09/20/12. Thursday. Today, we had our last lunch stop at the Cowboy Café in Medora, ND. We finally left at 1:40 pm taking I-94 to US 85 south toward South Dakota. Jeanne drove to Spearfish, SD and arrived at Chris’ Campground at 6:00 pm. We drove 215.8 miles today. We didn’t expect to drive this far, but there was nothing along the way except cut fields of hay and sunflowers, and a few antelope. The campground was nice with Wifi and cable. Our host wanted us to read his brochure before we paid. He was sure we would take one of the scenic drives and stay two days. Cost was $30/night. Bed about 10 pm.
Both North Dakota and South Dakota are very flat!!
9/21/2012. Friday. We talked again with the owners of the Chris’ Campground about which driving tour to take today. As expected, we decided to stay two nights. Our host's recommendation was to tour the Spearfish Canyon in the Blackhills National Park on route 14a. What a wonderful drive. We stopped at the Bridalveil Falls. Further down the road, we hiked the ’76 Trail. It gains 1.000 feet in 3/4 mile. We didn't really realize how steep that was, so we decided to turn back at the half-way mark. The half-way point sign told us to beware of “steep climb ahead and loose gravel.” It was great exercise in a beautiful forest of yellow aspen. We drove on to the Roughrock Falls at the end of a one mile gravel road. Just beautiful from the natural beauty of the creek, falls and trees to the wonderful walkways available to access different views of the falls. We went on to Cheyenne Crossings store and cafe for their Indian Tacos, a large piece of Indian fried bread covered in tomato, lettuce, special meat mixture, sour cream, cheese and salsa. Our first Indian Taco and it was very good. After lunch, we drove on through Lead to Deadwood. We visited the Visitor's Center and was told of the local tourist attractions, but we concentrated on the bar/casino where Wild Bill Hickock was shot (saloon # 10) and the casino owned by Kevin Cosner. We also drove up a steep street to the Mt. Moriah Cemetery where Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane were buried. The taxes from the casinos in Deadwood allows the city money for preservation of important buildings and landmarks. We left Deadwood and returned to Spearfish and found the Safeway store to replenish our supplies. We returned to the campground, caught up on laundry, Ed’s travelogue and Jeanne’s blog.
Our hike straight up!!
The colors were absolutely beautiful!!
At the lodge across from the 76 Trail hike, we spotted these snowmobiles, just waiting to have some fun!
Roughrock Falls. Very beautiful!
This is where we had our first Indian Taco. It was delish!!
Mt. Moriah Cemetery (Boot Hill) where Wild Bill and Calamity Jane are buried.
Deadwood from Boot Hill.
The buildings in Deadwood seem authentic. The only difference from when Wild Bill was there is that most of the buildings now house casinos. The developers are hoping that tax money will help with renovations.
This is the building that Wild Bill was shot. Now called Saloon No. 10.
4-way stop sign in the middle of the street. Only seen that one other time in Georgia!
Along the highway, near Custer City, SD.
09/22/2012 Saturday. We were up early to find the Spearfish post office, but were delayed by the high school homecoming parade. We finally found the post office, got on I-90 for a few exits and then headed south on Route 385, which took us through another scenic part of the badlands. We passed the Crazy Horse Memorial. It appeared that little progress occurred since our last visit several years ago. They tried to charge $10 a person which we didn't want to pay, so we did a U-turn and headed on to Custer City, SD arriving about 2:45 pm. We tried to stay in the Custer State Park, but this was the weekend of the big Buffalo Roundup, an event marked by a chili cook off, art auction and an auction of several head of buffalo to keep the herd size under control. Finally found a site at the Wheels West RV Park. We got satellite TV and watched the last half of the Penn State football game.
Crazy Horse Memorial hasn't changed much since the last time we were here in 2007. They have an entrance fee of $10 per person to help finance the work.
A sweet little deer near the Visitor's Center in Custer City.
We stayed here at the Wheels West RV Park in Custer City, SD. It was the only campground in town with an empty site because of the Buffalo Roundup which starts on Monday. We decided we wouldn't stay around with 14,000 people to watch those poor buffalo come over the hill and be trapped so they can be sold. This is the way they thin out the buffalo population in SD.
9/23/2012 Sunday. Ed was up at 7:00 am. It was cold, 35° outside. Nobody slept enough. We drove to the Visitors’ Center to ask which stores were open. We were excited to see another Lazy Daze sitting with their satellite dish up near the Visitor's Center. It was John and Dotty Schedel from Florida. They were staying in Custer State Park where they couldn't get a satellite signal, so they moved into town for a clear southern sky to watch a Nascar race. They are such a nice couple with an 2000 LD island bed. We toured their rig and they toured ours. We exchanged contact information and talked to them about joining the SELD group. We left Custer City about 1:30 pm and headed toward Sidney, Nebraska on US 385. A straight shot that took us through our last glimpse of the Badlands and onto the plains of Nebraska.