Badlands and Beyond

25 07 2008

We took off bright and early this morning and drove to the Badlands.  It took about two hours to get there.  The scenery is beautiful in an austere sort of way.  It looks absolutely desolate, but when you take a second look there is life  (besides tourists).  However, unlike yesterday’s scenery I can say “been there, seen it, done it.”  After five or six overlooks in the hot sun we watched the scenery from the car.

Guy talked me into ordering a new camera I had been eying, and it came the day before we left home.  He also got me a zoom lens.  So even though I haven’t read the manual yet, I’ve been playing with it this whole trip.  Here are a couple of pictures I took standing several feet from the subject and using the zoom lens.  (This is some of the “life” in the Badlands.)

We started our trip through the Badlands on the east end of the loop so we came out just outside Wall.  There is no way you can have driven anywhere near the town without seeing signs for Wall Drug.  We saw a sign almost the instant we crossed over the South Dakota border on Wednesday.  After the constant advertising we decided to stop and check it out.  It is a massive tourist trap!  I think the equivalent of about 1/4 of the population of South Dakota was there while we were.  Guy and I are not fans of crowds.  (I won’t even go into a Mall between Thanksgiving and Christmas.)  We walked in one end — bought expensive doughnuts because Jesse had seen the ads — through to the other end, crossed the street and went back to the car.  The place has an interesting history, but when I have to dodge people constantly it isn’t for me.

We drove back to Rapid City and finally got some good food.  The food has been the one drawback on this whole trip.  If you choose not to eat deceased animals the pickings are slim.  The first night in Custer we had pizza and calzones which were OK.  Last night we went to a steak and ribs place that advertised two vegetarian dishes — Vegetable Lasagna and Pasta Primevera.  Jesse was the smart one, he ordered grilled cheese off the kids menu.  The Pasta Primevera was the WORST food I have ever had in a restaurant.  It tasted like they had purchased a frozen dinner and then over cooked it.  If you aren’t a vegetarian there are loads of places with steaks or buffalo burgers.  If you are a committed vegetarian you might want to pack your own food.  We went for the known in Rapid City and ate at Olive Garden.  I was surprised how busy the place was at 2:00 in the afternoon.  There was a wait the whole time we were there.

After satisfying our hunger I took Moneik’s advice and had the “men” drop me off at Quilt Corral Too while they went to a book store.  There is an amazing selection of Batiks in the store, but I didn’t buy any.  I found some pastel plaid prints.  I’ve been looking for something like them for at least three years.  I also had the chance to go into the Sewing Center which is connected to the quilt shop.  When the salesperson walked up to me I was surprised to realize I recognized her face.  She was in Bernina Software training in Denver at the same time as I was a couple years ago.

We had driven past two other quilt stores when we came into Rapid City.  Guy was willing to stop at all of them, but I was feeling a little guilty about them waiting in the hot car so when he missed the Quilt Connection I didn’t have him go back.  However, we did stop at Thimble Cottage.  It is in a big old house and the whole house is used to display quilts and merchandise.  I had to go back to the car to get Jesse. Everywhere we have stopped he has asked if he could go upstairs.  Here he could go upstairs.  This shop is worth seeing just for the displays.  It is also the home of Pearl Louise Designs.  I have seen these patterns many times and own some of them.  Here you can find them all, plus the samples.  The two pictures below were taken out the car window as we were leaving.

When we got back into Custer I saw a sign for a quilt show.  I’d been told on Wednesday there was going to be a show in town this week-end, but hadn’t expected to have the chance to see it.  The show was open until 9pm so I was able to go.  There were a lot of quilts.  I don’t know exactly how many, but it was viewer judged and there were 22 or 23 categories so I’m guessing somewhere around 200 quilts.  That was the first time I’ve been to a show where the viewers pick the quilt they like best in each category.  It was a lot of work, but forced me to look at the quilts closer than I might have otherwise.

Tomorrow we head for home.  However, Jesse feels he must see those burros again.  So we will try to find them before we head back south.




One response

26 07 2008

I sure am enjoying your vacation. Thanks for the ride-a-long.

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