We powered through 2,000 miles in the first week so we could spend the last two weeks of our adventure at a slower pace. We finally reached that point in South Dakota: no more having to cut north, then west, then north again. Our direction is now solely westward in our trek to Seattle. Our first stop “west” was The Badlands. It’s hard to describe how different the west feels in comparison to the east (or midwest). It’s just different and wonderful. The Badlands is particularly beautiful in an otherworldly, fantastical way. The contrast of buttes, pinnacles, and spires against the grasslands studded with heady-scented yellow sweetclover flowers was utterly captivating. We would have spent more time hiking here, but the weather turned rainy overnight, and we’ve decided to move on to Rushmore and the Black Hills.