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Sat. Oct. 10 to Fri. Oct. 16- Black Hawk SD to St. Joseph MO.

Saturday- We left around 9AM to go drive the Spearfish Canyon scenic by-way. This has to be one of the most spectacular drives in the US! The pictures do not do it justice!

South Dakota

We drove north on I-90 to the town of Spearfish. The town was on the by-way, but it was nothing interesting.  For my Zonta friends, note the sign. There is also a Zonta club in Rapid City. We turned onto SD Hwy. 14A, to drive through the canyon. The canyon has high cliffs, beautiful trees, waterfalls and streams.

Spearfish Canyon SD

Spearfish Canyon SD

Spearfish Canyon SD

Spearfish Canyon SD

Spearfish Canyon SD

Bridal Veil Falls, Spearfish Canyon SD

Above is Bridal Veil falls. Obviously there is not a lot of water flowing at this time of year. In the movie yesterday, there was a much stronger water flow.

Spearfish Canyon SD

Spearfish Canyon SD

Spearfish Canyon SD

Spearfish Canyon SD

Spearfish Canyon SD

Spearfish Canyon SD

We stopped at The Long Valley picnic area to use the vault toilet. It was next to this beautiful stream. The water was crystal clear and you could see the fish in the stream.

Spearfish Canyon SD

Spearfish Canyon SD

Spearfish Falls, Spearfish Canyon SD

Above was Spearfish Falls. There was a view point across the stream at the bottom, but we could not figure out how to get there. There were no signs. We continued on for 1 mile on dirt road 222 to Roughlock Falls. There was a nice parking lot and boardwalk at this waterfall.

Roughlock Falls, Spearfish Canyon SD

We back tracked and turned back on to SD Hwy. 14A. Spearfish Canyon is in the Black Hills National Forest.

Spearfish Canyon SD

We continued through the town of Lead to Deadwood.

South Dakota

Deadwood South Dakota

We had decided to eat lunch in Deadwood but it was only 11:00, so we continued on the through Boulder Canyon to see that part of the by-way.

Boulder Canyon SD

Boulder Canyon SD

Boulder Canyon SD

We made a U-turn and returned to Deadwood. We parked in a parking garage and walked out to Main Street. There is no parking on Main Street, so there were few vehicles.

Deadwood SD

We ate lunch at the Stockade.

Deadwood SD

Bob had a burger and I had a BLT. My potato salad was very good, everything else was mediocre. We would not recommend the restaurant.

We stopped in a few shops. There are a lot of casinos. Deadwood’s claim to fame is that it is where Wild Bill Hickok was murdered by Jack McCall. Evidently McCall walked up behind Wild Bill and shot him. Wild Bill’s  card hand was Aces over 8’s, which is now called the Dead Man’s Hand in poker.

Where Wild Bill Hickock was shot, Deadwood SDDeadwood SD

Where Jack McCall was captured, Deadwood SD

Deadwood SD

They do an re-enactment or you can tour the saloon, for $5. We declined and left Deadwood.

We drove south on SD Hwy. 385, back to Rapid City. This was a part of the scenic by-way. It was pretty, but nothing spectacular like Spearfish Canyon.

We returned to the MH and took a nap. We popped a meal into the crock pot, ate dinner, and watched some recorded TV.

Sunday- Neither of us slept well. The wind started howling at about midnight. The MH was rocking and there was a lot of noise. The wind continued to howl all day as a front came in. We woke up to a temp of 72 degrees and later in the afternoon the temp had dropped to the low 60’s.

We left the MH at around 8:30. As we were leaving we saw people packing up their RV’s to leave. With the severe wind warning today, we would not have left and traveled in the MH. It is too dangerous. They were warning high profile vehicles to stay off the road.

We drove south on I-90 to Rapid City where we turned onto SD Hwy 16. We followed that to SD Hwy.16A. Even on the map there were a lot of squiggles. The road really had some tight turns. Fortunately, there was minimal traffic. We traveled very slowly over about 7-8 miles to the entrance of Custer State Park. The road on the way was awesome! 

Iron Mountain Road

Iron Mountain Road

We went around the curve to the right and them passed over this bridge.

Iron Mountain RoadIron Mountain Road

Iron Mountain Road

There were several of these tunnels. We wound through the forest and eventually stopped at a rest area/overlook. We could see Mt. Rushmore from where we were standing, across the valley.

Mt. Rushmore from Iron Mountain Road

Mt. Rushmore from Iron Mountain Road

Iron Mountain Road

Iron Mountain Road

Iron Mountain Road

Iron Mountain Road

Iron Mountain Road

Custer State Park

We finally reached the park entrance. The minimum was a 7 day pass for $15. We paid and drove into the park. Our first stop was at the Peter Norbeck Visitor Center. Peter Norbeck was the person who designed the park. The visitor center building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

We back tracked about a mile, stopping at the State Game Lodge, which is also on the National Register of Historic Places.

Custer State ParkCuster State Park

We turned right and drove down the  Wildlife Loop Road. The first animals we saw were these Pinion Antelope.

DSCN4640-001

Custer State Park

The park has the largest herd of Bison in the country. In September they round them up and move them to the corral area. Near the corral area there was this other visitor center.

Another visitor center-Custer State Park

Past the corrals and this visitor center we saw two bison in a field, at a distance. We continued on and found some of the herd moving along…. still in the distance.

Bison-Custer State Park

We continued on and found a large part of the herd.

Bison-Custer State Park

At the same place, on the other side of the road were the wild mules.

Mules-Custer State Park

In the visitor center they described the mules as friendly. Guess this one is….

Friendly mule-Custer State Park

We moved on down the road. We had to stop for a bison traffic jam.

Bison on road-Custer State Park

Bison on road-Custer State Park

There were two of the and eventually they moseyed over to the side of the road.

Bison- Custer State Park

We continued on our way, occasionally stopped to take pictures of more bison.  Here is some scenery.

Custer State Park

Legion Lake-Custer State Park

Above is Legion Lake. Below is Stockade Lake.

Custer State Park

We drove a little farther and actually left the park.  We turned into another entrance on Hwy 87.  We stopped at the Blue Bell Lodge to use the facilities.

Blue Bell Lodge, Custer State Park, SD.

Blue Bell Lodge, Custer State Park, SD

The Visitor Center lady in Rapid City had told us that this road is closed for repairs on every day except Sunday, so that if we wanted to drive the Needles Highway Scenic Drive we needed to do it on Sunday. So here we were!

We re-entered the park. The road was milled most of the way. Near the entrance we started to see these piles of wood. We think they might be to slow down a forest fire.

Needles Scenic By-way-Custer State ParkNeedles Scenic By-way-Custer State Park

We continued on stopping at at picnic area called “hole in the wall”.

Hole in the wall picnic area, Needles Scenic By-way-Custer State Park

We continued on our way.

Needles Scenic By-way-Custer State Park

Needles Scenic By-way-Custer State Park

Needles Scenic By-way-Custer State Park

Needles Scenic By-way-Custer State Park

Needles Scenic By-way-Custer State Park

Needles Scenic By-way-Custer State Park

Needles Scenic By-way-Custer State Park

Needles Scenic By-way-Custer State Park

This was a much longer tunnel than the other ones have been and more narrow.

Needles Scenic By-way-Custer State Park

Needles Scenic By-way-Custer State Park

Needles Scenic By-way-Custer State Park

Sylvan Lake-Needles Scenic By-way-Custer State Park

Above is Sylvan  Lake.

Needles Scenic By-way-Custer State Park

Hood tunnel-Needles Scenic By-way-Custer State Park

We left the park and drove to Hill City. We passed through the town and went to the  Prairie Berry Winery. I tasted  5 wines for free. They were okay, but nothing to write home about. I did not buy any. We ate lunch there. I had the kids grilled cheese with apple slices and Bob had a ham sandwich which was a rip off.

We went next door to the Miners Brewery where Bob had a “Flight” of 6 beers of the tasting. They were a Mango Cream Ale which he liked, Irish Red, Dunkle, English summer Ale, Blue Rye, and Dr. Val and IPA which was not too harsh.

20151011_131905

20151011_132524

We left and went to the Crazy Horse Monument. $11 per person, then an extra $4 each to take the bus to the base of the monument. We paid and rode a school bus to the base. Then we returned to the Visitor Center and watched the movie. It was interesting, but a little expensive. The monument is self supporting, there is no government, Federal and State, money involved.

Crazy Horse MonumentCrazy Horse Monument

Above is what the final monument is to look like.

DSCN4717

DSCN4718-001

We left and drove back home. We arrived home at around 4:30. The wind was still howling!

Monday- We left around 9 am to go to Mt. Rushmore. We ran out of time yesterday, so we visited today. They charge $11 for parking in a parking garage. The monument is free.

Mt. Rushmore

Mt Rushmore

Mt. Rushmore

This sign states that Thomas Jefferson had the first ice cream recipe in the USA. New info to us!

Mt. Rushmore

We walked out to the Grand View Terrace and took this picture. We went down to the theater and watched the 1985 movie, narrated by Tom Brokaw. We toured the exhibits and returned up to the terrace. We would have walked the Presidential Trail, but it has  450 steps and we decided that my new knees were not up to that!  We also wanted to visit the Sculptures Studio, but it was closed today.

Why these Presidents? George Washington for the Birth of the nation; Thomas Jefferson for the  Expansion with the Louisiana Purchase; Theodore Roosevelt for  Development -the Panama Canal, Trust Buster, and Conservation, and finally Abraham Lincoln for Preservation in saving the union during the Civil War.

The reason that they are in the order that they are is because of the rock formation. The artist had to put them up that way. The monument is not exactly as designed due to problems with the blasting of the granite.

We returned to Rapid City and stopped at McDonalds for lunch. We both had an egg McMuffin and hash browns. Micky D’s might have a winner with all day breakfast. At 11:30 the place was packed.

We stopped at Walmart for a few items, then returned to the MH. We started washing sheets and towels. We took a short nap, as neither of us have slept well for two nights. The wind was howling again last night. We are hoping that the wind stops before we have to leave tomorrow.

Tuesday- The wind had died down, it was still blowing, but no where near as hard as yesterday.  We left at about 8:30 and drove to Wall SD. I called the Chamber of Commerce to ask where we could park the MH. The nice lady gave us directions to an RV parking lot. It was right across the road from the RV park that we are going to be staying in. We could not arrive before 1 PM, as they charge $2 an hour and we were already paying $35 for the night.

We parked and went into town to Wall Drug. This is only part of the building. It is a block long and contains different sections.

Wall DrugSD

If you are not familiar with Wall Drug, it is an interesting story. In 1931,Ted and Dorothy Hustead bought the pharmacy in Wall SD. There was nothing in the town except 326 poor folks. They made a deal with each other that they would try this for five years.

In the summer of 1936 the business was barely surviving. Dorothy took the children to the house for a nap. It was so noisy with cars driving by, that she returned to the pharmacy. It was hot, so to get people to stop, Dorothy suggested that they give away free ice water as she thought the travelers might be thirsty.

So Ted and one of the kids from town made signs saying “free ice water”. They went out to the highway and put up the signs. By the time they returned the pharmacy was mobbed with people asking for their free ice water. Ted had to start breaking up blocks of ice there were so many folks. They asked if they could fill their water jugs. Then someone asked for ice cream. This was the beginning of Wall Drug. Think “South of the Border” in South Carolina. It is the same type of tourist trap with lots of free things to look at and tons of junk made in China. They still give away free ice water and you can still fill a jug.

We wandered though and had a homemade doughnut. It was just like the ones that my grandmother used to make!

We returned to the MH, packed a picnic lunch, and took the dogs with us to go to tour the Badlands. Our first stop was still in town. We stopped at the National Grasslands Visitor Center. We picked up a map and the Ranger suggested that due to the position of the sun, that we drive about 30 miles east and start at that entrance and work our way backwards.

So we drove east. At the exit was the Minuteman Missile NHS.  We turned left and found it closed. It is only open Wed- Sat. So we back traced across the interstate and drove south to The Badlands National Park. On the way, we stopped to take pictures of this sod homestead.

Sod House near Badlands NP

Sod House near Badlands NP 

We entered with Bob’s Geezer Pass and I bought mine for $10, using my new drivers license!

We drove to the first overlook. The wind had picked up by this time and was howling!

DSCN4730

Badlands NP

Badlands NP

We did not walk out to the overlook because of the wind. I took pictures, then we moved on to the next areas. The Badlands are impressive. I had been to Wall and the Badlands when I was a kid, in 1958. The formations are losing 1” per year to erosion, its those blasted winds! So they have lost 55 inches since I was there last!

Badlands NP

Badlands NP

Badlands NP

Badlands NP

Badlands NP

We stopped at the Ben Reifel Visitor Center and watched the 20 minute movie. One thing I found interesting was that the Bison, who roamed free on the prairie, helped to build the grasslands. They would rub in the earth and free the soil. The seeds from the grass caught in their fur and they would spread it across the grasslands. The prairie dogs basically did the same thing, aerating the soil.

Badlands NP

Badlands NP

We left and continued one our way. We stopped at the Bigfoot  Pass overlook to eat our lunch. There were picnic tables but due to the wind, we ate in the car. We continued through the park and the road took us right back into Wall.

Badlands NP

On the way back, after leaving the park, we entered the grasslands.

DSCN4765

By now it was after 3 PM so we went to the RV Park, checked in at Sleepy Hollow RV Park, which with the Good Sam discount was still expensive! We stayed in a 50 amp FHU site and turned on the floor warmers!  We continued to do laundry.

We settled in and cooked a crock pot meal, ate dinner, watched TV and went to bed.

Wednesday- We drove east on I-90 the 30 miles and stopped at the Minuteman Missile NHP.

20151014_092417

This facility is free. We arrived about 5 minutes before the 7 minute movie started. We wandered through the exhibits and left. We continued east on I-90 to  Hills RV Park, a PA park, $20 FHU 50 amp. We set  up camp and drove the next 20 miles in the car to Mitchell. Our designation was the Corn Palace.

It is the only Corn Palace in the world. It was built in 1892 when the town was only 12 years old. Early settlers wanted to display the areas bounty to attract immigrant settlers.

Corn Palace, Michell SD

Each year a new decorating theme is chosen and the outside of the Corn Palace is stripped and redecorated with new corn and grains. Over the summer, 3,000 bushels of rye, oat heads and sour dock are tied in bundles and attached. When the crop is ready, roughly 275 thousand ears of corn are sawed in half, lengthwise and nailed to the building following patterns created by local artists. It was pretty unique and worth the trip.

Corn Palace Mitchell SD

Corn Palace SD

We stopped at DQ for a mini blizzard, and returned to do more laundry, eat dinner and watch TV.

Thursday- We continued east on I-90 to Sioux Falls. We turned south on i-29 and went two exits to the Flying J. We pulled into the truck parking area, as the RV parking was full. We unhooked the car, walked the dogs, then took off for Dakota Post, our mailing service.

We easily found the building and laughed at the sign on the door which said  “welcome home”!

We entered and asked for our mail. On the top where two envelops from the Minnehaha County Voting Audit. Because our mail service had moved, we had to re-register to vote. Good thing we were right there. To do this, we had to spend the night. We were not planning on staying in Sioux Falls, but planned to continue south. So I looked up how far it was to St. Joseph MO, and it was 302 miles. So we went back to the MH and and waited for the arrival time of 1 PM at the local RV park.

Bob drove the MH and I drove the car over to Tower RV Park $ 39.95 with our discount, and we parked the MH. To establish residency, we have to have both names on the receipt and spend one night in Sioux Falls. So that is what we did. We received the receipt, and attached it to the forms and mailed them to Dakota Post for them to take care of for us.

Bob worked on getting color on the TV. For some reason, every once in a while the satellite goes black and white. He was unable to fix it. We know it is a lose wire somewhere!

We fed the dogs, then went to Best Buy for a refrigerator filter. Then we went  dinner at Granite City brewery. We returned to the MH, watched black and white TV and went to bed.

Friday- We were up early and drove south. At about 10, we stopped and changed drivers. We conditioned into Iowa, stopped and ate lunch at a rest area and continued on to St. Joseph MO.

DSCN4773

We arrived at AOK RV park, where we have stayed before, $50.00 for 2 nights, 50 AMP FHU.

We settled in to our site, facing the lake. We then left to go to a car wash. The car was filthy from the dirt road on the way in. They had a nice tunnel car wash and they guys did a great job of getting the bugs off the front of the car. $8 and worth every penny!

They now have an Aldi’s in St. Joe, so we stopped there and stocked up. $42 for more than 4 bags of groceries! We have missed Aldi’s.

We left, stopped at Walmart then returned to our cooked crockpot dinner. We ate dinner and watched TV in color. The bouncing on the way today had given us back the color!

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