East to Wisconsin

My days at Buffalo Gap National Grassland continue to delight.

I take walks along the rim and soak in the sights and sounds. There are a lot of birds out here, it’s unusual not to hear their calls. One in particular likes to perch on the sign near camp and will sing a majority of the day. I spot deer twice. The second time I watch one climb from the bottom to the top of the badlands wall, they’re amazingly agile.

The only real downside to this camp is the wind. It never truly lets up and many days is too strong to make sitting outside comfortable. It also makes my primary form of arm exercise – poi spinning – a challenge, but learning to compensate and not hit myself is probably good for me. Those who follow IO on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter will have already seen the video that goes along with this photo. It’ll be going up on the IO YouTube channel too when that’s ready.

Rain continues to come through regularly, but not the all day kind of rain I experienced my first few days here. Usually even on the rainy days there are periods of sun.

See Cas and Bertha?

A funny thing happens over Memorial Day weekend. Friday through Monday the boondocking area is nearly empty, there are 2-3 other RVs/tents besides me.

On Tuesday, a boatload of RVs pull in. I can only figure these people thought the area would be too busy over the holiday weekend and stayed away, and instead made a crowd by all showing up the day after. There’s probably a lesson there somewhere.

My last night, the sunset is especially pretty. I’ve always enjoyed sunsets and I love that I get to see a lot more of them full-timing than I did living stationary.

I also witness one sunrise in the Badlands. At 5:22 am a few days ago my eyes snap open for no reason. I step outside with my phone and capture the orange morning light. I don’t particularly like being up that early, but it’s worth it now and then. Sunrises are more special when rarely observed.

June 1, Thursday

It’s been a great camp, but my 14 days are up… plus I need to dump my tanks. I depart from Buffalo Gap around 10 am and board I90 headed east. I90 through central and eastern South Dakota is not the prettiest drive, but it is easy. Traffic is light, the road is straight, and the wind blows gently from the east. Rolling fields line the interstate dotted with occasional cattle herds. River crossings lend some variety to the landscape.

In the late afternoon I pull into Camp America, an RV park near Salem, SD. It’s been a while since I really cleaned my tanks out and the full hookups here do the trick nicely. It’s a good park, lots of trees, well-manicured lawns, spacious level sites, and I pay $34 for the night with my Good Sam discount. The showers cost a quarter for six minutes which I think is kind of silly when I’m paying for water at my site anyway, but at least it’s not super expensive.

June 2, Friday

I chose Camp America because it was close to Madison, my ‘home’. In the morning I drive up to Madison to pick up my mail from Terri at My Dakota Address in person. I’ve used this mail forwarding company for five years now and have always been happy with the way Terri has treated me. With my mail is a package I’ve been waiting for for quite a while, but I don’t open it up yet. Today’s another 200+ mile day and I want to get going.

It’s another hot one, the thermometer inside Bertha reads at 91 degrees as I cross through southern Minnesota. I’m use to thinking of Minnesota as cold. Not today!

Like yesterday, lunch is had at a rest stop. How convenient is it to have one’s whole kitchen available at a rest stop while traveling? I don’t linger because of the heat.

Hot, hot, hot

Yes, I’m posing outside the liquor entrance at Walmart. I’m classy like that.

Tonight’s stopping point is a Walmart in Austin, Minnesota where I finally open my package. Several of you have expressed an interest in paper copies of my two books, and while I was in Utah I spent a week formatting a hard copy of The Little Guide to Dreaming Big. This is the proof, and I have a few changes to make on it before releasing the final, but it’s coming along nicely. I’m so excited! Solo Full-time RVing on a Budget will take more effort because I need to format all the worksheets too, but I’ll be working on that next and hope to have both ready by the end of July. Stay tuned for further updates.

June 3, Saturday

I cross the Mississippi into Wisconsin in the morning. My timing is quite good, storms rolled through central Wisconsin overnight and are coming again this afternoon, but I’ll be pulling into my destination in the window between.

The west bank of the Mississippi is hilly here, but look at all the treeeeees.  I’ve missed trees.

I arrive at my parent’s house around 12:30. I’ll be moochdocking in their driveway for the next couple months, with trips down to visit friends in Madison (Wisconsin Madison this time), and two adventures without the Casita thrown in (more on that coming up).

This is looking to be a good summer, I can’t wait!

* * *

One last photo of the Badlands

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At IO I teach people how to ditch the status quo and travel full-time before retirement, and share stories of my adventures (and misadventures) to inspire future nomads and armchair travelers alike. Included at no additional charge: seizing your dreams, living boldly, and making a difference.


  1. Keith McKenna on June 11, 2017 at 9:27 am

    Hi Becky. Keith from Mpls, MN. You were staying at “The Ridge”? Just south of Wall? I stayed there in my Teardrop Camper. The first night there was the day before the last presidential election. What follows is an excerpt from my journaling from that trip. It is a little long, but I hope you find it a good l’il read.
    I cannot wait to get back there.
    Safe Travels, ok?, K.

    On November 7th, I pulled out of my driveway in Minneapolis and set a course for the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands and The Badlands National Park.
    I arrived at “The Ridge” overlook boon docking location in The Buffalo Gap Grasslands at dusk. I am no longer a drinker, having abused that privilege years earlier, but I had a few bottles of craft ginger ale. I parked my car in the best spot in the house, cracked open a bottle and raised it to “The Badlands” In the fading blue light, with no one around for miles, I sat in stunned silence for a few minutes to shake off the fatigue of an all day drive, and to take in one of the most beautiful and spiritually significant moments of my life. The sun darkening above me, the pinks and corals of The Badlands turning to mutes blues and greens before me, with a Super Moon” just above the horizon. I was experiencing nature in a way that I have never before realized. I felt like I had finally arrived! I found that from the 48 hours that followed that moment, that I would be fundamentally changed forever.
    I knew that while I was sitting quietly, feeling as calm as I have ever felt in my life, that at that moment, all across America, the digital sphere was in absolute hyper-drive, the tv and radio waves were rife with anger and condemnation and speculation and venomous hyperbole.
    As the last of the suns rays faded to black, the milky way above my head exploded into millions of points of light. It was magical, and awe inspiring, and it made me feel small.
    I went for a short hike in the moonlight and shot some panorama’s of my tiny home that was swallowed up in the enormity of the prairie. I listened to bands of coyotes banter back and forth spinning tales in a wild and humorous cacauphony. I felt like I could breathe again.
    When I awoke, the first hint of the upcoming day was beginning the light the eastern horizon. I climbed out of my cozy lil abode that I had named “Swift Fox”, into the crisp 30 degree air, to set up my camera, to shoot a time-lapse of the sun, rising to bathe “The Badlands” in glorious splendor! I quickly made a pot of coffee and settled into my chair. It was going to be quite a show! After breakfast, I hiked along the ridges, careful not to miss-step, for it was a long way down. It would be hard to locate my body, should I fall into a crevasse. I happily studied the layers upon layers of sediment. Evidence that, at one time, on the very spot that I was standing, was not in fact an arid craggy wasteland, but rather, an actual inland ocean. An aquatic paradise that evaporated into thin air, over a millennia.

    • Becky on June 11, 2017 at 3:15 pm

      Travel is so transformative Keith, I’ve experience feelings like you journaled about several times during my travels and it never gets old. Very beautifully written.

  2. Michael on June 8, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    I camp dispersed from April through September every summer. What I see are the big holiday weekends are actually three weekends now. The weekend before, the actual holiday weekend, and the weekend after. Quite annoying, so I go deeper to get away from the noise. Enjoy this place, thanks

    • Becky on June 9, 2017 at 5:42 pm

      Yeah Michael, if you’re willing to drive back farther it’s possible to escape people still. I love my smaller rig for that.

  3. BadgerRickInWis on June 7, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    From Madison (The Wisconsin one) welcome home. I don’t comment often but always appreciate being able to ride along on your journey. You inspire and educate in more ways than you will ever realize. Thank you for that.

    • Becky on June 9, 2017 at 5:41 pm

      You’re welcome Rick, thanks for following along. 🙂

  4. Deborah Knight on June 7, 2017 at 11:54 am

    I know your parents are thrilled to have you home for a nice visit. Hope you enjoy your time with them. Can yout tell that I’m a mom?

    • Becky on June 9, 2017 at 5:40 pm

      Hehe, thanks Deborah.

  5. Mike fryman on June 6, 2017 at 11:56 am

    I would by your book in a heartbeat, love your blog. Someday you will have to sign it for me!!! Mike fryman, Colorado traveler

    • Becky on June 6, 2017 at 4:47 pm

      D’aww, thanks Mike. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed IO. 🙂

  6. Jodee Gravel on June 6, 2017 at 10:36 am

    Such beautiful views from your boondock on the rim! I couldn’t believe all the corn driving through eastern SD – of course there was corn everywhere until we got to eastern NY after that!! Wow, months being stationary, will be interesting to see what you get up to!
    Jodee Gravel recently posted..Fun in FlorenceMy Profile

    • Becky on June 6, 2017 at 4:47 pm

      Haha, yes there is a lot of corn around! Actually corn use to be the biggest crop near my parent’s place too, but cranberries have become the latest big thing around here.

      Later this month I’m flying out to a rustic and exotic temperate rain-forest island west of Vancouver, next month I’m backpacking across a national park. It’s going to be good times!

  7. Bon on June 6, 2017 at 8:10 am

    Hi Becky! Just blew through northern Wisconsin about a week ago, coming the other direction. Hope you have a happy summer at your folks place. Be safe!
    Bon recently posted..Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.My Profile

    • Becky on June 6, 2017 at 4:42 pm

      Hope you had a good trip Bon. Thanks!

  8. Y Knowles on June 6, 2017 at 7:59 am

    I prefer hard copy books too! Hopefully Becky will let us know when they are ready. I’d like to order both at the same time and save on shipping!

    • Becky on June 6, 2017 at 4:41 pm

      Yep there will be a big announcement when they become available. The Little Guide To Dreaming Big will be ready first, but I’ll announce when the RVing guide is ready too and you can just order both then. Thanks!

  9. Jerry Minchey on June 6, 2017 at 6:22 am

    I think you will find that having printed versions of your books will greatly increase your book revenue. My income from my printed books is usually equal to (and sometimes more than) the income from the eBook version each month.

    I have friends who write both novels and how-to books and they say that most of their novels are sold as eBooks, but their how-to books sell a lot as printed books.

    I think you will find that having both versions will be well worth the effort.

    I hope you find time this summer to work on book #3. I can’t wait to read your next book.

    • Rob on June 6, 2017 at 7:17 am

      For “How To” books I prefer paper.

    • Becky on June 6, 2017 at 4:39 pm

      Yes Jerry, I’m excited to be able to offer both formats. I’ve read similar things about how different types of books sell and it made the decision to offer paper pretty an easy one. 🙂

      Hope your books (and you!) are doing well and that you’re having a good summer so far.

  10. Tom Niemeier on June 6, 2017 at 4:07 am

    Be in Madison in 3 weeks and then Pelican Lake for holidays. Cinti first for Skyline Chili. I’m a fairly recent follower and enjoy your posts. Especially enjoy your boondocking experiences. Enjoy.

    • Becky on June 6, 2017 at 4:33 pm

      Sounds like a fun time Tom, I love Madison. Welcome to IO and I’m happy you’re here.

  11. Ron on June 5, 2017 at 9:42 pm

    Don’t let the Wisconsin Mosquitos carry you away and watch out for the wood ticks, they are bad this year.

    • Becky on June 6, 2017 at 4:32 pm

      Oh yes, the mosquitoes were eager to greet me when I was unhitching, there’s one visitor I could have done without, haha!

  12. Pamela on June 5, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    Hi, Becky –
    Lots of pretty photos! Nice one too with the sunset coming through Cas’ windows. Badlands are good – for photos and peace. I know your family and friends have missed you. Congratulations again on your publications.

    • Becky on June 6, 2017 at 4:29 pm

      Thanks Pamela and glad you enjoyed the photos! Yes, my parents are happy to have me visit.

  13. Connie on June 5, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    I left Buffalo Gap yesterday. I enjoyed it! The wind can be a pain but it’s still worth the trip. I’m a sunrise-a-holic and the sunrise there was simply breathtaking 🙂

    • Becky on June 6, 2017 at 4:28 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it too Connie. It’s on my top five list for best boondocking spots.

  14. Teri on June 5, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    There is a winery in Pepin WI that I have heard is looking for short term workers if you happen to be in the area to check it out

    • Becky on June 6, 2017 at 4:27 pm

      Thanks for sharing Teri.

  15. Rob on June 5, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    A summer at home sounds good!

    I have to say that $34 (with a discount!) for a nights stay at an RV park that has coin operated showers sounds expensive. I’m guessing there is not a lot of choice there.
    Then again maybe I’m really out of touch?

    Enjoy your summer adventures!

    • Becky on June 6, 2017 at 4:27 pm

      That’s a pretty good nightly rate for full hookups these days Rob. It’s gone up a lot, even in the four years I’ve been traveling. This is why I boondock most of the year, I could not afford to full-time staying at RV parks and campgrounds.

      Thanks, and I hope you have a good summer too!

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