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

 
 
Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Jan, 2005 10:45 am
Thank you, Husker. We're not into caving, really. We were last in a cave in Spain and... well, it was scary. There are some members of the group who seem to like 'em though. I don't know why. We also won't be there during the biker days which are in August. Do you know if there are rattlesnakes? Or scorpions?

I wish we'd be camping, I love to do that but we'll be flying first and then driving. Hard to haul the old Coleman through security. There is an RV place near Little Big Horn N.M. that has a couple of rooms in a "bunk house." (I think it is a double-wide) where we might spend one night. I asked Mr.P about renting an RV but we had a bad experience once doing that (the behemoth quit working right) so that's a no-go. We'll be staying in the comfort of motels and lodges.
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mckenzie
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Jan, 2005 12:51 pm
Piffka, on our summer driving vacations we used drive through the Dakotas at night, too. Leave in the evening and reach Kansas City sometime in the next afternoon. Straight down I-29. In the wintertime, we don't do that, so we get to see every snow-covered mile of farmland.

The only one of the 4 lodges mentioned in the AAA book is State Game Lodge, which has 3 diamonds. Located on US 16, in a rustic setting. 47 units, a 15-day cancellation notice. Pheasant Dining Room. Fishing, recreation programs, bicycles, hiking trails, playground, gift shop and coin laundry.

The Pheasant Dining Room has 2 diamonds. (None of the other restaurant listings have any more than 2 diamonds.) "Understated elegance". Breakfast, lunch and dinner. New Western cuisine, featuring regional specialties such as pan-fried rainbow trout, buffalo and wild game. (Mr. mck would be in heaven!)

Access to the Mount Rushmore Memorial itself is free. There is an "annual" parking fee of $8 per vehicle, though there is limited free parking available.
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makemeshiver33
 
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Reply Sat 8 Jan, 2005 01:39 pm
Piffka

Last Summer my family and I went on the South Dakato and Wyoming trek...ended up going into Gardiner, Montana. I'm in love with those places and would give anything to live there.

The tour loop through the blackhills is breathtaking!! Unfortnately for me, my kids didn't understand the gravity idea..lol We went through Custer and its a quaint lil town..I would love to go back there and stay.

East of there, there is a town called Murdo. Its the home of 1880's town. Its loaded with Original buildings from that period, a musuem or two within it, shop...shows, a saloon...that serves rootbeer. Its kid friendly. The buildings and pieces throughout were used for the movie, Dances with Wolves. Loaded with photo opps. there too.

Somewhere around Rapid City is a place called Bear Country. Take my advice and skip it. ITs a rip off to the max. Its a drive through to see bears and wolves etc. Its not worth the 35.00 to see what you do get to see.

Mt.Rushmore and Crazy Horse are great to visit. But of course, everyone knows that. What was amazing was the different nationalities that were represented in one spot. You'd be amazed to see how many people are there.

If you go into Wyoming...you HAVE to go through the Big Horn Mountain Range...and Powder River pass. Its absolutely BEAUTIFUL!! Of course...its south of Sheridan and Hy 16.

I would suggest to go to the South Dakato state website and get a visitors guide sent to you. I done that before we took off for each state we were going through, to make sure we didn't miss anything. But the West end of South Dakato is well worth the trip.
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makemeshiver33
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Jan, 2005 01:44 pm
In South Dakato Piffka...just remember that gas stations are far ...far far apart. That was the only thing I worried about the most, other than my boys and thier intentions of defying gravity..lol
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Jan, 2005 02:35 pm
Thanks, McK. I have made a bunch of reservations at Custer State Park for the family at Blue Bell Resort, Sylvan Lake and State Game Lodge. They have an interesting way of handling family reunions. I didn't give them any credit card information. Instead, I snagged a bunch of the available cabins and rooms and we have a couple of months to get it straightened out. No wonder they didn't have a lot of places availalbe if everybody does that. And how would they not? At least with this family, scattered as it is, it is like herding cats to get everyone going the same direction. Very Happy

Thanks a lot for the information about Mt. Rushmore. I'm sure we'll all go there... and to Crazy Horse, too. I am hoping to spend a lot of time sitting in the shade, catching up with the fam.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Jan, 2005 02:44 pm
Makes Me Shiver -- Thanks loads, lady! I'm so glad that you've made that trip and can tell me about it. I really appreciate hearing about the good, the bad, and the ugly. I knew there were some places that are just tourist traps... who needs those?

I wonder, do you remember going through Custer State Park? It is supposed to be the second largest state park in the country (Where is the largest, I wonder?) and seems geared up for long-term guests. We'll see how it goes.

I don't know if we'll get so far into Wyoming as south of Sheridan but I'll see what we can do. Wink We do plan to see the LITTLE Big Horn... does that count?

Your worrying about the boys defying gravity reminded me of being at the Grand Canyon with several kids, some of them husbands. I was scared to death one of them would go tumbling all the way down. I'm not so good with heights, I think it is because I have such a vivid imagination. In fact, once when we were going down one of the trails into the canyon, I had to turn around and go back. I started skittering on the loose gravel and scared myself silly.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Jan, 2005 10:06 pm
After thinking (and fretting) about all that driving, I dropped the plan of flying to Billings, MT and driving 350 miles to Custer, SD... so, that means we won't be seeing Little Big Horn. Sad

Instead, we'll fly direct to Rapid City, SD. Luckily, I found a great internet deal and it only cost $12 more than the flight to Billings. Very Happy
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JPB
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Jan, 2005 09:14 am
Many years ago we did a 5 day driving trip from Chicago to Sandpoint, Idaho with a 15 month old. Day 2 was S.D. We left western Iowa at 5:00 am and drove straight through to Wall arriving late in the afternoon. There really isn't much to see/do in eastern SD. Day 3 was Wall to Big Horn, WY with a side trip to Devil's Tower. Day 4 was Big Horn to Billings with lunch at Boseman - nice town. Day 5 was Billings to Sandpoint. On the return we came through Glacier and took a different route through Montana, eventually retracing our steps once we hit Big Horn.

It was a great trip but I would just as soon have been able to skip most of eastern SD.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Jan, 2005 04:23 pm
Thanks, JB.
That sounds like a fast-moving trip. Did you like Sandpoint? How about Devil's Tower?

We will be giving eastern SD a miss, though I saw a nice looking park that I wouldn't mind exploring there.

Palisades State Park
http://www.sdgfp.info/parks/regions/Heartland/images/Palisades.jpg

Mr.P says that when he was growing up in Minneapolis, the Black Hills were considered a very cool place to see, the next best thing to Disneyland. Very Happy
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JPB
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Jan, 2005 04:58 pm
The reason the Black Hills were so cool is that by the time you got there you were bored to tears from the long drive across the high plains. Never saw so much brown grass in my life! Just kidding, there are probably tons of things to do there but getting there from Minnesota would have been a long ride for kids.

We did enjoy Devil's Tower and we actually were staying at Lake Pend Oreille, just outside of Sandpoint. The lake was beautiful and so were the hikes in the surrounding mnts.

One of the highlights of the trip was the place we stayed in Big Horn. It was a B&B that had a separate homestead cabin that we booked for one night in each direction. We joined up with everyone at the main house for breakfast (I think they might have had a dinner option as well) but we had the cabin to ourselves which was to everyone's advantage because we were traveling with a baby. It had a Big Horn address but was pretty high up on the mountain outside of town. I could ask dh if he remembers the name of the place if you'd like.

Our trip was three weeks in duration. We spent 5 days traveling each way and took long lunch breaks in local parks so dd could get some running/play time in and we'd quite around 4:00 - 5:00 every day. The biggest issue we had was trying to get her to sleep in a different crib every night in the various places we stayed. She slept a lot in the car so she wasn't that tired at night but WE were.
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makemeshiver33
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Jan, 2005 07:42 pm
The only thing I found interesting about Eastern S.D was the old farm houses and barns. Umm, thats if your into that sorta thing. Some old picturesque homes.

But I'd skip it......

Western S.D...well, J'B's probably right. But still..its beautiful.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Jan, 2005 09:35 pm
Hi JB-- That sounds like a good trip, to me. I like having my car with me and filled with a bunch of familiar stuff. We vacationed a little at the southern part of Pend Oreille near St. Mary's... put our boat in the water and thought it was a great place. Have always meant to go back, but haven't.

Don't bother asking dh about the place in Big Horn. From what it sounds like now, we're going to spend our time lolling around Custer State Park... venturing as far as Mt. Rushmore and not much further. We don't even plan to go to Wall. Very Happy

And how old is the 15 month old now? We used to tour around with our babies... good grief, you need a lot of energy to do that!
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JPB
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Jan, 2005 10:10 pm
lol, she's 14 going on 40 most days going on 4 others.

I'm sure you'll enjoy you time at Custer. I didn't notice, what time of year are you going?
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jan, 2005 09:33 am
Fourteen? Probably not that age when she ever wants to go on a car trip with her parents again.

We're going in mid-June.

Custer S.P. has an odd arrangement where, if you tell them you're arranging for a group to come (reunion, wedding, etc.) then you can reserve a pile of cabins & rooms without a credit card... which I did. If you're just renting one cabin or one room, then you have to give them a pile of money and promises for more. Isn't that weird?

Now I'm waiting for the relatives to tell me which cabins they want and not one has gotten in touch with me yet. Stupidly, I told them they had until April when the reservations expire. Apparently they're going to wait 'til then unless I start a fire under their tails.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jan, 2005 09:46 am
Geez, MMShiver. My apologies! I sent a reply to you yesterday, I thought. Sorry it didn't post -- must have jumped out of a2k too fast and my computer is soooooo slow. I said something like... well, I like seeing old farm houses & ranches. Picturesque is where it's at!

But we won't be traveling very far... we're arriving at Rapid City which is west of Wall and staying in that Southwestern corner of the state -- Badlands, Black Hills, Custer S.P., Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse.

I'd like to go to Devil's Tower (I loved that movie... Close Encounters of a Third Kind.) Apparently the walk around it isn't much... just 1.3 miles and it is within driving distance. Still, we might be too darn lazy to go.

This is the part of SE Montana that I remember. You can practically hear all the birds singing.
http://nd.water.usgs.gov/lewisandclark/images/missouri_yellowstone_confluence_hills2.jpg
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JPB
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jan, 2005 11:03 am
Quote:
Fourteen? Probably not that age when she ever wants to go on a car trip with her parents again.


You've got that right! She and my 12 yo are both battling against dh's wishes to do a 'great western car trip' this summer. Can't imagine why!! :wink:

June should be beautiful. My favorite time of year. We enjoyed Devil's Tower. I think it's worth a day trip if you've got the time.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jan, 2005 12:26 pm
Well, the Great Western Car Trip with recalcitrant teens can be trouble. Too bad, as it seems like those days of family vacations go by so fast. I've heard that inviting friends to come along is a good pacifier, but we've never done it. (Not enough room, not enough patience.) You could get them to help choose sites, and promise that if you find an open field, they can practice driving the car. That worked once for us. Could you send them to a summer camp and then drive over to pick them up?

Good luck with your plans. I'd be interested in hearing how it goes.
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mckenzie
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jan, 2005 08:01 pm
Piffka, with all the signs one sees for Wall, you'd think it was really something ... instead of a ramshackle oasis in the desert (or fields) You'd be wasting your time.
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mckenzie
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jan, 2005 08:13 pm
Well into their teens, my two enjoyed cross-country driving trips in the summer. They'd look forward to the drive, with their CD players, headphones and all their CDs. In their younger years, it was Walkmans and books on tape.

Once they began to have summer jobs, at 16/17, it was more important to them to earn money, so we stopped the month-long driving trips.

My daughter (turning 23) especially misses those days.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jan, 2005 12:37 am
Really, McKenzie? We must have been doing something wrong... actually, I think I wanted them to watch the landscape and sing with me. Very Happy Hmmm! maybe that's where I made my mistake.

Jobs sure get in the way of having a good time, don't they? It is so very hard to squeeze in a nice long vacation.

I've been warned off of Walls. Clever idea they had, but I'm not into kitsch... though I do love a good decal.
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