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Road Trip Plans - Eastern Montana to Kentucky through SD and NE and KS

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Hello,

My wife and I are driving from Eastern Montana to Kentucky in July and are planning on taking a route through South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas as we've not been that way. Plan to get to Mt. Rushmore (see it late afternoon/evening), spend the night in Rapid City or somewhere nearby and head to the Badlands the next morning. Am guessing we should plan on spending a full day in the Badlands park and staying somewhere near there that night (the lodge is booked). After leaving there, would prefer to stay off of the interstates for awhile and someone had recommended going down through Murdo, SD, Valentine, NE, and North Platte, NE as a nicer drive on the way toward Kansas City and St. Louis.

I guess my general request is for any suggestions from those of you more familiar with SD, NE, and KS for routes to take, places to see or stay. I know many folks want to get through those states as quickly as possible, but we don't mind drives through rural parts and really just want to see some of the heartland as it is for a few days.

Thanks!

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