So we went to see Keith at The Monkey Wrench in Sioux Falls on Tuesday morning. The part arrived at 10am and he had it in and our oil changed at 12:30. He was great and like the can of Spam we brought him very much (a variety that you can only get at the museum or in Australia, Black Pepper Spam).
So with our AC now working, we were off. First stop - Sioux Falls Park. Very pretty park area in downtown Sioux Falls. We looked around and had some Spam sandwiches. Then on the road to the Badlands. Long drive through nothing. Lots of farm land. Very little to see. Harry Potter. We did stop at the Corn Palace for a break. It was interesting. Originally built entirely out of corn annually 100 yrs ago, it is now a permanent arena with lots of corn on, in, and decorating it. They play basketball in it in the off season. At about 7pm on Tuesday evening, we drove into the Badlands National Park! Incredible, you drive for hours and see nothing and then: wow! We went and got a campsite and I made dinner while the boys headed out exploring for a while. The next morning we got up and got going and drove around the park. We did a short hike up to the top of a bluff and nearly walked right by a long horned sheep. He was 20ft from us! Lots of picture stops, pull offs to see things, and just looking around. The pictures will not do it justice. Just incredible geology, color, intensity. We went to the southern part of the park to try and see some Bison. No luck. We drove out the bottom end and came onto an Indian Reservation. It was a long time before we hit a gas station and we were all getting a little nervous that we were going to be walking in the 98 degree heat again. Oh yeah, hot again all day at the Badlands! We made it to gas and headed for Rapid City to get close to Mt. Rushmore for today (Thurs.). We got some supplies and when we came out to the car it was raining. We got in the car and it started to come down sideways and with huge lightning. Then we drove up the road a mile and everything was covered in hail. I mean covered like they had just gotten 2 inches of snow! Very weird. So we decided to not chance the crazy weather and got a hotel room in Hill City. After dinner we went up to Mt Rushmore and saw the evening ceremony and lighting of the monument. Very cool. Went back up there today and took lots of pictures and learned about how it was made, amazing. Drove thru the Black Hills (very pretty) and across Wyoming (lots of nothing) to a little town called Dubois. It was about 6.5 hours of driving this afternoon to get us close to Grand Teton Park, we should be able to get there by mid day tomorrow. Meeting Amy and Michael Johnston tomorrow afternoon at The Flagg Ranch Resort outside of Yellowstone. I will finally have some time with adults, much needed!