Being a compendium of thoughts as we drive and drive and....
Two day’s worth of notes and photos because of weak wifi last night.
Both days were marked by contrasts – from the Cold War to bunnies in the yard and back to the Cold War.
First up yesterday was a visit to the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site. The site has two decommissioned Minuteman missile launchers. The Delta-01 site allows visitors inside, but only 6 per tour and the tours sell out as soon as they become available. So we went to the Delta-09 site, which you can see from the outside and has an excellent cell phone audio tour. At one point there were 150 of these missiles in South Dakota, part of the arsenal of 1000 spread across the upper Midwest. After the START treaty, most were destroyed and verified by the Russians, but a few were allowed to remain for display and these are the ones. A real throwback to our youth and the fears/reality of a possible WW3. This was even more dramatically brought home today at the visitor center, where the film included the iconic “duck and cover” movie from our youth. We were struck by the diversity of service members who worked at the sites, including several women.
Leaving the silo yesterday, we headed to Bandlands National Park and its amazing collection of rock formations. We drove the scenic roads, took a few short hikes, and generally basked in the beauty of this place. It reminded us a lot of parts of the Southwest, but the conjunction of rocks and expansive grasslands is unique. We’ll let the photos in the slide show below do the talking for us. Along the roads in the Park, we saw bison, prairie dogs and big horned sheep – another contrast from the rocks of the Southwest. One final drive and a couple of short walks this morning before heading out.
Our home last night was a cabin in the Park. It was very comfortable, and even the limited dining options were ok. (Less so this morning…) It had a lovely view from our porch that Ed enjoyed last night while writing this. A bunny came by to see what he was doing and returned this morning while Laura drank her coffee and did Spelling Bee.
We left Badlands knowing we were leaving prairie dogs, but not weird roadside art, behind.
Then the long long drive east and north to Watertown SD, a fairly large city 80 miles from the North Dakota border. We went through several small Indian reservations and passed acres of wheat fields and all manner of agricultural equipment.
And yes, Steve confirmed that his neighbor and friend, Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg, is the granddaughter of the artist who made Rapid City’s dinosaurs. Frankly, Suzanne is the better public artist. She is the creator of the COVID memorial flag project In America (https://www.inamericaflags.org). We always enjoy talking with her at Steve’s.