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Badlands, Mt. Rushmore Trip -- Help!!!

 
 
Piffka
 
Reply Wed 5 Jan, 2005 12:37 pm
Can anybody who has traveled to South Dakota (or knows somebody who traveled there) give me any advice about where to stay, what to do, what to avoid.

Also are there rattlesnakes? Grizzly Bears? Scorpions? Tarantulas? Other scary beasts?

We're having a mini-family reunion there this June. Somehow *I* am supposed to be finding a good place to stay. I'm looking at Custer State Park...
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 3,668 • Replies: 39
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Jan, 2005 05:20 pm
What? Nobody??? Don't be shy... I'd be glad to hear anything!

I have settled, I think, on flying to Billings, Montana, and driving a rental car to the Badlands as it is loads cheaper. That means we'd drive through the Crow and Cheyenne Reservations and probably stay there one or two nights. Has anyone driven that part of Highway 212?
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Jan, 2005 02:02 pm
Omigosh. Nobody has been to southeastern Montana or southwestern South Dakota? What about northeastern Wyoming? Looks like we'll be seeing all of these. Some of the places include: Little Bighorn, Devil's Tower, Mt. Rushmore, the Black Hills and the Badlands.

The countryside shown on the web looks beautiful to me.

http://www.blackhillsbadlands.com/images/pictures/c1_siouxbadlands2.jpg

http://www.gwtc.net/~iram/images/landscape.jpg
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mckenzie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Jan, 2005 02:34 pm
Piffka, we visited the Black Hills, oh, probably 10 years ago. We stayed in Rapid City, as I recall. We toured all over, from Spearfish, in the north, down to Hot Springs and the Mammoth Site (really interesting) in the south. We saw Mt. Rushmore, toured all the caves open to the public, etc., etc. There are many sights to see, but getting to them means spending most of your time in the car. That's what I remember most, all that driving around! Are you only staying in the Black Hills for a night or two?
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mckenzie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Jan, 2005 02:46 pm
How about one of these for a place to stay?

VRBO - Black Hills
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mac11
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Jan, 2005 02:47 pm
I drove thru 20 years ago on my way from Denver to Sioux Falls SD. I didn't have a hotel reservation, and that was a mistake in the summer. It took a lot of stops to find a vacancy. Loads of tourists. But I couldn't go that close to Mt. Rushmore and not see it!
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Jan, 2005 05:57 pm
Thanks, McKenzie for answering my whine!

I will try to guard against us driving too much. Since Mr.P and I will be coming via Billings, we'll be adding 700 miles (round trip) on top of any other driving... and it will be in a rental car. Really, I'd be happy to stay near some swimming/fishing lake and just veg. out.

Thanks for finding the VRBO website for me. There are some neat places there (I liked the one that was inexpensive and almost inaccessible -- snowmobile in the winter or SUV in the summer). Can you imagine how quiet it must be? It would be great to get the entire group in one big place. It looks like we have at least six families coming -- so that's a minimum of eight bedrooms.

SD is not the first vacation site I would choose, but I've been pleased at what I've seen. (We chose it because we have some relatives who don't want to fly, so that place was a midpoint for us all.)

That mammoth site did look interesting. I'd also like to see Bear Butte (which Mr.P has been calling bare butt) and several of the National Monuments. We could even (if we squeezed it in) visit Devil's Tower.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Jan, 2005 05:58 pm
Should I say "squeezed" and "bare butte" in the same paragraph?
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Jan, 2005 06:09 pm
mac11 wrote:
I drove thru 20 years ago on my way from Denver to Sioux Falls SD. I didn't have a hotel reservation, and that was a mistake in the summer. It took a lot of stops to find a vacancy. Loads of tourists. But I couldn't go that close to Mt. Rushmore and not see it!


Thanks, Mac. I am worried about finding reservations... and even hotels. There don't seem to be too many. The west can be wild, wooly and barren, especially driving through large national forests and large reservations.

So, what did Mt. Rushmore look like? Was it bigger than you expected? Were you pleased that you saw it?

As you probably know, now there is a Crazy Horse monument being carved which also looks huge. Also bitterly cold... there's a webcam there, let's see if I can find it. Hmmm, the webcam seems out of focus, but here's the website:

Crazy Horse Memorial

http://www.crazyhorse.org/story/recentpix/blast-sm.gif
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mckenzie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Jan, 2005 08:14 pm
Piffka, other than the Black Hills, there really isn't much in South Dakota, scenery-wise, that's for sure. (As one who's criss-crossed that state many times on my way somewhere else I can attest to that. The Black Hills are worth seeing, but once was enough. You have to go west into Montana, Wyoming and your home state for the real scenery.

Say, maybe you can persuade those relatives to drive a little further to meet you in Glacier National Park. Billings is about midway between the Black Hills and Glacier. Now, that's some scenery!

If you stick to I-90, versus the state highway 212, it's about 325 miles versus around 280, and definitely more places to find coffee or a bite to eat. Here's a great site for driving distances:

Free Trip
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dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Jan, 2005 08:30 pm
driving (miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles)
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mckenzie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Jan, 2005 08:31 pm
I have the current AAA Tour Book for that area because we're heading south next month and I have to make some reservations. In the Black Hills area, there are 39 pages of hotel listings, so there's lots of choice.

You mentioned Custer. There are 13 AAA approved hotels, of which four have three diamonds. The rest all have less.

What chain do you like?
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mckenzie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Jan, 2005 08:32 pm
Don't forget the cornfields, Dyslexia, and Wall!
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mac11
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Jan, 2005 09:53 pm
Piffka wrote:
Thanks, Mac. I am worried about finding reservations... and even hotels. There don't seem to be too many. The west can be wild, wooly and barren, especially driving through large national forests and large reservations.

So, what did Mt. Rushmore look like? Was it bigger than you expected? Were you pleased that you saw it?

As you probably know, now there is a Crazy Horse monument being carved which also looks huge. Also bitterly cold... there's a webcam there, let's see if I can find it. Hmmm, the webcam seems out of focus, but here's the website:


Wow, cool little clip there and the website too!

Mt. Rushmore was even better than I expected. And huge. I can't imagine what it must have been like to create that out in the middle of nowhere. It's definitely worth the time and whatever they're charging these days to see it.
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husker
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Jan, 2005 10:05 pm
Do you like caving? I'd also just stick to the Blackhills area - don't go to buffalo jump to far off the interstate. And don't go there during biker days!!!
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husker
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Jan, 2005 10:14 pm
Forgot to tell you we did a KOA reunion in Billings - relative from Denver, Omaha, and NYC. We rented campler cabins and has one 5th whell trailer, they has a swimming pool and it was right along the missouri river which is much different than about 500-600 miles down river.
There is a nice KOA if you are the campout type outside RapidCityKOA they have other good info there also
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Jan, 2005 10:06 am
Thanks, McKenzie. You're scaring me!!!

There's no chance we can change the venue... people are coming from as far as Georgia, as well as Missouri, Minnesota and Illinois... plus Nevada and us in Washington. This really seemed like the best spot. (I know... it's hard to believe!)

We went to Glacier NP ten years ago and loved it. I would adore going back across the passes, and especially staying at East Glacier again or Many Glacier Lodge, but it is not to be.

I know I've been through "one" of the Dakotas because we've driven between Seattle and Minneapolis several times. Seems like it was always at night, though. I used to grump about how big Montana was... Very Happy.... took an entire day to get across.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Jan, 2005 10:33 am
We don't like hotel chains so much, though we've often stayed at Marriott's, but we've stayed at Red Roofs, too. We're thinking we'll be staying at one of the four lodges in Custer State Park. So far, everyone seems to like Sylvan Lake Lodge, except me... I like Blue Bell... would you mind checking to see if AAA mentions these?

Custer State Park Resorts

Blue Bell Lodge
http://www.custerresorts.com/images/lodges/4_bluebelllodge.jpg

Sylvan Lake Lodge
http://www.custerresorts.com/images/lodges/4_sylvanexterior.jpg
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Jan, 2005 10:36 am
Dyslexia... miles and miles of driving? Isn't that what family reunions are all about?

I don't mind driving so much if the scenery is interesting and there isn't much traffic. For me, almost any scenery is interesting, too. I loved the high desert in eastern Oregon. Miles & miles of nothing. (What I didn't love was there were no rooms in the inn anywhere.)

Aren't you and Lady Diane headed out for a long drive soon?
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Jan, 2005 10:39 am
Hi Mac.... thanks, I hoped you'd enjoy that Crazy Horse explosion!

Errr... they charge to see Mt. Rushmore? Well, if you say it is worth it, we'll go. I love it when you go to someplace you've heard of all your life and it turns out to be much more spectacular than you can imagine. For example, the Grand Canyon nearly knocked my socks off. As a bored teenager said when he saw it, sitting up for the first time and being impressed, "What the hell happened here???"
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