Lynn – From the Badlands to the Great Wall (Drugs)

travel

I was up bright and early this morning (6 am) and managed to find a little pocket of wifi service in the cabin to keep me entertained til everyone else woke up about an hour later. I had warm Grape Nuts for breakfast, which are one of my favorites, and it was a special treat to have cold weather to eat it in.

Grape Nuts + Skim Milk microwaved for about 2 minutes, then I added chia seeds, some banana and nectarine, and nuked it for another 45 seconds. Plus a Greens+ shot and some peppermint herbal tea.

It took about 90 minutes from Custer to drive to Badlands National Park

See that green dot? It’s my husband!

The Badlands were stunning. It went on forever! We basically drove through it for a few hours, stopping along the way to look at different rock formations. My sister-in-law, Anna, described it as an “indie Grand Canyon” – which I thought was an accurate description; less crowded and hyped, but equally profound and impressive.

We packed some PB&J sandwiches to have at one of the many designated picnic areas. I had mine with an apple…

…lunch got cut short because some wasps showed up. I consumed a few green pills and fish oil (which I’ve been doing for most meals this trip but not photographing) and of course….

I don’t think my tootsie pops could ask for a more stunning backdrop.

Our next destination was Wall Drug, which is an INSANE roadside attraction. It’s hard to explain exactly what it is….

Souvenir store, cafeteria, soda fountain, pharmacy, chapel, playground, candy shop….basically anything you could possibly want is there, including…

Video games! That’s Abe getting some pointers from the Arcade employee.

There were many kitschy photo opportunities:

…and useless things to buy, like this sun visor with built-in hair…

Something Wall Drugs has offered since opening in 1931 is free ice water!

They’re also known for their 5-cent coffee and donuts (the latter was regularly priced)…

I didn’t have any coffee/donuts but I was told they were pretty darn good.

On the long ride back I had two handfuls of Sun Chips, plus a ginger chew.

We stopped in Keystone, which was tourism to the max. There was a guy in the middle of the road reenacting a shoot-out when we drove by. Um….NOT okay with this group…we were a bit freaked out.

The heart-pounding continued on the Presidents Alpine Slide.

They made us sign a waiver first. Uh oh.

A chair ride up…

My in-laws, David and Wendy, decided not to slide down. There was a cafe at the top, a view of Mount Rushmore, and s’more photo ops that they explored before riding the lift back down.

“The kids” took the slides down. My brother-in-law, Zack:

Whee!

I haven’t done an Alpine Slide since I was a kid, back in NJ’s Action Park (called Mountain Creek today). It wasn’t quite as thrilling as it had been back then, but still fun and worth $10.

Back in Custer, we stopped for dinner at Legion Lake Lodge.

The restaurant had a cute indoor area, but we opted to sit by the gorgeous water instead -

I ordered a bison burger (medium well) with a fruit cup (x2 since I ate Wendy’s portion as well)…

…and some of David’s fries…

The bison was pretty good – drier than a regular cow but tasty. The fries were excellent. The fruit? Meh.

Back at our cabin, we made a fire outside, which I helped supervise with my many years of camper and camp counselor fire-building knowledge….

S’mores! I had two of these -

We actually didn’t end up having them last night…and I didn’t play any board games because I had to memorize lines for an audition I have on Tuesday morning.

So the fire and s’mores were definitely an exciting treat.