While riding through the Badlands a couple of days ago, I happened upon a campground that was nestled in a remote area. Upon investigation I discovered it was a free camping area. The map describes it as a primitive campground because there is no water available and no flush toilets. It meets all my needs, however: picnic tables with sun shades over them, oder-free toilets, and trash containers. The only drawback is that it is on a washboardy, dirt road, eight miles from any cell reception. I will probably spend a couple of days here and try one of the hikes the information board lists.
Yesterday, I rode five miles outside the park to the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site. The site consists of two locations – the underground launch control center and the Minuteman II missile (unarmed) in the silo. This site was part of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in 1991 that deactivated over half the ICBM’s in the northern plains. I was disappointed that the elevator was broken and tours down into the command center were canceled. I watched a film and looked over some of the displays and then rode to the actual missile site 16 miles from the command center.
At the missile silo there was a park service volunteer answering questions. The giant 4-feet thick concrete cover is rolled back half-way across the opening and a glass cover was built over the tube to give tourists a view down into the silo where the missile sits.
There is quite a lot to do here in SD. Ellsworth A.F.B. has a air and space museum with a training launch facility, where you can tour an underground missile silo. And, of course, there is Mt. Rushmore, Wind Cave NP, Jewel Cave NM, and the Black Hills to see, so it may be a while before I get into Wyoming.