Upper Plains Travelogue

As expected, our excitement was high for the drive out of Iowa yesterday. About an hour out from Sioux City, we hit the edge of a vicious thunderstorm. Amazing, but as we crossed the Missouri River into South Dakota, skies cleared and the speed limit jumped to 80mph.

Turning “left” at Sioux Falls, our family car continued to push the envelope: the previous farthest west I’ve ever driven in my own car was Lincoln, Nebraska. I didn’t find South Dakota to be boring at all. Its farms have a different quality. And the farther west we drove, the more ranches we saw.

A happy detour was the Badlands loop off I-90. The cats were having a difficult trip yesterday, as was my wife. But we added some miles and an hour to the travel, and except for the animals, we were glad we did. We didn’t stop but once, but the young miss took about a hundred image captures. No words can capture the whole of this geology.

The park brochure quoted Frank Lloyd Wright:

Let sculptors come to the Badlands. Let painters come. But first of all the true architect should come. (The one) who could interpret this vast gift of nature in terms of human habitation so that Americans on their own continent might glimpse a new and higher civilization certainly, and touch it and feel it as they lived in it and deserved to call it their own. Yes, I say the aspects of the Dakota Badlands have more spiritual quality to impart to the mind of America than anything else in it made by … God.

The only word I have is: astounding.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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1 Response to Upper Plains Travelogue

  1. Liam says:


    The region from the Badlands to the Tensleep Canyon on the western flank of the Bighorn Mountains is one of my two favorite regions of the lower 48. Under-touristed, and breath-taking.

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