There is no doubt that if you visit South Dakota, you have to visit and ride your motorcycle through the Badlands. Our trip to the Badlands was scheduled as a quick ride through, but, again, what wasn’t planned turned out to be awesome for lack of a better word.
At the Badlands you can see wildlife ranging from bison to black footed ferrets, which until recently, were thought to be extinct. Now, the reality is as National Parks go and especially for camping, it is not the greatest campsite, but, it’s the BADLANDS!
Truth be told, the campsites offer no privacy. This was the first time I came across paying for a shower by constantly dropping quarters into a slot. There was no electricity and no fire pits, so we couldn’t grill, but, IT’S THE BADLANDS! Actually, I ran an extension cord over a hundred feet into the bathroom and connected it to the panini grill. It was funny to see people follow the extension cord to our site. I guess they were trying to figure out who was the nut bag who violated the rules (assuming I violated any rule-sorry, but the attorney in me came out). But, we had to eat and had no other way of cooking our food. Actually, when other campers saw me brewing coffee in the morning, trust me, they were jealous.
Somewhere along the way from Spearfish, South Dakota to the Badlands, I took a wrong turn and a short ride became a full day journey. However, my journey took me through the Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and it offered the opportunity for me to ride by the Wounded Knee Massacre; so I’m glad I got “lost.” Unfortunately, the Lakota Indians do not have the funds to create the memorial that is rightfully deserved. If you don’t know the history and story behind Wounded Knee, I suggest you research it.
At the Bandlands, there are two areas to camp. One is primitive to the 10th degree; meaning there is no electric, water, bathrooms, etc… but, if you want to look out your tent and see bison, that is the site for you. If so, Sage Creek is the place for you. If not, Cedar Pass Lodge is your other choice. We stayed at Cedar Pass.
There was something majestic if not surreal, about camping at the Badlands. With the sun setting, we walked our dog Bella. Everyone at the campsite, regardless of what they were doing, stopped to watch the sun set. It was amazing. I’ve always been of the position that Key West has the best sunsets especially, if you consider the street performers and the ambiance, but, I am wrong. It’s Clayton, New Mexico and the Badlands. There is nothing more beautiful, more pure.