City: Rapid City, South Dakota
Miles ridden: 164
Cumulative miles: 12518
Val didn’t feel well today so the three of us went to the Ellsworth Air and Space Museum, all of us curios but not sure what to expect. When we arrived we could see the airplanes outside and a building in the back. So we started to walk around and have a look at all the airplanes outside. To our surprise, we found an ‘Candy Bomber’ (Rosinen Bomber), the type of airplane that supplied Berlin during the blockade. Reading to the sign explained that a group involved in this conflict was stationed at the Ellsworth Airbase.
Then there were multiple huge airplanes but I don’t like to bore anybody, so I just put a couple of pictures up with a sign with some explanation.
The next plane was too big to get onto one picture.
Then we went into the building which housed a museum, so we went in and started to wander around when I heard an announcement that the guided tour to the air base would start in 15 minutes and that would include a walk into the missile launch facility.
Cool, so we paid the entrance fee, did the paperwork to get our clearance and off we went. A bus took us around the airplanes with some additional explanation, then went onto the airbase to a training launch facility. It was really impressive to see how the system was laid out. It has a separation of the launch facilities, the command centre and different groups. Under certain conditions, each group could launch missiles of other groups. The picture below shows the setup in South Dakota.
All the launch facilities are now decommissioned and we learned that only one missile was ever fired, with fuel for only seven seconds, and this was for a testing purpose. After the launch of the missile the launch facility melted and to build a new one would cost 1Million Dollars. The technology in the launch facility looked dated, but it was designed in the 50th and at this time it was cutting edge of technology.
Below is the rocket in the launch pad.
Security was a major concern, so to do some maintenance; two different crews had to enter the code to open the service hatch. I thought I might give it a try 😀
Anyway, it was a really interesting visit and on our way out of the airbase we saw a B52 (the big plane, that didn’t fit on the picture above) doing touch and go, this time I got the whole plane on the picture.
After looking at more planes, we decided that it was time to move on to the Badlands National Park, which has a special stone formation. On our way there was the Wall Drug, a large drugstore in the city of Wall.
When we arrived, it was time for late lunch, particular with a cup of coffee for five cents! Walking through the shop we found that they sell all types of things but luckily we don’t have space on our bikes, and definitely no space for another guy 😉
Now we were on our way to the Badlands, which was only 20 miles from Wall.
Below are just a couple of pictures of the park. As before, the park didn’t fail to amaze us again. The stone formation at the back looks like the shape of a village (well, at least for me).
At some places, the colour was just amazing.
The road on the picture shows the dimension of the rock formations.
And then the rocks open up to the plains.
And there were the prairie dogs, we had seen them before, but I still like to watch and take pictures of them 😀
Looking from a mountain onto the plains we could see how a river carves its way.
Just a couple of more pictures, trust me, this is only a small selection 😉
We had to rush home not to miss the happy hour in the hotel, we have to get the priories right 😉