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Driving Thru Bad(ass)lands

The next morning we skyped with Joe’s parents and did a little Tai Chi before hitting the Badlands!
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Driving through empty farmland and cattle ranch, we started to see a sudden canyon of weathered and misshapen land right by the road in the middle of the farm. It was so out of place because it wasn't just your usual canyon. The ground combined the smooth roll of desert dunes with sharp jagged outcroppings, mushrooms, and spires that pierced the sky.
The suspense was killing Angel (Buffy quote).

Then we began to see a wall of it on the horizon looking foreboding and unreal.
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(You know your in a good place when you see helicopter tours.)

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And then we were in.
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We drove up and down 240 3 times (2 times down, 1 time up), and Joe did Dai Heng Kuen next to the dirt path to the free campsite. At one point near the very end the wind almost tips him over as he is standing on one leg, and Joe liked it because it showed the feel of the place (it was friggin windy).

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And, action figure Joe:
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We couldn’t really drive down the dirt path since we are only on 2 wheels and they slide in the rocks with all our weight, so we were thinking about just using the fee campsite right at the opening of the Badlands.

Joe noticed that our shocks were out of air, and we weren’t hopeful of finding an air compressor. Then when we stopped at the visitor’s center for the restrooms before heading back into the badlands, Joe asked everyone registering for the lodge if anyone had an air compressor. A guy who drove a Honda Magna 750 had an air compressor and not only let Joe use it, but he offered to let Joe keep it! He was driving his truck at the time, but I wanted to mention that he was a fellow motorcyclist because once again, it’s a “biker” who helps us out above and beyond the call of a stranger. He said the same thing happened to his Magna, so it was another one of those situations where the guy didn’t just run on pure sympathy which only gets you so far, he had empathy, which is what we’ve been running on this trip from the people we meet.

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Joe: At one point I saw this awesome pyramid that didn't come out that well 2D, but it was standing alone in the middle of a field. I think it could have given people the idea for pyramids. Vanessa: Well, probably not that exact formation, but something like it... in Aftrica... or Mexico. Anyways, Joe and I also liked how bands would stretched across formations that weren't connected. It was trippy.
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Then, after driving through the Badlands one last time for the day we attempted the dirt road to the free campsite. For whatever reason, there were those “slow down” bumps you hit before a sharp turn or a toll stop the whole way. Maybe it was from the wind or a tractor, but we were weaving on both sides of the road, trying to keep on the flat parts. This went on for about 20 min. before Joe offered to have me wait for him at a scenic lookout while he drove our stuff to the site, and then he would come back for me and drive smoother with less weight. I said hell no! I wasn’t splitting up in the middle of a national park at sundown with no cell phones or people for miles.

Good thing too, b/c we drove another hour to the camp grounds through all sorts of hills, twists, turns, and almost gave up on finding this place because we really did leave any sight of the actual Badlands behind right after passing the canyon we did Kung Fu at earlier.

We passed one of those signs that says "Beware of..." and you know you never really pay attention to those, because they always over exaggerate the likelihood of running into such things... like bison!

Then a truck passed us, and we waved him down to ask if we were lost, and he said that we should hit the site in another few miles. We did, after passing 2 more bison on the side of the road, almost in the road really, and then 2 more with 2 off to the side, but the larger of the 3 was right next to the road climbing up the hill. Joe in his infinite wisdom, slowed down... ahhh, thank you Jesus, but then just as we were about to pass him he revved the engine (motorcycle engines are loud) and sped up causing the large bison to jump and run a little up the hill. Neat to see now that I know I lived through it. Then, by the time we got to the campsite it was past sundown.

That night it was windy as hell, and it sounded like someone was constantly assaulting our tent. We were a little on edge, so it’s understandable that when Joe herd voices and footsteps right next to our tent, he would get a little defensive. “Who’s there?” “What do you want?” “I can hear you!” He exclaimed as he held his knife near the tent door. Then he finally peaked out and saw that it was in fact, a bison walking past our tent and the voices were just carrying in the wind from the next tent over.

Posted by - Rain 19:31

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Comments

oh dear god! next to your tent! there wasn't like...i don't know...a wire fence to at least persuade them from walking on you in your sleep!...

...again...I'm glad there are so many people helping you along the way...

...and finally...I love the video of the bad lands and Joe doing the Kung Fu...makes me wonder what it would be like to exist when the natives roamed those parts...obviously you would be busy everyday fending for survival...but just the pictures of Joe and you looking off into the canyon...they were great pictures...

by CoreyAnn

Yeah, Joe and I thought so too. After driving for almost 2 hours, we figured there was a safety reason why they were sending us so far away. But all they seemed to do was take us out of the scenic area and into Buffalo territory. Go figure.

by - Rain

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