May 9, 2011: Albert Lea, Mn to Rapid City, SD
On I-90 W through Minnesota - pouring down rain. Wind so strong it is blowing the truck out of the lane. Water is pooling on the interstate, causing cars to slide. Wicked, strong rain with hail and visibility is only about 2 car lengths. Thank goodness the worst of it lasted only about 1 hr.
It felt good to get out of the car and relax. That last stretch was hellacious. As we walked back to the car, Bob spotted two Northern Flickers at the edge of the woods. Suddenly, the air was full of the songs of warblers! The storm must have driven them down. We ran to the truck, grabbed our binocs, and within 30 minutes saw 48 species from warblers to grosbeaks to gray-cheeked thrushes. Wow! What a stop!
The more we move west the more the skies clear. The grass is greener here. By the time we reached Mitchell, South Dakota it was 77F and sunny. We stopped at Culver’s for a Butter Burger and a custard. We’re seeing Franklin’s Gulls in the pot holes, lots of Shovellers and a white pelican few over. I swear, if Dave hollers “look at that” and jerks the wheel one more time, we’re going to end up in the ditch!
At Chamberlain, there is an impressive Visitors Center overlooking the Missouri River. We stopped to go potty and walk a bit. There is a memorial to the Lewis and Clark expedition of 1804. The party stopped here to rest and cross the river. Do you see the “Beware of Snakes” sign? Obviously, we just HAD to go down that trail! LOL
This is Samiko, a 6 week old Bernese Mountain Dog. I think he made me go back into that store 3 times to take more photos of this puppy. Someday, he may get one for Christmas.
Established as a National Monument in 1939, the area was redesignated as Badlands National Park in 1978. The park encompasses about 64,000 acres and is considered one of the world’s richest mammal fossil beds. Last year, and seven year old girl participating in the junior ranger program noticed something eroding out of the side of a butte. After reporting it to a ranger and three days of excavation, the fossil was removed. Several weeks later the fossil was identified as the skull of a saber-tooth cat, Hoplophoneus that lived here over 30 million years ago. We stopped and walked along the boardwalk at the fossil exhibit area.