Getting wild in the black hills

Trip Start Jun 20, 2010
Trip End Jul 10, 2010

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Where I stayed
Custer State Park

Flag of United States  , South Dakota
Sunday, June 27, 2010

We left the cool rock formations of the badlands for the mountainous terrain of the black hills. I was driving the car and Rob followed me in the Great White Snail ( as I have affectionately dubbed it). The roads were winding and steep in places and we were anxious to park the rv and get going. We stopped at the Crazy horse memorial. It is pretty cool to see. It is a work in progress, started in the 1960's and is not finished yet! The original sculptor has died but his family has taken over the endeavor. It is completely funded by donations which is why it is so slow going. Maybe we will return someday when it is finished. It will be huge when finished,dwarfing mt.rush more in size. It took a lot longer to get to the campsite than expected but we finally made it grabbed a quick lunch and got on our way.
Our goal was to see some wildlife maybe hit one of the caves and see mt rush more. The kids really wanted to see buffalo. They were thrilled when not 5 minutes into our drive we spotted a lone buffalo in a field. Not a minute later there was a herd of bighorn sheep right in the middle of the road! The scenery is so varied the rolling hills lead to high mountains with granite peaks intermingled. We continued along spotting prairie dogs, pronghorn( deer like animals with of course pronged horns), and mule deer. As we came around one of the bends there was a wild mule in the road with her baby. She was making her way from car to car looking for food. Luckily, we had some goldfish crackers on board( when do you know the guerins to travel without food?). Rob and Robbie both fed her through the window with Jenna sqealing the whole time( big surprise). We continued along hoping to make it to wind cave nationAl park before it closed when we spotted a large herd of buffalo. Everyone was impressed.
Moving along further we spotted more buffalo crossing the road and one very large fellow right by the road side. Rob asked me to snap some photos through the sun roof but had one foot on the brake and one on the gas in case it decided to run at us. Iwas wondering how he was going to take off with me hanging out of the sunroof and not being thrown from the car but maybe that was his plan after all. After all we have been living in a 31 foot motorhome for a week!
We didn't make to the caves because we spent so much time with the wildlife but it was worth it. We traveled on to Mount Rushmore. It was amazing to see it in person. We went through the visitors center and Robbie earned a jr. Ranger badge. We decided to stay for the evening program and illumination of the mountain. The evening program was a moving experience. There was a video explaining about each of the presidents in the sculpture. This was followed by America the Beautiful and a request for all service men past and present to go to the stage. The kids were proud to see their dad head down there and it was a heart touching moment. The illumination was breathtaking and we snapped away with our cameras.
The ride back to camp was an experience unto itself. I think I earned fifty gray hairs. I suggested we go back the way we came but the human gps(rob) thought we should take "short" way back. The short way was a series of hairpin turns,switchbacks, and one lane stone tunnels mind you ,there were no street lights and limited guard rails. We passed a couple of other fools on the road so we weren't totally alone. We saw Mount Rushmore about 20 times as we wound our way up and down the mountain roads. It sort of felt like national lampoons European vacation- " look kids, mount rush more" about 20 times! Robbie and Jenna were afraid we were going to be
attacked by a bear or mountain lion-do they think mountain lions can open car doors?. I, on the other hand, just wanted to stay on the road. Rob did a great job getting us home safe And sound.
I wish I had planned another day here. There is so much to see and do.
The campground is the most primitive yet. Just electricity no water or sewer. Thankfully we were right next to the bathrooms. The biggest hardship was no Internet service which is why this posting is late. Will try to get the pictures up later. I am typing this on my iPad as we are driving along and therenis no wifi or 3 g coverage. Hopefully it works.
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Gramgerry & Papa on

Well, I have to say, you guys should remember this trip as a learning experience as well as a fun family time. Your entry today is so exciting, I can't wait for the pictures, I will check back later. For the record I got another SOS from my office today, it's very SAD!!!! It's so weird , I told them I was cleaning and he said he didn't care if I went in my undies as long as I went to help them!!!!!

Jane on

This is so taking me back to our trip. What a blast you guys are having. I'd love to be there!

Jane on

The trip map looks like you are in Kansas, but your entry says the Black Hills. Am I missing something?

jill on

the pictures are amazing and sounds like so much fun, except for the car drive back to the campsite. Luckily, u had Ranger Rob doing the driving LOL!!!!!!

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