Day 11: Thursday Afternoon, August 11, 2002

Made it to Badlands! (phew...)

To make matters worse, I had advised Johannes to wait to get gas when he suggested we fill up at a station we'd passed. (Didn't quite realize the roads would take us to uninhabited desert and farmlands.)

Just when we were about to run out of gas, we saw a visitor's station. The attendant there gave us directions to the local Indian reservation gas station/convenient store. Johannes was appalled when he found that he had to use 85-grade gas when he normally only puts 92-grade in our car. He was not a happy camper.

I had a little navigation boo-boo getting us from Mount Rushmore to the Bandlands. I thought I'd found a shortcut on the map, but in fact, I guided us into these back roads which were at times unpaved. To the left is a highlight of that experience - horses decided they would stroll right down the middle of the road so there was no way we could get around them.

To direct attention away from my slight miscalculations, I took every opportunity to "look on the bright side" and point out that "at least we didn't actually run out of gas."

I was a little jealous of Johannes' SLR here because the different lenses he had for the Nikon allowed such interesting perspectives that I couldn't get from my little point-and-shoot Olympus.

It was very hot that day.

Kind of funny to realize only 3 days before we'd had snow and sleet in Yellowstone.

The Badlands were simply breathtaking. There was no way my camera lens could capture the beauty and majesty of these formations.
The amazing thing was that you could see until forever and ever there. It seemed that the world would never end and that the horizon was simply an abstraction.
Badlands offered the strangest, most interesting formations...
Click here to see our morning adventures at Mount Rushmore!

We hiked the Saddle Pass Trail, a short but strenuous hike up to the peaks of the formations.

The hike was incredibly windy - or so Johannes says after looking at this photo.

Going exploring...
On top of the world...
The unique shapes reminded us of how powerful and creative nature's forces are...
Plateaus carved and eroded away by the wind and rain...
The scenic route...
A deep ravine...
And finally, the sunset declared that our time was up...

On our way to Minnesota, we headed right into a fierce thunderstorm. After an hour and about 50 shots of trying to capture the lightning, Johannes finally got this picture.

The storm actually got so bad with sleet pounding down on our car that we had to cancel hotel reservations we had and duck into a local inn.

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