Black Hills or Bust?

Old May 28th, 2010, 06:31 AM
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Black Hills or Bust?

I am visiting my family in SW Minnesota this week & am thinking of taking a solo car trip across South Dakota to finally see Mt. Rushmore up close & personal. Unfortunately, I will only have a couple of days to spend in the area.

In the past my relatives/friends have said it is not worth the drive, but I know I have sure enjoyed the beauty of the "Black" Forest, so why not the "Black" Hills....

Thoughts anyone?
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Old May 28th, 2010, 10:39 AM
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Well?
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Old May 28th, 2010, 01:01 PM
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Just a personal view, but I would drive from SW MN to see Mt. Rushmore...en route the Badlands Nat. Park makes an interesting sidetrip. I found Jewel Cave Nat. Mon. to be worth a visit and also enjoyed a side trip to the touristy Deadwood. If you are going across on i-90, there is also the Minuteman Missile Nat. Historic Site about the ICBMs that were (and still are) housed in Montana and the Dakotas.
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Old May 28th, 2010, 01:08 PM
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Go for it! The Black Hills are quite scenic, almost surprisingly so, in my opinion. Mt. Rushmore is worth a visit...one of those places everyone should see once. Custer State Park is right there and it too is pretty--they have buffalo! Rapid City itself is pretty "touristy" so be forewarned, but I think the State Park has lodging so you might consider it Wind Cave is in the vicinity as well...have never been due to time constraints, but it would be another possibility. Crazy Horse Monument (in progress) is apparently pretty impressive, though it's been years since I've seen it.
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Old May 28th, 2010, 01:35 PM
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Well, don't forget to stop at Wall Drugs. That alone is worth the trip. You will never forget it! It's way better than "South of the Border."

http://www.walldrug.com/
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Old May 28th, 2010, 05:12 PM
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Thanks so very much for your enthusiastic replies! I have pretty much decided to head west on I-90 from Sioux Falls to brand new territory for me after all these years....saw bunches of Wall Drug signs growing up so Orcas, guess I will stop
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Old Jun 13th, 2010, 08:59 AM
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After the H.S. graduation celebration of a grand nephew I did make the solo trip from southwest MN to the Black Hills & had a splendid time staying in non-chain motels that kept prices to about $50/night. No Dairy Queen franchises where I live so I dined at those or visited grocery stores.

With 75 mph speedlimit on I-90 I really sped along nicely with excellent manned reststops to break up the trip. One of the prettier ones was at Chamberlain that overlooked the Missouri River and I took some time to walk the scenic trails.

Took a 3 hour look at Pioneer Village in Worthington, MN and viewed the Corn Palace at Mitchell.

Wish I had had my binoculars along on the trip.

The Badlands were much prettier than I imagined & during the Memorial Day week I was glad I took the tip of another Fodorite by having a warm jacket along.

Unfortunately, I did not have time to stop at a Black Hills Gold factory. No time to look around Rapid City or Belle Fourche either.

Wall Drug adjacent to the Badlands was worth the visit; I found some copper penny jewelry to replace some lost pieces. Growing up I imagined it to be out in the middle of nowhere along I-90 - not part of a downtown in Wall. I was there very early a.m. so there was no trouble parking and there were few tourists there. Got a little cup of their famous iced water!

I should have skipped Wind Cave; I waited a half-hour for the tour & like the lady in front of me I realized I would not be able to deal with narrow passageway & went for a refund. I grew up on the prairies & I am sure there are caves similar to it. I walked one of the trails while waiting for the tour & it was like walking in our farm pasture.

Know I am in the minority, but also could have deleted the lighting ceremony at Mt. Rushmore. The traffic going out was too much push and shove as I am not a fan of parking garages.

Crazy Horse was started when I was a kid & it got alot of media attention. Everyone was rolling their eyeballs at the time, but not anymore! At my parents' over Memorial Day the Sioux Falls tv stations were announcing the latest blasts to make way for the sculpture. My favorite exhibit was the 1800's stagecoach and I could hardly imagine it travelling the upper Midwest prairies.

I thought of extending the trip for a week to travel farther west & then decided against it.

Thanks again for all of your tips & encouragement!
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Old Jun 13th, 2010, 03:15 PM
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Thanks for reporting back! Sorry about Wind Cave not working out for you.

I'm sure we also stopped at that same rest stop in Chamberlain on our last trip through there...it is just beautiful!

So glad you went for it and enjoyed yourself!
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Old Jun 14th, 2010, 10:42 AM
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Thanks, musicfan! You were definetely one of my deciding factors.

I also want to add that most rest areas had a staff of several people who were very willing to answer questions and distribute literature. They were even able to answer my query as to corporate farming laws in SD as many farms seemed to be traditional family farms.

Travelling the prairies I saw many sloughs complete with waterfowl and I thought of my favorite books like "Giants In The Earth" and the Little House series. Unfortunately, no time to stop at the museums in DeSmet.

All in all, I thought my journey to be a wonderful value.
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Old Jun 17th, 2010, 12:48 PM
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We are going to be in the Custer/Keystone area next month and only have time for one cave tour. Which do you all recommend? Wind Cave or Jewel Cave? Thanks!!
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Old Jun 17th, 2010, 03:10 PM
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You're welcome--happy to have helped!

On that same trip (the one where we stopped at Chamberlain) we did visit DeSmet...I was obsessed with those books as a child and had always wanted to see it. Up until we got there, I was feeling a little silly/gulity that I had dragged everyone along to this tiny town to look at old buildings, but it was surprisingly touching and fascinating and I was SO glad we went.

Wish I could recommend one cave over the other, DejaDeb, but I don't have enough knowledge...maybe someone else will come along who can assist.
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