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Old 07-01-2009, 12:30 PM   #15
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Howie's right about the parking lot at Mt. Rushmore. It's privately owned and cost $8 for a car when we were there a couple of years ago. There's hardly any free parking nearby and it's a long walk to the monument from any free parking. We saw a few free spaces downhill from the monument entrance. There's no admission fee to the park, but they get you at the parking lot. A Golden Age pass is worthless at Mt. Rushmore. The carving in the mountain is an amazing feat, but to me it was worth very little time compared to the natural beauty of the forest and the mountains.

There are some nice drives in the national forest off the main highways, but they are narrow, curvy and probably no fun with a trailer. In the midst of the forest is the Crazy Horse memorial—they've been working on that for decades. They've finished his head and I think they're working on the horse. I don't think it'll be finished in my lifetime. When done, it'll dwarf Mt. Rushmore in size.

Deadwood is marginally interesting, but very commercialized. It does not look like the Deadwood from the HBO series. We have visited only because Barb's best friend from school days lives there. Sturgis is nothing at all when the bikers aren't there. A few miles from Sturgis is a small VA hospital at an old army base with a small museum. My wife worked there in the early '70's in the lab—in fact, she was the lab, I think. Up hill and west of Deadwood is Lead (pronounced "Leed") where the Homestake mine was—a massive gold mining operation for a century, now closed. There may be tours. You can see just off the highway the massive open pit left by the mine. Spearfish is just north of the Black Hills and is a pleasant little town. There's a very scenic drive south from Spearfish to just west of Lead. The Black Hills are worth visiting as a mountainous oasis in the midst of flatlands. After driving for many hours across the prairie of the Dakotas or Wyoming or Montana, the Black Hills seem out of place as if they wandered east from the Rockies.

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Old 07-01-2009, 12:36 PM   #16
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The only campground I am familiar with is in the Badlands.
Welcome to the Badlands Budgethost Motel and Campground
It would be a good place to stay while on your way to the Mount Rushmore.
The Badlands loop road in a nice very scenic road - well worth your time. Easily traveled with trailer but may be nicer to tour with just the tow vehicle as there are a lot of scenic turnouts.
If going towards Rapid City from the town of Interior use Hwy 44. It is another lightly traveled and scenic nice road. Definitely see Custer State Park - nice drive but do not take your trailer as there are a few tunnels.
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Old 07-01-2009, 02:54 PM   #17
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The drive through Spearfish Canyon is one of my all time favorite drives.


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Old 07-01-2009, 03:21 PM   #18
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Has anyone stayed there? it looks like a pretty good place. Somehow I think someone reccommended it but now i forget. Looking to fit a 27FB and neededing water and electric. Sewer great but dump ok. Anyone? thanks
Rafter J Bar: We stayed here when we visited the area in the summer of '06. Heartily recommend it! It is close to Rushmore, Wind Cave, Crazy Horse, Custer State Park, and it is close enough for day trips to the Badlands and Devils Tower. Hill City is a nice little town a few miles away.

Custer State Park was an unexpected GEM! The Needles Highway....awesome overlooks...Lake Sylvan is beautiful. Spearfish Canyon is nice, but it not near as scenic as the Needles Highway.
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Old 07-01-2009, 03:37 PM   #19
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Custer State Park is the place I couldn't remember the name of for touring—without a trailer. Spearfish Canyon is the road south from Spearfish. Now maybe someone will mention a good restaurant we ate at in Spearfish. It was about a block west of the main street. It's so nice to have a memory.

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Old 07-01-2009, 04:25 PM   #20
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Let me see, restaurants in Spearfish, 7 Grill & Soup Shack, Roma's Ristorante, Sanford's Grup & Pub, The Bay Leaf Cafe, Spearfish Chop House & Whiskey Bar, Shoot the Bull Steakhouse.... The list goes on. If you want more let me know and I'll drive down the street again.

By the way, give me a call if you want to talk about places in the Black Hills. (605) 641-7126

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Old 07-01-2009, 04:27 PM   #21
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Spearfish Canyon is one of our favorite drives as well and whenever we get in Black Hills Country, we make sure to plan for Spearfish. One recent year the area was in drought and the burbling Spearfish Creek was silent-sad. I look forward to a next time, more dancing water and high rock walls. It's funny how we have "favorites" or "dates" all over the country, places we have to revisit, like a favorite book. Another for us is the National Wildlife Museum outside of Jackson, WY. Built into the hillside, it resembles nothing so much as a natural rock outcropping, and inside is an insanely wonderful series of Gallery rooms. We never tire of revisiting this place. We'll drive across half of Wyoming whenever we get there again for a "lunch date" at the Wildlife Museum, feasting outdoors on delicious lunch sandwiches with icey tea, overlooking the river valley and elk preserve. Priceless. We hope many of you enjoy these treasures this summer. ~G
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Old 07-01-2009, 05:23 PM   #22
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I think it was the Bay Leaf Cafe we went to for lunch on two different trips. I have to admit on the 2nd trip my in-laws were a bit confused by all the healthy food.

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Old 07-03-2009, 11:57 PM   #23
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wow awesome ideas and insights. we booked a lengthy stay at rafter j bar. web site looks good. seems like a top notch place and a local friend reccomended it so glad to see it turn up here too. So many ideas listed as well. That will be awesome we hope to fill 10 days or so in the area. I'll want to hit devils tower. Though maybe a day trip. So anxious to go for a while and in the new rig and tv. So much more room than the bambi. Tho I'll miss her. Thanks everyone. Will be keeping my eyes peeled for other airstreams along the way. Can t wait.
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Old 07-04-2009, 12:00 AM   #24
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yah know...such great ideas, was wondering about worthy stops along the way. Like we plan to stay over at the mitchell koa, hit the corn palace. Should we plan on wall drug? any other worthy stops with a trailer in tow along I-90?
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Old 07-04-2009, 01:47 AM   #25
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In Mitchell the city campground at Lake Mitchell is a very nice well run campground. In the Black Hills area Pactola Lake campground west of Rapid City is nice. We camped there every year for ten years during the rally. Adios, John
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Old 07-09-2009, 02:56 PM   #26
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from rushmore on to yellowstone

If we were to go from the black hills on to yellowstone. Is it a mountainous trip for trailer hauling? Not sure Im up for that just yet as I get the hang on our 28 footer. Has anyone made the trip and can pass along the best route? Thanks
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Old 07-09-2009, 03:04 PM   #27
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If we were to go from the black hills on to yellowstone. Is it a mountainous trip for trailer hauling? Not sure Im up for that just yet as I get the hang on our 28 footer. Has anyone made the trip and can pass along the best route? Thanks
I don't have my atlas handy but the terrain should be pretty gentle. Consider a stop at Devil's Tower on the way. There is one good pull in Yellowstone but otherwise no major climbs. Lots of turns and hills though.
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