Day 6, 6/4/15
Weather: Rain in the morning, cloudy in the afternoon. Temperatures were in the mid to low 60s.
When we finished breakfast this morning, we had very definite plans of what we wanted to do today. On departing our overnight parking location at Walmart in Mitchell, SD, we headed for the nearest Post Office to mail some information to Beth.
We knew before we began the vacation that this part of the country opens up more interesting places that we do not have back home. When we did the cross country trip in the mid-eighties, a whole new U.S. opened for the six of us. The memories of these adventures have been talked about even to this day.
Today we headed for Chamberlain, SD to visit the St. Joseph’s Indian School (www.stjo.org) founded and serviced by the priests and brothers of the Sacred Heart order. As of today, the total enrollment of the school is two hundred thirty-three boys and girls from first through eighth grade. The students then go on to the Chamberlain High School. The chapel of Our Lady of the Sioux is part of the school campus. Here the traditions of Catholicism and the traditional Lakota spirituality are brought together. We spent a good amount of time visiting the campus museum. It is here that the history of the Sioux nation is explained and depicted from their first appearance on this continent through their turbulent years with the coming settlers. The assimilation of the old and new cultures is enlightening to understand.
For anyone who has driven cross country on Rt. 90, they could not have missed the sign-board advertisements for Wall Drugs. These advertisements begin approximately 350 miles east and west bound from Wall. By the time you reach the exit at Wall, you are challenged to make the detour to see what this place is all about. We first experienced this when we did our earlier cross country trip. On this trip we knew that we were once again going to stop and visit the drug store and so we did.
After leaving Chamberlain, we resumed our western move to Badlands National Park (www.nps.gov/badl). Up from nowhere, as we drove through the beautiful rolling hills and prairies of South Dakota, suddenly appears a landscape that is so absolutely and drastically different that it is hard to believe how it got here. We drove in to this national park and began to appreciate the shapes and colors that have evolved here over the millions of years that it took for our climate to alter the topography in such a startling way. To describe it is very difficult. It is an area consisting of peaks, amazingly deep gullies, and buttes. The walls of all of these three areas show beautiful color formations similar to what you would see at the Grand Canyon. We drove the paved road through the park in order to view all of its mysterious wonders and to stop at many of the available scenic overlooks. In its entirety, the park consists of 240,000 acres. At the end of this drive, we were very pleased with our choice to visit this mysterious wonder in SD.
We concluded our day’s journey by registering in the Rushmore Shadows Resort camp site in N 43 58’ 35” W 103 19’ 41”, elevation 4,332 ft.
G & P