located around northern USA with Minuteman III missiles. We wondered what targets have been preselected on those warheads? Actually visiting these sites were scary and imagined what could have happened during the cold war. Oh, by the way, the picture with the missile is real – only the propellant and warhead have been removed. What destruction can us homo-sapiens can do to each other is mind boggling. We had lunch in the Badlands National Park and in the afternoon travelled along the 20 or so miles that the park allows us to drive. As you can see with the photographs above there are many snaps of the Badlands rock features. Basically they are all the same but what makes it unusual is the location over the prairie district. It was called the Badlands by the Indians because there was nothing there for them and the name stuck. We are now in a lodge inside the National Park – nice and quiet and within most beautiful sunset scenery. Tomorrow we travel out of South Dakota to North Dakota. We will go through Pierre – the capitol of South Dakota and stay overnight at Bismarck – the capitol of North Dakota. We hope the weather continues to be warm and clear. Until tomorrow cheers.

No comments:

Post a Comment