Saturday, September 8, 2007

Day Six -- A good day for museums

Suddenly it turned cold. Cold and windy, with a little rain. I'd heard the weather forecast, so I was not unprepared. They'd said it wouldn't get above the mid 60s, but it was in the 50s all day. Fortunately I'd already planned to do some indoor activities.

Last night was both the most expensive motel stay and the least satisfying. All the low budget places have been very quiet. In this one I could hear all sorts of noises coming from other rooms: water running, people talking, doors slamming. And to make matters worse, an entire girls' soccer team was staying there. They felt obliged to make their presence known both indoors and out. I don't know whether it was the cheerleaders or members of a wrestling team in the room upstairs, but whoever it was kept jumping. Like jumping off the furniture. When 11 o'clock struck and the jumping hadn't stopped, I called the front desk. The jumping stopped.

It's a good thing I didn't have a long driving day in front of me. I finally got to bed late and woke up early -- way early. After breakfast I lounged around my room and finally got going just before 10.

It was about 45 minutes to Rapid City where I was able to locate the Museum of Geology at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Note that the website is very old, practically a fossil in internet time. And that is appropriate, I guess, because this little museum has tens of thousands of fossils, only an impressive fraction of which are on display.

From there I went a mile or so to The Journey Museum, a private institution that uses technologically enhanced displays to reveal the history of South Dakota from 2.5 billion years ago until the present.

It was too late to get a tour of Ellsworth Air Force Base, so I could only glance at it as I drove to Wall. I'd hoped to see the base where I was supposed to have been assigned back so many years ago before I swapped with someone and was sent to Loring AFB in northern Maine.

I arrived in Wall with time to find a bed for the night (actually two beds) and to stroll around main street and through the world famous Wall Drug. Tomorrow it's on to the Badlands National Park and then points east. Don't know where I will spend the night tomorrow. I'll see how far I can get.

Big surprise! I saw the first primate of my trip in Wall -- at Wall Drug of all places.

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