Location: Morning: 41.141253, -101.059576 Evening: 43.890031, -102.226789
Today’s route was North Platte to Badlands National Park. The wind had picked up overnight and only got worse as the day went on. The temperature also dropped significantly. Driving into a full on gale force wind put a hurting on my gas mileage. It also made the occasional stop for gas or photo miserable. West central Nebraska is pretty though. Looks like Scotland. Lots of green, treeless rolling hills with small lakes and ponds scattered in the little valleys. Tried to take a few photos but the wind nearly blew me off my feet.
I forgot along with telling my GPS to avoid highways it was also set to also avoid toll roads. Since it considers national park entrance stations a toll it sent me on a roundabout convoluted route to Wall SD. For one stretch the “road” wasn’t much more than a cow path. Made me really appreciate the 4Runner’s high clearance. Didn’t need to kick in the 4 wheel drive but a couple spots it would have been needed if it was wetter.
Finally made it to Badlands and surprisingly got my first cell phone signal in 3 or 4 days. Wasn’t much but at least enough to send out a few quick texts. Made a drive through one section of the park to checkout a potential campground. It was already fairly crowded so I sat there for a bit and watched the bison then drove to checkout option 2. It was on national grassland just outside the park a entrance. Quite a few people were there but the area was large enough to find a decent spot. The wind made enjoying the view and cooking dinner nearly impossible but managed to boil up some noodles and chicken. Was starting to feel rough like I might be catching a cold or something and of course the dreaded “c word” is always a possibility. I have a few tests with me but don’t want to use one unless it’s really presenting the symptoms to me. Watched a pretty great sunset then went to bed.