Day 59

28. June 2000, Rapid City to Jamestown

Today we drive northeast from South Dakota to North Dakota. Leaving Rapid City, which is about 100 kilometres south of the geographical centre of the U.S., we drive through Buffalo Gap and Badlands, typical "Wild West" sceneries. And indeed, as we continue driving to Pierre we are informed by a street sign that some of the scenes for the film "Dances with Wolves" were shot here. Pierre lies on the Missouri river and further north the Oahe Dam provides electricity from the Missouri. In the late afternoon we cross into North Dakota and arrive in Jamestown, a small town which can claim to have the world's largest buffalo, a concrete sculpture weighing 60 tons and the National Buffalo Museum.
Other then that, the day has been dominated by impressions of the great American farmland and its culture: Huge farming machines, solitary farm settlements every few kilometres, signs advertising new crop seeds and nothing but farmland and cattle as far as the eye can see. We also see a lot of wildlife, though: A vulture pecking on some road-kill, a pheasant flying through the fields, a roadrunner running over the road and pelicans and other waterfowl in the many small lakes along the road.

TC 220: Rapid City OUT
TC 221: Pierre IN
17 347.15 km
TC 222: Pierre OUT
PC Java
TC 223: Jamestown IN
18 439.09 km

Overall 1 hour 37 minutes penalty

The official results can be looked up on this website

Bison (commonly called buffalo) crossing the street in Buffalo Gap National Grassland, just outside Badlands. In this park, the bisons do not seem afraid of humans and when they pass our car we realize how big these ancient, heavy-breathing (and salivating), heavy-furred but seemingly calm mountains of meat are.

The Badlands, named by French settlers who could not make any use of it. Modern America made a national park out of it, complete with entry fees (but somehow we managed to get in without paying, through a back street)

Francois and Shirin from Geneva, Switzerland are driving a colour-matched Citroen.

The Great Plains: they are great - and they are plain

A typical farm, although this one is deserted by its owners: house, barn, silo - trees to provide shade.

Every town needs its marketing niche. Jamestown has the biggest buffalo sculpture in the world, a buffalo museum with real buffalo and an "old pioneer town". Wishek, North Dakota, on the other hand, can claim to be the capital of Sauerkraut - impressive.


Bison scratching his back. We actually stood about ten metres away from this one. Bison are actually very dangerous animals due to their speed and body weight: There are more dangerous bison incidents than bear incidents in Yellowstone. So we made sure we stood right next to our car and when the young bison slowly approached us, out of curiosity, we quickly disappeared into the car, out of safety.

The hills of the Badlands require curvy streets

Farmland all day: be it hay...

... or cattle

Common sight in the parts of the U.S. we drove through: Car cemeteries

Sun on the left, thunderstorm on the right and rainbow in the middle. The Great Plains provide us with beautiful cloud formations, the motto of Montana: Big Skies