Friday, April 08, 2022

Driving a Car from Portland: Day 7

Spent the day in South Dakota… one of my favorite states. Incredible geographical diversity with lots of wildlife. Highly underrated. 

With that said, late Winter is probably not going to win a lot of vacationers. 

It was about 20 degrees (Fahrenheit) this morning. Snowing, but fortunately not much accumulation. Still crazy winds with gusts up to 60 mph. 

Absolutely miserable weather, but no crowds… heck, we barely saw anyone else all day! We did have to drive around fallen trees, saw a few wrecked trailers and overturned trucks, and had to detour around a few closed roads, but if you know me, that was a very worthwhile trade off to avoid crowds!  🙂

The bad weather did slow us down quite a bit though, and spending almost 14 hours in a car for the day is long! Much of it was spent sightseeing through the car window with mad dashes leaning against the wind to visitors centers and scenic overlooks. Although we did get some brief patches of sunshine. 

Overall, despite the weather, it was another great day on our road trip from Portland, Oregon back home to East Tennessee.

Today, we went to:
Mount Rushmore 
Black Hills National Forest 
Custer State Park
Wind Cave National Park 
Buffalo Gap National Grasslands 
Badlands National Park 

We saw lots of bison, pronghorn, and mule deer, but the kid’s favorite today were the wild donkeys in Custer State Park. Donkeys used to pack people and their goods within the park. But the pack trips eventually ended about 100 years ago, and the donkeys were just let go into the wild. They have survived since then, and have become a bit of a celebrity in the park. 

Didn’t see a lot of birds today due to the weather, but did get one new species. We saw a small flock of Sharp-Tailed Grouse!

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