Before leaving Chamberlain SD this morning we went to the Akta Lakota Museum and Cultural Center. I think it is probably the only museum in the country that opens at 8:00am which was perfect for us since we wanted to get on the highway by 9:30 as usual. Akta Lakota means "to honor the people" and this museum certainly does that. It is the kind of place I would like to revisit to learn more. The museum displays artwork of contemporary Native American artists alongside the historic displays. It has some interactive videos and hands on areas that kids would like. There is also a 20 minute video but we did not take time for that. The museum is an outreach of St. Joseph's Indian School which is also on the grounds. In fact, the museum was originally the elementary school. A museum curator told us that the museum began because of donations given to the school by many of the grateful families of the students. She explained that most of the families who send their children to the school do not have much money so to show their appreciation they give family artifacts to the school. All of these historic pieces were accumulating in the school basement and the museum really started out of necessity; the school administrators wanted to honor the givers of the artifacts by displaying them. I was especially drawn to the bead work displays.
Spring time is arriving on the great plains!
Then "Westward ho!" off we went on I-90 towards our next stop which would be Wall Drugstore for lunch. The skies were blue and the temperature rose up and up, beyond 60 and close to 70 by the end of the afternoon.
A view through the sky window of our Hyundai:
I did not need encouragement to heed this sign at a wayside!
Everywhere we looked there were breath taking views.
Due to the unseasonably warm weather and shorter winter bugs are hatching at rapid speed. The windshield and front bumper of the car were covered with bug remains.
The prairie dog towns alongside the road were HUGE. I mean these little guys were popping up and chattering away everywhere! Their sound is really adorable. Aside from the sound of prairie dogs and birds the Badlands is incredibly quiet. I suppose especially so since there were fewer cars and people than in summer.
Just before exiting the park we saw about a half dozen of these and we think they are young bighorn. Further down the road we had to stop the car to let an antelope cross the road. No picture of that big boy!
Lunch time in Wall...but not at the drug store. We ate across the street.
Then into Wyoming and we see more evergreens and snow barrier fences. We also see LONG trains of coal and oil cars and pass by one open pit coal mine.
Tonight we are at a Comfort Inn in Gillette WYO, home of the Pronghorns. My husband just informed me that there are more pronghorns than people in Wyoming.