South Dakota

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Roadside America for South Dakota for those unusal sites to see.

Cross Country Trip Wednesday 1997 continued
We entered South Dakota from Wyoming on I90 after visiting Devils Tower in Wyoming. We wanted to spend the night in Keystone and watch the lighting of Mount Rushmore National Memorial(state site) that night. For the National Park Service Mount Rushmore NM site click here.
We traveled I90 East through Spearfish and Sturgis on I90. We then entered the Black Hills by following US14A through Bolder Canyon into Deadwood, Central City, Lead and Pluma. In Pluma, we turned on to the Black Hills Parkway (US385) to travel the heart of the Black Hills. This route gave us views of the thick dark forests, vistas of the mountains made of rocks and short takes of a few of the lakes here in the hills.
We got into Keystone with enough time to find a place to stay and walk around the western style main street. We had dinner at the saloon in town. It was a fun experience with all the staff in 1890's clothes. Service was good and the bar-b-que buffalo mighty fine!
That night we went to Mount Rushmore NM and watched as the presidents were illuminated. Quite a site! Especially since we had not yet seen the monument in the daylight. The granet glowed in white showing the faces of U.S. presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln surrounded by the black of night. Unfortunately, our photos do not do justice to this sight. You'll have to visit.

The Black Hills

Cross Country Trip Thursday 1997
We decided to spend the day being a tourist through the Black Hills (RnRnow site with our pictures). Even spending the equivalent of two days, we didn't see and do anywhere near 'all' there is to see and do.
The day started with breakfast at 1880 Railhead Family Restaurant. We took ST 244 up to Mount Rushmore. They have been doing a lot of building in the area and now have have several visitor/information centers with a covered parking garage. A far cry from when they just had a parking lot and a trail to Gutxon Borglum's studio (the artists work area with the models).
While the consturction is starting to look more like the monuments in Washington DC (marble walls and concrete walks), it is well designed. The design provides wonderful views and educational opportunities while protecting the area from the two and a half million visitors this place gets every year. If it was left to paved and dirt walks, the place would look trashy. Congradulations to everyone involved!
The monument itself is majestic! Fourteen years of work for all to reverently enjoy.
We then left for the Crazy Horse Memorial by turning right on ST244 and south on the Black Hills Parkway (US385/US16). The Black Hills Parkway passes directly in front of the Crazy Horse Memorial, only 17 miles away. We spent a great deal more time here than expected, but it was worth it. Learning why the Indians choose Crazy Horse, hearing how the progress has been through the years, seeing the displays in the Indian Museum of North America, viewing Ziolkowski's (the artist) studio-home and other art works, watching demonstrations of traditional dance, eating lunch, looking at the model and monument, and picking a few rocks to take home from the monument (with permission), all takes time. While we had heard of this effort, we knew very little.
The project has been in progress for 50 years. The first 40 years roughed out the general form on the 600 foot mountain. In the last 10 years, the 9 story face has started to take shape.
The project includes the monument, the surrounding development and a foundation aimed at providing educational opportunities for Native Americans. The foundation goal is to develop a Native American college on the mounument grounds. While the college is a ways away, the foundation has already asssisted more than 1,000 Indian students with college scholarships and opened a Native American Education & Cultural Center on the grounds. This experience for my family was worth the trip!
With the proximity to Mount Rushmore, comparisons must be expected. The presidents have 6 story faces, little more than portraits(less than planned), are carved into the mountain, were government funded, were made primarily to attract tourists and work ended when the artist died and government funds ended. Crazy Horse has a 9 story face, will include the upper torso and horse, is being carved "in the round" like a statue, are privately funded through donations and fees, and has a long term beneficial goal to society. The work also continues, directed by Ruth Ziolkowski and the Ziolkowski family, even after Korczak Ziolkowski died in 1982.
We ran out of time, since we had a train to catch. Hopefully we will make another trip to the monument to see the head finished.
Running low on gas, we decided to continue to Custer even though we needed to get back to Keystone to ride the last round trip of the 1880 train for the day. We had to drop the idea of visiting Jewel Cave National Monument, the National Museum of Woodcarving, the Mamoth site, Wind Cave National Park and Hot Springs.
For the return trip to Keystone, we took US16A east through Custer State Park and over the Iron Mountain Road. Custer State Park has a lot of unique rock formations, but is better known as a wildlife refuge. They have nearly 1,600 buffalo roaming free (the picture above is from this park), wild burros, Rocky Mountian Bighorn Sheep and a lot of prairie dogs. This leg of the trip included waiting for the buffalo(twice) and burros(once) to move off of the road. Going down the Iron Mountain Road into Keystone, the road goes over several pigtail bridges where you cross under the bridge you just went over. It also passes through three tunnels, the last of which aimes directly at Mount Rushmore. The opening basically frames Mount Rushmore, so watch out for people standing in the road taking pictures!
Needless to say, we missed the train in Keystone, so we drove to Hill City to catch the last round trip from there. As it turned out, this gave us time to look through the 1880 train gift shop, see Hill City and take a few pictures of the train arriving. After the train ride, we returned to Keystone for a swim, dinner and the night.

The Badlands

Cross Country Trip Friday 1997
Time to start the long haul home. Before breakfast, we left Keystone on US 16A and then US16 into Rapid City. As we reached the edge of the Black Hills and decended into the plains, we could see storm clouds to the South and in front of us.
We moved along I90 east watching the storm clouds moving in. Our next destination was Wall, South Dakota where a pharmasist was able to keep his drug store open during the depression by giving away water! Wall and Wall Drug are now a major attraction. Just like Ruby Falls (Tennessee) and South of the Boarder (Carolinas), you see Wall Drug signs all over.
When you enter Wall Drug, remember to pick up a map (you need it for this store). We had breakfast and then toured the new back section where they have a lot of pictures taken through the years. They also have an animated dinosaur which initially scared the girls. We drank the water, played on some of their attractions, let the girls stretch their car legs, and bought a few things before getting back in the car. Next, a drive through the Badlands(RnRnow site with our pictures) or Badlands National Park (NPS site). We followed the rain through the badlands, so the ground was wet whenever we stopped. Not bad for us, but a real mess for those soles on motorcycles. We passed by Interior and came out at Catus Flat and went back onto Interstate 90 heading east.
Following I90 across South Dakota, we passed Kadoka, Belvidere, and Murdo before we had to change our watches. We then continued by Vivian, Presho, Kennebec and decended into Chamberlain and Oacoma to cross the Missouri River. We enjoyed the green trees after the dry plains, stopped to eat lunch and then continued on I90 east past Kimball and Plankinton. When we reached Mitchell, both girls were asleep, so we didn't stop. Mitchell is home to the Corn Palace, the Worlds Largest Balloon and Airship Museum and the Enchanted Doll Museum (among other attractions). Again, something for the next time through.
Before reaching Sioux Falls, we stopped at a tourist information station to get directions to a great new Mexican Restaurant which just opened in Sioux Falls -- Inca Restaurant at 3312 South Holly Ave. They have other resturants in Washington State, and we wanted to visit this one. It was easy to find. Just take I29 South to exit 77, take 41st east across the river and look for South Holly Avenue on the left. We got there about 4:30 and a good thing since we didn't have reservations. This place has become one of THE places to eat in Sioux Falls. We were just going to have a snack, but decided on dinner. Best Mexican food I have had since moving east (15+ years?). Great service and the kids had fun with the owners. Good Luck guys!
We left South Dakota and entered Minnesota on I90 heading east.
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Interstate 29 from North Dakota

Interstate 90 from Wyoming

Interstate 90 from Minnesota

Interstate 29 from Iowa

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Badlands NP
Jewel Cave NM
Missouri River NRA
Mount Rushmore NM
Wind Cave NP
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South Dakota Department of Tourism - State Tourist Information Site
Calendar of events.
"a city that began with the coming of the railroads, flourished into a strong agricultural economy, and has diversified into a manufacturing and service center. It's a city where midwestern friendliness and hospitality combine with metropolitan progressiveness. Aberdeen is a community where the quality of life is exceptional - an its residents are willing to share. "
What's your pleasure? Biking, boating canoeing, camping, cross-country skiing, fair-or festival-going, fishing, golfing, hiking, horseshoe pitching, hunting, ice skating (indoors and out), in-line skating, jogging, picnicking, rodeo, snowmobiling, sunning, swimming, tennis, water-skiing, water-sliding or walking: ABERDEEN has them all"
No calendar of events.
RnRnow Aberdeen from Interstate 29.
Aberdeen RnRnow Destination Page.
Black Hills
Calendar of events.
Black Hills RnRnow Destination Area
Chamberlain on I-90
Chamberlain RnRnow Destination Page.
Crazy Horse
"The Crazy Horse mountain carving now in progress will be the world’s largest sculpture (563' high, 641' long, carved in the round). It is the focal point of an educational and cultural memorial to and for the North American Indian.
The memorial is not a federal or state project. It is a non-profit (501-c-3) project begun in 1947, when sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski (1908-1982) arrived in the Black Hills to accept the invitation of Lakota chiefs to carve Crazy Horse. The project is being continued by Korczak’s wife, Ruth, and their large family. "
Crazy Horse RnRnow Destination
Make Custer your vacation headquarters. It’s just minutes away from Mount Rushmore, Wind Cave National Park and Jewel Cave National Monument. Witness the carving of Crazy Horse Mountain. Wind your way down Needles Highway, Iron Mountain Road, and the Wildlife Loop Road in nearby Custer State Park. See one of the world’s largest free-roaming herds of buffalo. "
Custer RnRnow Destination
"Make your first stop in Deadwood at our History & Information Center which is located in the old train depot on Highway 14A between Deadwood Street and Pine Street. "
Calendar of events through their homepage.
Deadwood RnRnow Destination
"De Smet is the “Little Town on the Prairie” - made famous by author Laura Ingalls Wilder. Visit the original Surveyor’s House, the Ingalls Home, and 16 other sites mentioned in Laura’s books. "
RnRnow De Smet -- From Interstate 29.
DeSmet RnRnow Destination Page.
Fort Pierre
Fort Pierre from I-90
Fort Pierre RnRnow Destination Page.
RnRnow Garretson -- From Interstate 90.
Hill City
Hill City RnRnow Destination
Hot Springs
"The naturally warm mineral waters of Hot Springs have soothed away worries and aches for centuries. Established in the late 1880s, Hot Springs has thrived as a tourist attraction and health resort.
Today, Hot Springs still enjoys a historic flavor. A walking tour showcases the magnificient buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Districts.
Visit the Mammoth Site and see the world’s largest concentration of Ice Age mammoth fossils. Tour Wind Cave National Park and see one of the world’s longest caves.
With an abundance of rivers, lakes and streams, enjoy swimming, fishing and boating. Swim in the naturally warm waters of Evans Plunge, complete with waterslides, kiddie pools and a health club.
Golf at the award-winning nine-hole golf course. See wild horses at the Wild Horse Sanctuary."
Angostura State Park.
RnRnow Hot Springs -- From Interstate 90.
Interior to the Badlands National Park.
Interior RnRnow Destination
"Gateway to the Badlands
Kadoka (Ka·dough·ka), a Sioux word meaning “hole in the wall.” Kadoka is only 20 miles east of Badlands National Park and five miles north of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Enjoy the same hospitality as the cast and crew of “Thunderheart” did in 1991. Located on I-90."
RnRnow Kadoka -- From Interstate 90.
Kadoka RnRnow Destination Page.
"The Home of Mount Rushmore
We have seven major attractions, more than 600 hotel rooms and campsites, and more than 60 gift shops to choose from. A true shopper’s paradise! The national forest surrounding Keystone has wonderful hiking trails just waiting for you. "
RnRnow Keystone -- under construction.
" Madison is located in Lake County, which was named for the beautiful lakes that border our city. These lakes and the surrounding area provide wonderful recreational opportunities in both summer and winter."
No calendar of events.
RnRnow Madison -- From Interstate 29.
"Mitchell is a great place to visit as well as live! It's a place where beautiful sunrises and sunsets are enjoyed often (we can see them here, there are no skyscrapers), greetings of "Hello, how are you" meet you as you walk down the street, your commute to work is no more than 10 minutes (max!), and life centers around family, community and service. "
Festivals and Special Events.
RnRnow Mitchell -- From Interstate 90.
Mitchell RnRnow Destination Page.
Part of the dry plains you see in westerns.
RnRnow Murdo -- From Interstate 90.
Murdo RnRnow Destination Page.
Down by the river side.
RnRnow Oacoma -- From Interstate 90.
RnRnow Philip -- From Interstate 90.
"Pierre, South Dakota’s capital and the “10th Best Small Town In America,” offers fun for the entire family. Whether you’re into water sports on the Missouri River, engineering feats like the Oahe Dam, or following the trail of Lewis and Clark, you’ll find it all in the Capital City."
Calendar of events.
RnRnow Pierre -- From Interstate 90.
Pierre RnRnow Destination Page.
Rapid City
The tourist hotspot heading into the Black Hills. Provides the fastest access to Mount Rushmore via US16.
RnRnow Rapid City -- From Interstate 90.
Rapid City RnRnow Destination Page.
Sioux Falls
"Gateway to the Plains"
Calendar of events.
RnRnow Sioux Falls on I-90
RnRnow Sioux Falls on I-29
Sioux Falls RnRnow Destination Page.
Close to the geographical center of the United States and a good jumping off point into the Black Hills.
RnRnow Spearfish -- From Interstate 90.
Spearfish RnRnow Destination Page.
Another quick access to the Black Hills and the Deadwood/Lead area. Also close to Bear Butte State Park.
RnRnow Sturgis -- From Interstate 90.
Sturgis RnRnow Destination Page.
The "water" town. Visiting the drug store is a must (and takes a while).
RnRnow Wall -- From Interstate 90.
Wall RnRnow Destination Page.
RnRnow Watertown -- From Interstate 29.
Watertown RnRnow Destination Page.
RnRnow Yankton -- From Interstate 29.
Yankton RnRnow Destination Page.
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This page produced by Corey Leonhard, Ph.D.
© 1997 - 2000, all rights reserved.