May 21

May 21, 2021 – Custer State Park to Badlands, SD

Today I was going from my mountain paradise west of Custer State Park to the Badlands, which wasn’t too far away. It seemed like almost half my trip was just getting off the mountain!

The roads leaving the mountain were really sloppy from all the rain overnight, and I woke up to some pretty dense fog, making it an interesting trek down, but my van handled it like a champ.

I decided to drive through Custer State Park again on my way to the Badlands, and also took advantage of a free dump station to get fresh water and clear out my waste tanks on the taxpayers dime.

Anyone who has been through South Dakota knows about Wall Drug, the tourist trap that has an excessive amount of billboards within a 400-mile radius of the place. I of course had to stop and get my free bumper sticker. I got myself a buffalo burger while I was there too – how could I not?

Arriving at my camping spot in the Badlands was pretty awesome.

I had heard about this camping area where you can park right on the cliffs of the canyon, and it did not disappoint. Nicknamed “The Wall”, this dispersed camping area is operated by the Bureau of Land Management. It is free of charge for camping stays of up to 14 days at a time.

There were thunderstorms almost all night with severe storms in the area. Once the storms passed, the winds kicked up to what I would estimate 50 mph gusts. The van was definitely rocking around next to the cliff we were parked on.

Weather alerts kept coming all night long. Luckily the hail stayed away from me.

Some videos I took throughout the day (sorry for the wind noise).

Here’s the route we took.

Some highlights of the drive.

And a full time lapse of the drive.