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May '13

South Dakota

On Thursday morning, we left our campsite in Sioux Falls, and continued our journey West. We stopped in at Minuteman Missile NHS and then drove through Badlands NP. 

Badlands is incredibly beautiful. Logan and I are both quite glad that we are here in the “off-season”, when the weather is nicer and the crowds fewer.

We plan on coming back to Badlands to do some camping and hiking, eager to keep exploring. After passing through, we stopped in at Wall Drug in Wall, SD, for some lunch. Although this falls squarely in the category of tourist trap, it was well worth it. We got our “Free Ice Waters” and “5 cent Coffee” which had been advertised for steadily for the last 300 miles.

After driving through, and stopping to take some photos, we continued on towards Mt. Rushmore. Even as we drew close to Keystone, SD, we could feel the continued infuence of tourism. Boy were we glad to be in the “off-season”. Mt. Rushmore is an impressive site, and the story behind it is just as interesting. We took the obligatory photos, and then headed into Hill City.

It was dinner time, and we asked the locals where was a good place to eat. A Park Ranger at Mt. Rushmore recommended the Alpine in, “You know, thats the last place I took my wife to dinner. And they only serve one meal there – steak.” At the advice of another local, we headed to Mama Rico’s Mexican, looking to score some cheap, filling food. Mama Rico was a character, but the food disappointed.

After dinner, we headed down the Needles Highway, which was gorgeous. A lot of narrow tunnels, and magnificent views made better by the rain clearing to blue sky and leaving a rainbow. We did some hiking, which was great.

We got to camp, set up and headed to bed. As soon as we went to bed, the rain hit, which lulled us to sleep. This morning (Friday), we got up and Logan did some fishing. It was unsuccessful, but thats life sometimes.

Afterwards, we headed to Wind Cave and did some hiking. Along the way we saw some bison, and went on a hike. We just finished up Jewel Cave a few minutes ago, and are hanging out in Custer, SD as Logan searches out some locals with information on local fishing holes. Tomorrow we are headed out to Devils Tower, and then camping in Badlands. Sunday will be more hiking in Badlands, and the next few days after that are TBD!


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