Friday, May 24, 2013

Badlands National Park


I’m happy to say my trek is back on today and I am, once more, seeing the sites.  Finally left Rapid City this morning in the strongest wind I’ve ever experienced.  It blew steady at 30 mph and gusted into the 40s.  The GDB handled the winds quite well for the 90 minute interstate drive.
My first destination was this National Park Historic Site. near Interior, SD.
 
 

It was a deeply personal experience.  I may be one of the few people on the planet who sees a nuclear missile silo and gets all weepy. 
See, my father was a Missile Man.  On the heels of the Cuban Missile Crisis, we were transferred to Minot Air Force Base, ND where he served in the Strategic Air Command until 1969.  My dad had his finger on the button.  Fortunately, he never had to press it. 

Lt. Col. Robert L. Harrison (1923 – 1999),

Sometimes he would take my brother and me out to the missile site for the day.  We’d ride an elevator deep underground into the “capsule” that was his office much of the time.  He took these photos, totally unauthorized I’m sure. 

 

I remember my brother climbing the ladder in this silo just feet away from this powerful weapon that was cocked and aimed at the Soviet Union (where, oddly enough, he later lived and worked).  I remember my dad and his deputy wearing required holsters with loaded guns.  We knew his job was important.
I shared the photos with Ranger Butch Davis with whom I talked for a long while.  He intends to use the one of Daddy in his command center on the site’s Facebook page.  Boy, what a difference a few decades makes!   My dad would love it!
Onto Badlands National Park and some stunning landscape. 





As a bonus, I got to meet Becky, fellow-blogger and full-timing work-camper.  She is working in the Gift Shop for the summer.  She got busy with customers so we didn’t visit very long.  Check out her blog - she’s an excellent writer.  And a real doll! 
 

I continued for 20 miles or so on the Badlands Loop Road toward Wall, SD. 

 

What a thrill to see these mountain goats!

 

Got to Wall about 4 PM with plenty of time to browse the kitsch that is Wall Drug.


 

The ice water is still free.  The coffee is 5 cents and the donuts are made fresh.  Guess what I’ll be doing first thing in the morning?   
 

And tomorrow a fellow-Roadtrekker, Jacqueline, is expected to arrive to overnight at Wall Drug on her way to Alaska!  I look forward to meeting up with her again.    
Until then, goodnight from .....
 
 

 

15 comments:

  1. Those are really great pictures of the Badlands. Wall Drug is always fun to browse thru.

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    1. Thanks, Emily. The scenery is so breathtaking, it's easy to get a good shot. I love places like Wall Drug. Just a fun way to pass some time.

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  2. Interstellar Orchard! She's a pre-pre-retirement gal, isn't she?

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    1. Indeedy I am! And I'm slow to respond to posts and comments too, ahem. >.>

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  3. What a connection you have to the missile site. Wow!

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  4. I don't mean to be a picker Km, but thoes are not pronghorn antlopes. I think they are mountain goats. But great you got to see them whatever they are.

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    1. Right you are, Merikay! Thanks for letting me know - I will change it.

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  5. Weepy at missile sites. That made me smile... along with your memories of your Dad.

    Your landscape photos are stunning! Very impressive scenery!

    Eat a doughnut for me!

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  6. Saw on the news this a.m. that bad weather is going to continue in Mt. Rushmore land, so hope you are far enough away. SO COOL seeing the Missile site! That must have brought back all sorts of memories, you were part of history! God Bless your Dad. AND I remember Wall Drug from a trip there when I was a kid, 30 or more years ago. Nice to know it's still there, though it looks bigger now.

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  7. Wonderful photos of the Badlands! And such a sweet story about your Dad. Thanks for sharing it!

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  8. I have not been to the missile site yet but it will not have even close to the memories for me it did for you. Glad you got to go there. I've been to the other places on today's blog and they were fun and fabulous. I love that you can still get your jug filled at Wall Drug; do it on the way out though since you don't want to carry it full as you wander through the place. :)

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  9. Fresh Donuts? I'll have to put Wall Drug on my go to list.

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  10. Wow, Your wonderful adventure just keeps getting better and better.

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  11. Wall Drug is a interesting place to visit. So glad you and Becky were able to meet!

    Tina

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  12. What a nice tribute to your father, thanks for sharing your childhood memories.



























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