Sunday, September 27, 2015

A Weekend in South Dakota - Three Days, Three Adults, Two Dogs and a Car (Photos)

This weekend we decided to take a quick, three day trip to South Dakota. Even though I'm retired, sometimes these short jaunts can be challenging-especially as the two people I travel with so often still work in some capacity. Our goal on these three and four day trips is to see and do, while still having time to relax and appreciate the little things.

Why South Dakota? I had never been to the state at all.  I knew that while it would be getting cool soon, right now the weather has been in the eighties and even nineties.  Since it was the end of the season, I really hoped that things would not be too crowded. It was close enough to drive to that we still had half a day on both Friday and Sunday, giving us two very full days to experience the Black Hills. All and all I was not disappointed (with one small exception). We did almost everything we had planned, and are already looking to a trip next year to the same location!

We tend to travel with our pets. They behave very well, to the point that we can leave them in the room to say, go out to dinner.  Our one disappointment was that upon arriving in Custer, SD and checking in, our hotel did not allow us to leave our dogs unattended (they are well behaved and don't bark as long as they have their toy and blanket).  At first blush, this was a shock, but then we realized we did not have to adjust our plans as much as we might have thought.

True, we could not go out for a restaurant meal (and wanted to eat game).  My so called birthday dinner was put on hold until our return home. One meal was good restaurant take at the table in the room, and the other was at a restaurant with a patio that was pet friendly. Crisis taken care of.

When it came to sightseeing, our one accommodation was that dogs are not allowed at Mount Rushmore.  This meant that one person had to amuse the dogs while two others explored, and then take their turn. Since the weather was lovely Friday evening, this was  not a terrible chore, and I got some good pictures-especially considering it was dusk when we arrived. Too late for the sun but too early for the lighting ceremony. Other than that our dogs went with us to Crazy Horse Mountain, driving through a wildlife park (with grizzlies, wolves, black bears, and much more), to the Badlands and Wall Drug, and around town.

This was actually the perfect example of a long weekend trip where much exploring was done, and yet was relaxing. By arriving early on day one, we got to see both Crazy Horse and Mount Rushmore. Saturday was spent driving first through the wildlife park, then to Wall Drug and then throughout the Badlands. It was followed by a relaxing dinner outside, with the dogs.  Sunday we returned to Crazy Horse for early morning pictures (and watched people Volksmarching to the top-see photo).  We went to the Prairie Berry Winery,  explored the quaint town of Hill City, and took a circuitous way home (through buffalo grasslands) where we saw wild animals of all sorts (and did not leave our cars). 

We managed to get home in time to see the second half of the game, and settle down before bed and a return to routine for the others.  There are still things we want to see-Lead or Deadwood, various caves, a Mammoth dig site, and Devil's Tower (which of course is actually in Wyoming, but on the way)!

I'm sure I'll have more pictures later, but meanwhile, these are a few pictures pulled from my phone (and in a couple of cases, through the car windshield).  Now, until the next weekend exploration it's back to sewing that Bronco stuff, my two Olli classes and more.

Oh, and for the person on another blog elsewhere who commented that she guessed people with pet's just didn't travel?  Of course we do!! 

Badlands national park-we could have spent much longer!
Mount Rushmore (a little gray at dusk)

More badlands

More Badlands-and yes, I love how these colors look like a moonscape!

Custer national monument, sister and small dog. If you look closely you may be able to see people at the top of the photo after climbing!

Buffalo at the side of the road. Not a great picture, and through my windshield, but safe is much better than sorry!

Prairie Berry Winery-featuring Red Ass Rhubarb wine among others.

The winery founder moved from Eastern Europe. When he found grapes did not grow well in SD, he explored making other kinds of wine with other things.  Red Ass Rhubarb is, by the way, dry.

Inside of winery and tasting counters, where you can taste up to five wines.


  1. We enjoyed all the same sights during a multi month RV trip to the northern plains we took last summer. We thoroughly enjoyed the Black Hills, and like you, even after a five night stay felt that we left more things undone than done. What a wonderful, wonderful part of our country.

    Must say though, that while we had fun wine (fruit?) tasting at Prairie Creek, it all tasted a bit like alcohol infused kool aid . . . rather too sweet and flat to envision as a side to food. But a unique experience for sure!

  2. We took the boys to the Black Hills when they were younger. We had a great time at the various sights. Crazy Horse wasn't finished yet, but we enjoyed going to the tar pits and seeing the mammoth bones instead.

    God bless.

  3. We always travel with our dog also. We won't go anywhere dogs aren't accepted. It can be a pain but somehow we get it to work out. RVing helps alot.
    Your photos are awesome! Wow!
    Looks like a great time. Lucky you.


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