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Old 02-25-2014, 09:41 PM   #15
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Ton of cool stuff once you get there as noted in some previous posts, and there can be a lot of cool stuff along the way; just depends on how much time you have.

Two years ago we left the Badlands heading back to the southeast, and I remember driving for hours and hours across SD looking for a campground or place to stay. If I remember correctly, we ended up in a small town with a hotel, and I almost think we got a room for the night. Suffice it to say that going from one side of SD to the other (either direction) there are not a lot of, well, anything!

If you are up that way, you are pretty close to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, so something to think about. Here are a few pics from our travels.
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Old 02-25-2014, 09:46 PM   #16
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Photo taken from our campsite in Wind Cave National Park in 2006.
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Old 02-25-2014, 09:50 PM   #17
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Someone else mentioned Jewel Cave NP. Given that I am claustrophobic, I was content to visit the visitor center, but Jewel Caves run for MILES - it is really interesting, and even if you do not go into the caves there is some fabulous info in the visitor center.

At the entrance to the visitor center, they tell you that if you are comfortable climbing through that concrete piece you see in the picture, then you will be good in some parts of the caves. Needless to say, I did not go into the caves. Climbing through that concrete thing gave me the chills alone.
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Old 02-27-2014, 07:52 AM   #18
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We have done the area many times on my motorcycle - yes Bike Week, before and after. In addition to what has been posted I would recommend the KOA at Devils Tower, nice place and the Tower is right there by the campground, pretty stream runs by the campground too, Belle Fouche River if I remember correctly. We will be in the area in May and maybe June as well, our destination this trip is Kanab Utah - Best Friends Animal Society for two weeks. Have a great trip, also someone mentioned RT 385, fantastic road.
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Old 02-27-2014, 09:09 AM   #19
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As a native of the area a few recommendations:

- there is more to Wall Drug than the he prolific signs. Get your free ice water and an ice cream and look at the collection of brands in the restaurant. From nearly every rancher in the area over the last 100 years. The Hole in the Wall bookstore has a lot of great local history.

- almost all of the state and national park and forest campgrounds are phenomenal in the Hills. Water and power availability varies, so fill up prior and they are great.

- if the weather doesn't cooperate, see the Mammoth site or take in the hot springs in the aptly named Hot Springs, or go to Deadwood, have a nice dinner, see Saloon #10, and take a tour of one of the gold mines. Yes, there is a huge open pit gold mine that can be toured as well.

- culturally, there is the Black Hills playhouse, the High Plains heritage museum in Spearfish, the passion play and all of Deadwood.

- Spearfish canyon is where the last scenes in Dances with Wolves were filmed and Bridal Veil Falls is stunning.

- of course you still need to see Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse monument, Needles Highway and Custer State Park. Wind Cave is one of the oldest National Parks in the US.

Best of luck.
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Old 02-27-2014, 11:15 AM   #20
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Thanks Matt, my mom was from Marysville, Ks. and have many relatives in Ks, Neb, SD. We hope to make a trip out that way this year to the Bad- lands and Black Hills then up to Antler Sask. so your info is much appreciated.
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Old 02-27-2014, 12:16 PM   #21
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Some of my good memories from years past include the Black Hills. I never vacationed there with the Airstream so can't comment on the RV parks, but we enjoyed tent camping in the Wind Cave area with our three kids. I think the campground was called Elk Mountain Campground. One of the great things about the Black Hills is the close proximity of major points of interest. We traveled on day trips to these places, then took a swim at Hot Springs prior to returning to the camp, clean and ready for bed.

I suggest coming into Nebraska on State Highway 2 at Nebraska City. Highway 2 runs diagonally across most of Nebraska. If you are interested in aircraft, before leaving the Lincoln area be sure to take time to visit the SAC museum at Ashland (SAC headquarters is only about 20 miles away). Mahoney State Park is adjacent to the museum and is a REALLY nice place to camp (about halfway between Lincoln and Omaha on Interstate 80). When you're finished at Mahoney, return to Hiway 2 at Grand Island and keep on it to Crawford and Fort Robinson State Park (a good RV park and rife with old west history). Highway 2 traverses the Nebraska sand hills, some of the most beautiful range land to be found anywhere. From Crawford its just a short hop via state highway 71 to the points of interest in the Black Hills.
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Old 02-27-2014, 12:50 PM   #22
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Upon further reflection, a couple of other points of interest depending on which way you are coming and what time of the summer:

- Unless you are bringing motorcycles and already have a reservation the motorcycle rally the first week of August and one week before and after will have absolutely NO availability, at all. Since the 50th in 1990, when it went from about 40K to 350K bikers in attendence, the area will be just packed.

- If you have little ones or are into paleontology, there are excellent exhibits in the Badlands and at the South Dakota School of Mines museums, not expansive, but good. The Mammoth Site in Hot Springs has dozens of mammoths on display.

- If you like beer, try the Firehouse Brewery in Rapid City, or even better, the Crow Peak Brewery in Spearfish.

- If you like hiking and cycling, or horseback riding, the George Mickelson trail system is extensive and amazing, and it will take you into the Hills farther, and away from most of the tourists.

- The Central States' Fair in Rapid City in the early summer hosts a PRCA rodeo, and Belle Fourche has another over July 4. Top notch cowboys from all over the US and Canada. Belle Fourche also has the best July 4 fireworks in the Black Hills that last 4-5 years. One of my close friends puts it on.

- If you are willing to drive about 1.5-2 hours you can also see Devil's Tower in Wyoming, Custer Battlefield in Montana, and nearly every point of interest from the Great Sioux War of 1876. Sheridan, Wyoming and the Big Horn Mountains are gorgeous and much more easily in reach, and less crowded than Yellowstone or the Grand Tetons if you feel like extending your trip.
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Old 02-27-2014, 01:19 PM   #23
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Black Hills

We are new to the AS life. But we are very much enjoying the wisdom shared on the forums.
The Hills are sort of in our back yard. Please don't overlook the night lighting ceremony at the faces. It is wonderful!
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Old 02-27-2014, 03:07 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HighPlainAS View Post
We are new to the AS life. But we are very much enjoying the wisdom shared on the forums.
The Hills are sort of in our back yard. Please don't overlook the night lighting ceremony at the faces. It is wonderful!
I can attest to that.

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Old 02-27-2014, 03:47 PM   #25
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And nobody spotted Rocky?
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Old 02-27-2014, 03:58 PM   #26
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This coming summer I will be visiting the area on my way to and from Yellowstone NP from Maine. My son is a real rock hound and I would love to take him to some mines that are open to the public. Does anyone have any recommendations for me?
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Old 03-23-2014, 07:39 PM   #27
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Reading the Woodall's guide and it indicates flares or reflective signs are required in SD (and some other states). Soo...the intent would be to set them out for visibility in case of a flat tire, for example?? Seems pretty obvious, but we don't have this law in TN, so thought I'd ask what you experienced SD travelers think.
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