Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Quick Trip: South Dakota

One of my goals is to visit all 50 states. Toward that end, when we have a long weekend or two-for-one Delta pass, we'll sometimes take a quick trip to a state or states. This trip to South Dakota in September 2014 was one of those. We visited southwestern South Dakota and fell in love with the area. There are an amazing number of wonderful places to visit and a surprising variety of wildlife. Following is a list of posts from Judy and me relating to that trip. Note, some of Judy's posts put activities out of order and combine activities over multiples days into one post. 

On a Friday, we had a direct flight from Ontario, CA to Rapid City, SD and rented a car at the airport. After a quick sandwich at Jimmy John's in Rapid City, we visited Reptile Gardens and Mt. Rushmore, then drove the Iron Mountain Road into Custer State Park where we drove the Wildlife Loop Road and saw bison, elk and pronghorn antelope. We ate dinner at the Blue Bell Lodge (bison stew and bison tips) inside the park and then drove to Custer where we stayed in the Bavarian Inn. 

On Saturday, we took a drive in the morning into Custer State Park, saw more bison, some turkeys, a beautiful white-tailed deer buck, and some bighorn sheep. Then we drove the Needles Highway to Sylvan Lake where we hiked seven miles round trip to the summit of Harney Peak, the tallest spot in South Dakota. On the way back to Custer, we stopped at the Crazy Horse Memorial, then we checked in to the Holiday Inn in Custer (we could only get the Bavarian Inn for one night). After a shower and brief rest, we drove back up to Sylvan Lake where we had a wonderful dinner of bison chislic, bison tenderloin and an elk chop at the Sylvan Lake Lodge. 
     Dakota White-Tailed Deer  (Bob)
     Merriam's Wild Turkey  (Bob)
     Wild Burro - South Dakota  (Bob)
     Harney Peak  (Bob) 

On Sunday morning, I got up early, leaving Judy to sleep in, and drove once again into Custer State Park to see the early morning wildlife. I was rewarded by seeing hundreds of bison, as well as more turkeys. I went back to the hotel, picked up Judy and drove through Custer, admiring the decorated bison in front of various stores downtown, then drove to Rapid City where we attended the Rapid City LDS Ward for an hour. Then we drove to Wall, SD, visited the famous Wall Drug Store, then drove in to Badlands National Park where we saw 25 bighorn sheep. Finally, we drove back out to Wall where we spent the night.

Monday morning, we drove back in to Badlands National Park and took the Sage Creek Rim Road where we saw lots of prairie dogs and some bison. Then we drove back to Rapid City where we walked through part of downtown, ate lunch at Everest Cuisine, a Nepalese restaurant, and finally went to the airport for a flight back to Ontario where we arrived late that evening.
     Black-Tailed Prairie Dog  (Bob)
     South Dakota: Rapid City  (Judy)
     Everest Cuisine - Rapid City  (Bob)

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