Wednesday, July 31, 2013


July 30, 2013

Welcome to the Badlands National Park.  We arrived early in the morning and it was a pleasant 65 degrees.  We entered through the Pinnacles Entrance just 14 miles from Wall SD.  There is a loop road and we decided this will be our route for the day.

Sage Creek Basin Overlook Area

Roberts Prairie Dog Town Area

Yellow Mounds Overlook Area

Burns Basin Overlook Area

Mountain Goats

Fossil Exhibit Trail Area

 Fossil Trail
Castle Trail - look hard to see it.

Our favorite sign - because we were not pulling our fifth wheel.

Big Badlands Overlook Area


1) Stop by the Ben Reifel Visitor Center
2) Do not eat at the Cedar Pass Lodge restaurant.
3) No dogs on walkways or trails.  However, our dogs loved looking at the prairie dogs, goats and cows from the truck.  They were allowed out of the car in the parking lot of the visitor center.


July 29, 2013

I called my daughter and said "Guess where I'm going today?"  She had no idea why I would be excited about going to a drug store in Wall SD.  I realized the thrill of Wall Drug was lost to her generation.  I can remember seeing cars with bumper stickers wired to their bumper announcing they had been to Wall Drugs.  As far as I was concerned, it is a must if you were anywhere in South Dakota.

Wall Drugs takes up a city block.  It is a maze of shops, cafe, and museum.  You can purchase bandaids to cowboy boots .  There was a fudge shop, bookstore, toy store to name a few.  The cafe had roast beef dinner, bison burgers, home made pie and fresh made donuts.  Veterans can have a free cup of coffee and donut.  Each customer can have 2 bumper stickers.
Mrs Hustead wanted to attract more customers that were coming to the Badlands so she put signs up and down the highway offering free ice water.  This was the beginning of their successful marketing campaign.
The museum had pictures of local characters and artifacts.  There was also an arcade with a shooting gallery.  You could have pictures taken on a large Jackalope and a stagecoach.  We were able to kill a couple of hours walking around and checking everything out.

For a one horse town, this is a busy place...and it doesn't take much to entertain us.


We camped at Sleeply Hallow RV Park while visiting Wall Drug and the Badlands.  The park is very typical except for a couple of interesting facts:  1) Full hook up does not mean cable TV only specific sites have cable TV and if you want it, it is $2 extra.  2) RV reviews complain about train noise in the early morning.  We talked about it and decided this wasn't an issue for us.  When we got there, we realized the tent camping is closest to the train tracks and of course it would be loud for them.  3) They had an interesting policy regarding late check out - and hourly fee for every hour you are late checking out.

The good news - bathrooms are clean, a short walk to Wall Drugs and the best dog area ever.  I'd return just so Sydney and Louie could have a break from being on leash in the dog area.

Monday, July 29, 2013


July 27, 2013 - We took a little road trip through the Black Hills Area to check out a few of the towns.  I wanted to see Deadwood because I watched the TV show and Ray wanted to see Sturgis.  We headed north on 385 through more beautiful scenery of  trees, rock formations and beautiful lakes...and I thought all of South Dakota was going to be Badlands.

DEADWOOD - In the TV show it is a gold town with miners, gun slingers and shady characters.  In reality, it is a town that honors its past - good and bad.   We arrive during 76 Days.  Our timing was pretty good because the parade had just ended.  We skirted around the main street and ended up at the cemetery.  Its the first cemetery that I have ever seen that charges to walk through it.  Since we didn't know who was there, we passed.

We walked down the main street and I thought I was in a town in Nevada.  Meaning the street was full of casinos -- shady looking casinos.

Many of the older buildings have been restored and there is a walking tour explaining their heritage.  Several of them were owned by Jewish business owners serving the men working in the gold mines.

There are several tourist buses in town and they were packed full of people.  Also there is a city trolley that only charges a $1 per ride.

We found this cute coffee/ice cream shop for our lunch.  We sat outside with dogs and were lucky enough to enjoy country western music next door in the bar.

While having lunch we saw this group heading to the rodeo...wait the rodeo is in the opposite direction.

A cornerstone of the main street is this hotel.   Our final treat was this community band playing in front of a casino across the street from the hotel.  Deadwood is an unusual town.  It has around 1500 residents but on this day it felt like 15,000.


Well, here we are in Sturgis.  I was prepared to see thousands of bikes, naked women, and all sorts of stuff.  We were a week too early!  We knew that.  But we had seen plenty of motorcycles on the roads around Sturgis and expected to see more activity.  In reality, this town is pretty quiet compared to Deadwood.

Evidently - Ray thought this might be in his future.

So many choices - Loud American Roadhouse or McDonalds.


Of course we couldn't just turn around and return to our campground on the same road we came in on so we took the road less traveled to Nemo SD in hopes of seeing more wildlife.  We did see more bikes and a bride walking to the church.  I loved it!


The Black Hill area is busy this time of year and we were lucky to find a spot.  This campground is near the turn off to Mt Rushmore which makes it very convenient.  The spaces are close together but most folks are out and about in their cars/bikes/etc.  The wifi didn't work and put this blogger behind schedule.  One the other side it did have a breakfast barn and I had all you could eat pancakes for $3.11.

The Harley Davidson cargo trailer was from Kentucky.  It had a kitchen and bed in the trailer.

If you didn't bring your trailer, you could rent a cabin or a motel room.

Most campsites had some sort of a bike.