The Badlands


The name says it all. Hell, you feel like a bad ass just riding through a place called the Badlands. The first time I rode through the Badlands was in 2012. It was a rough ride because wind gusts exceeded 40 mph. In addition, I almost wrecked the motorcycle because an idiot coming from the opposite direction didn’t understand the simple rules of motorcycle riding.

I was traveling east with the wind pushing me hard from my left. Naturally, I hugged the lane divider so when the wind pushed me, I had the whole lane to gain control of my motorcycle. This moron was traveling with a few other bikes, but he was riding on the lane divider as well. However, since he is coming from the opposite direction, the wind is pushing him from his right, which means a strong gust pushes him into my lane. So what do you think happened?

As he jumped over to my lane and we are heading towards one another, I had to cut to the far right of my lane and the gust of wind was relentless. Somehow, the motorcycle did not go off road. So, that is my memory of the Badlands. Luckily, I replaced a negative memory with a positive one this time.

The only bad thing this time around was that we took a long extended route and that is my fault for not comparing the GPS recommended route with a map. This was actually the first time I didn’t compare it to a map and thus, I probably added a couple of hundred miles to the trip. However, that mistake was a blessing in disguise. By now, I have traveled 3,474 miles.

The extended route took me through the Pine Ridge Reservation and by the site of Wounded Knee. Unfortunately, due to lack of funding, a well deserved memorial is lacking. With the sun set a few hours away, riding the Loop of the Badlands and continuing to ride didn’t seem likely. We decided to spend the night and what better place than in the Badlands.

There are two campgrounds in the Badlands that are National/State Parks, and a few more that are private campgrounds. We stayed Cedar Pass Campground which is just before the entrance to the Badlands. There is another site, Sage Creek which is very primitive, as it has no water, electricity, or bathrooms, but it is the perfect place to see bison roaming near your campsite.

Cedar Pass doesn’t have electricity either but it does have restrooms. There are also no fire rings, so you cannot grill. You do have to pay for your shower at Cedar Pass with quarters. A quarter lasts about two minutes.

Like Clayton State Park, the night sky is beautiful in the Badlands as was the sunset and full moon. All the campers stopped what they were doing to see the sun set in the distance just behind the buttes. At the same time, you can hear motorcycles rumbling through, riding into the sunset.

Click here to see more photos. Here are other photos of the campsite.

MC Atty

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