Badlands Boogie By Rudi

Posted on June 28, 2010


Rudi was excited to actually achieve a goal on this trip: He made it to Badlands National Park for his first camping experience. The weather was beautiful, the sun was setting throwing the formations into relief, the campgrounds were in a great spot. Life was good.

Day four dawned and Rudi decided to take the 31-mile looop drive through the Badlands. This two-lane road wiggles its way parallel to I-90 heading west. Take a look.

The Loop drive was actually a delightfully slow and easy ride among the fantastic volcanic ash formations of the Park, with many pullouts for views and photography. This is a busy park as it is only about 8 miles off of I-90 with two exits for access.

Ancient Volcanic Ash, Up Close

A delay for raod repairs is an opportunity for some picture taking

The landscape is wonderful, but Rudi has an eye for the foibles of his fellow man, having so many of them himself.

Americana at Badlands

The loose goal for the day was to cover at least half of the 800 or so miles left to Missoula, so it was time to get back on I-90 and make some serious time. The BMW is a 10-year-old motorcycle and was beginning to feel her oats. Her “handle” is “Big Bertha”, not because of her robust physical appearance, but because she is a warrior’s steed, named after the famed 105 mm Howitzer long range artillery field piece used by the the Army in several wars.

Both acceleration and gas mileage have improved over the trip and Rudi is getting used to dealing with the extra weight on the bike. But some of that weight is going to come off. Rudi envisions the pioneers in their wagons, slowly tossing away that treasured grandfather’s clock and the set of china as the reality of the distances involved heading west became apparent. There will be a weight reduction program conducted in Missoula, no doubt.

SPOT Tracking Site URL:

If you are following Rudi’s progress on the SPOT site, you will notice a meandering trail at the end of nearly every day as Rudi searches for a campsite. Why plan ahead when you can see more of the country? After visiting a mystical Native American pictograph cave (a day use only site), Rudi found a KOA campground on the banks of the Yellowstone River near Billings, Montana.

Tent on Yellowstone outside Billings, MT

A shower, some rum, a visit with the neighbors, including a fine example of a Harley rider who had recently done the Alaska trip (“I took the wrong bike for those roads”, he said), and it was time for dinner at the finest restaurant in Billings, just 15 feet from Rudi’s front door.

Best Table In the House

Tomorrow is the fifth day of the trip and a 360 mile ride is waiting. Jesse doesn’t get off work until after 5 pm so Rudi doesn’t need to leave early. In a gentle night rain, Rudi drifts off dreaming of the end of the first phase of this trip.


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Thank you.

Rudi G  & Jesse