Mitchell, South Dakota to Murdo, South Dakota • 146 miles
Day four: scary winds and tornado-like weather; friendly South Dakota locals; shortest and scariest day of the trip so far; one state; trucking along I-90 still...
This morning we woke up to crazy wind and rain. We had hoped to make it to Badlands National Park this afternoon, but the weather had other plans. It was so windy that Luna and Kaia actually fell over while using the bathroom this morning. Hahah!
So we hit the road again, and couldn't believe that the wind had actually worsened since yesterday. Sam had to keep the steering wheel positioned right just to go straight. We passed two flipped 18-wheelers before deciding to call it a day (we later found out that six semis flipped in just a few miles). We were disappointed, but knew it was the right decision. When stopped, the Land Rover would shake and rock side to side violently - I was so scared that the car would flip because of its higher profile. And standing outside actually required effort. We saw a recent flipped semi with no caution tape or other vehicles around, so we stopped to check to see if anyone needed help. The wind was so strong that Sam had to hold onto the car to keep from being blown into the road. Within a few seconds, several other cars stopped, and Sam along with a few other men crossed the highway over to the truck. They didn't see anyone, so I guess the police had already been on the scene.
It sounds unreal, but we have never experienced anything like that before. Outside it looked like the tornado scene from The Wizard of Oz. Anything on the horizon would fade into the hazy dust.
Thankfully a tiny town called Murdo was right down the road. The Super 8 was our home for the night, and we made it a relaxing evening to recover from the drive. We did some exploring at a local general store, where locals told us that these were record-high winds (90mph). Whoa! We ended our night with dinner from Prairie Pizza.