Since the decision was made to head back for our grandson’s birthday we decided to take a northerly route and pass through South Dakota to see Mt. Rushmore, Roxie’s main point of interest on this trip. When we have a deadline and/or destination we tend to travel a bit farther each day and try to find ‘cheaper’ places (read free) to stay.
As we crossed over the Mackinac bridge we stopped a bit further down for a picture:
Yes, the weather was dreary and it got worse. During our drive to a Passport America campground, we encountered the worst rain ever while towing. My wipers could not keep up so we slowed down and after about 100 miles we got out of the rain.
The next day we went through Escanaba MI, where the WBCCI had just had the international rally here about a week ago. We stopped a Walmart for supplies:
We breezed through Wisconsin and Minnesota with a couple of Walmart overnights in each state. We found a very nice place for lunch in MN just before the South Dakota border (Lake Benton) and then entered South Dakota:
We did another Passport America stop in Mitchell SD and the R&R Campground (how appropriate!). We got in relatively early that day so we went out to eat and after eating we visited the Corn Palace! I have been to the Cow Palace in SF before but although this is a venue also that is where the similarities ended. It is an homage to corn and it is decorated with corn (the Cow Palace is NOT decorated with Cows):
After Mitchell, we ended up in Rapid City SD for an evening at Cabelas. Our reservations at the Rafter J-Bar campground in Hill City, SD weren’t for another day. It was our first time at Cabelas and won’t be the last. But before we got to Rapid City was Wall SD and Wall Drug! I remember bits of Wall Drug growing up but Roxie had never been there so we stopped for a bit:
See all the motorcycles? Yes, our trip of bad timing bit us again. We were here during Sturgis! Luckily we weren’t staying in Sturgis but it still has an impact.
When we got to our campsite, where we would be for 5 nights, we immediately headed to Mt. Rushmore since it was on Roxie’s birthday:
We found a place to eat in Keystone where they surprised Roxie with a dessert:
The next day we went to see the Crazy Horse monument. It was much different than Rushmore in many ways. Privately funded instead of government, still in process instead of completed, and a totally different personage they each honor. I was glad we went as their museum and content is more informative and we also had a good tour guide. We were able to come back within 7 days if we wanted:
We continued down to Custer State Park to find some wildlife and we did. Buffalo, antelope, and burros. The burros were obviously more friendly:
We also got a drive-by shot of George:
The next day we took a drive to Deadwood, which was overrun with bikers. We also drove through Sturgis but I didn’t get any photos because I was trying to not hit any pedestrians or bikers. This was the second to last day and it seemed extremely busy! Here is Deadwood:
The next day was a drive through the Needles portion of the Black Hills. This was a road that was carved out of the rocks, literally. We did NOT take the trailer and you will see why when you see the pics. It was a slow road, made slower with the bikers all over. We took our lunch and were able to eat at a very nice lake in the hills also:
That evening we went back to the Crazy Horse monument to see their light show. It was a combination of illuminating lights and a laser show projected on the mountain. It was very entertaining but hard to capture with an iPhone (contrary to what Apple claims).
Our last day was a trip to the Badlands. It is quite a way to get there so it required a full day. We again saw quite a large amount of wildlife. Especially at the end with a coyote walking through a prairie dog town (see the Youtube link below):
We topped off the night with evening lighting ceremony at Mt Rushmore. It was a ranger led program in their amphitheater with a film preceding it.
The title of this post talks about a ring. See the Google Map below that shows the locations that we have stayed on our trip. I also have a representation of our state map from the trailer:
Just a few more states to create the ring. Stay tuned..