Francis woke up early in the morning to watch for the bison we had heard come right up to the campground. It was very chilly despite the promise of a hot day ahead so I stayed in the tent until it warmed up a bit.
After breakfast, we set up our solar panels and Yeti to charge our electronics. Francis got some work done and I relaxed with a book on my Kindle. It got hot quickly so I eventually headed into the tent for some shade from the intense sun.
Around one 0’clock, Francis wrapped up his work for the day and we got in the jeep to go explore the park. We decided to drive a big loop towards the Visitors Center, go into the town of Wall, then come back to the campground from Wall.
We stopped at most of the scenic overlooks to take pictures of the amazing formations. Yellow Mounds was my favorite because of the incredible colors, but it was all beautiful. We took our time driving so we could enjoy everything.
When we got to the town of Wall, we drove by the famous Wall Drug. During the depression, the store struggled to bring in business until the owners got the idea to put up signs on the highway advertising free ice water to hot, thirsty travelers. The idea worked and business started to boom. It is now a huge tourist attraction and still offers free ice water. What a great example of the power of marketing. We don’t like crowds much so we opted not to go inside but I enjoyed at least seeing it.
Sandwiches and ice cream from the much less crowded Dairy Queen in town made for an easy dinner and saved us from having to cook back at camp.
When we returned to camp, we hung out with some campers Francis had met the night before, Dan, Paul, and Paul’s teenage son. They were from nearby Mitchell, South Dakota but like to get out and camp as often as possible. They entertained us with stories of the Corn Palace in their home town and lots of insider info about politics in South Dakota. Dan is originally from Vermont and educated us on the difference between real maple syrup and imitation. Next time we eat pancakes I am going to make sure we get the real stuff. They were a lot of fun and gave us tons of ideas for places to go and scenic drives in the area.
No matter how hot it gets during the day, it gets chilly at night in the desert so we said goodnight and headed into our tent.