Tuesday we went east again a little bit to see the Badlands National Park. The first stop was in the town of Wall, which is really famous in the US for its drugstore. Or what used to be just a drugstore. Back in the thirdties the drugstore wasn’t doing so well, so the owner’s wife came up with the idea of putting up large billboards advertising free ice water along the interstate, and soon the customers started to pour in. We had seen the many billboards on our drive west, so we simply had to stop and have a 5-cent cup of coffee (another of their advertising gimmicks) and share a plate of hotcakes and look at all the souvenir stalls.
Then we bought an annual pass for all the American National Parks (costs $80 for one car + passengers so worth it if you plan to visit several parks as the entry to each park is typically $20. The pass can be shared by two people, so if you know someone who will be visiting the States within one year from day of purchase you can share it with them), and entered Badlands NP. The landscape here is extraordinary, dry plains alternating with open gaps in the ground where the rock has eroded partially. The rocks are grey, yellow and pink with stripes indicating the different layers. The place is very dry and arid, and it’s easy to understand why the Indians named it Badlands. It was hot here, too, 105 gr fahrenheit, (40 gr celsius), so we only made short walks to the lookouts and back to our car’s air-condition.
On the way home we drove through downtown Rapid City and browsed in shops with Indian crafts and looked at a few of the 42 statues of US presidents which stand at street corners in the city.
We also went to see the Chapel in the Hills, a full-size copy of the old wooden church in Borgund, Norway, (which our friends, Anne and Håkon lives just next to). The copy bas been built at the initiative of a Norwegian missionary in the 60’s and is still used for services.
In the evening our host Kelly made us delicious crisp pizzas, and we sat out on the patio in the wonderful summer evening discussing everything and anything including Christmas traditions!