Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Minuteman Historic Site, more Badlands and a Sunset

After work today, we rode over to exit 131 that takes one to Cottonwood, SD.  Just after exiting the I-90 highway, one is at the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site. 

Here there's a visitor center with a small but well put together museum dedicated to the memory of the Minutemen squadrons once fielded by the US Air Force as part of America's Nuclear Triad.  A sobering subject to be sure, but they documented it pretty well.

 I found this map showing the missile silo locations quite 
interesting, I imagine the Russians during the Cold
War would have liked to have their hands on it, eh?

 Morbid Humor, not surprising, given the times

After the visitor center we went to the D-09 Minuteman Missile Launch site by way of the Badlands Scenic Byway, allowing us to see the whole scenic loop of which we saw but a part last evening.

Back to I-90 and exit 116: The D-09 Minuteman Missile Site was a bit of a letdown as it was the site where you can't go down and access the control center.  All you can do is walk about on top, and gaze down at a replica missile through a glass observation platform.

Martha and I then headed on back to Uma to relax for a bit until it was time for me to wander out for the sunset at the Pinnacles View Point within the Badlands National Park.  Martha stayed with Uma to relax some more and cook dinner.

 Scarlett on the cliff edge, that little white box
in the background is Umarang at our glamp site

 The pinnacles at Pinnacles View Point
about an hour before Sunset

 The Golden Hour is in play....

After the sun set, most everyone left.  There was this couple parked next to me who waited for the real colors to come out.

 At first, it was just a mild rosy glow in the skies

 Pretty suddenly, the skies basically turned to
the colors of fire with yellows turning to reds
in quick succession.

Last shot, my camera lenses just couldn't taken in
enough light to prevent a high ISO so I stopped here.

There were some deep red afterglows in the clouds above the distant horizon that my camera just couldn't capture I'm sad to report.

Still, a few pics for you to mull over, I hope you like them.

I rode home in the darkness, only seeing some deer alongside the road just before turning onto the dirt road which led to my glamping site.  I'd seen two large Bison on the way into the park, glad they'd moved elsewhere while I took pictures.

Badlands Sunrise

Woke early and caught the sunrise at our boondocking site near the entrance to the Badlands National Park.

 6:15 AM


Good Morning...time to work.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Wall Drugstore and Badlands National Park

Day 4 of the RV Trip to South Dakota.  We left Hot Springs and made it to Wall, SD to check out this kitschy tourist destination.  

 We didn't buy any souvenirs but did get Martha on
the big Jackalope

Just a few miles south of Wall, SD, within the Buffalo Gap Grasslands, we found a spot to do some boondocking:

 Overlooking the Badlands just north of the boundary
to the Badlands National Park

After work, we motored into the park to look for sunset picture locations.  The Badlands National Park is quite scenic, if what you see is rugged rock formations but not much that we could find in terms of coloration on those rocks:

 The view from Conata Basin Overlook

 These Bighorn Sheep weren't looking too good
but they seemed to be happily feeding alongside the road
photo courtesy Martha

 From Panorama Overlook

 Panorama Overlook

 At the Panorama Overlook

My assumption that the dipping sun would add colors to the rocks at Panorama Overlook proved wrong.  So we geared up and raced back towards Conata Basin Overlook for hopefully better sunset views.

Racing to Conata Basin Overlook
photo courtesy Martha

Conata Basin Overlook

photo courtesy Martha

After the sun had set behind the western horizon, we motored on over to Pinnacles Overlook where we found a bunch of cagers enjoying the sunset.  We were too late but plan on seeing tomorrow's sunset from this point:

 Pinnacles Overlook

 We then rode on the few miles back to our boondocking site, and got the below pic of the waning sunset from where we're glamping!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Murals, Mammoths and Fall Colors

A work day for me today, so no long rides with my sweetie ....

However, we did cover several subjects during the short rides that we took this afternoon after the day's work was complete!

First thing we did was ride into the nearby town of Hot Springs and collect all the murals reported by their tourism map.  You've already seen the one that featured the sidecar, here's there rest:

 Minnekahta Avenue

 Bison by the police station

 Water scene on the side of Evan's Plunge, a local water play facility

 Old pioneer scene next to a BBQ joint

Military mural at the Foreign Legion Post

Explorations of the town of Hot Springs done, we headed towards the Mammoth Museum, site of the largest concentration of Mammoth remains discovered in the whole world, with 58 Columbian and 3 Woolly Mammoths found so far.

 Martha at the museum's lobby

 A closeup of the large area currently under excavation, 
very extensive works, all viewable in air-conditioned comfort

 A replica for folks to visualize these magnificent beasts.

Another exhibit, besides the Pygmy, Columbian and Woolly mammoth displays; was the flat faced bear remains.  I found those more fascinating....guess I'm more of a bear guy than an elephant guy!

 A comparison of the skulls of the largest bear species vice
the flat faced bear....

A nice bone display with a picture as a guide/visual aide
"How would you like to encounter one of these while riding?"

The museum visit done with, we motored on south towards the Angostura Reservoir Recreation Area.  Folks, this is a great place, with nice RV campgrounds, water facilities for boats, nice trees lining the reservoir and providing some nice Fall Colors!

But first, some Fall Colors we had seen before and now stopped to take pictures of at the Allen Ranch Campground, also a nice place for one's RV.

At the Angostura Recreation Area, we found a nice spot for what turned out to be a mild and pretty much cloudless sunset.  Still, as the sun set in the western horizon, it lit up the nearby Fall Colors quite nicely.

The setting sun went away, leaving clear skies and dulling colors to illuminate our path back to our campground.

Not many miles covered today, but still a good afternoon/evening's worth of riding.