In our summer travels we have visited the Black Hills area of South Dakota many times, but this time we decided to stay longer and revisit a few places and explore some new ones. We did not go into Mount Rushmore this trip but did take a few pictures from the highway and the lookouts on Highway 16A. Custer State Park is one of the largest state parks in the country and where Dancing With Wolfs was filmed. The scenic Wildlife loop, Needles Highway and Iron Mountain roads within the park are beautiful drives with spectacular rock formations and lots of wildlife. Along the roads are wild burros that people call the "Banditos" because they stand in the middle of the road and don't move till you feed them. The park of course discourages this but people do it anyway. Iron Mountain road has two unique bridges they call "pig tail bridges" that have you doing a 360 degree turn back over the same road you just drove under. There are 6 tunnels on these roads two which frame Mount Rushmore as you drive through.
We did make a lunch stop in the town of Custer and had lunch at The Black Hills Burger and Bun, one of the highest rated burger places in the USA on Travel Advisor. Custer has painted buffaloes on every corner and of course we saw plenty of real ones in the park. Back at the Campground we hung out on the giant swing.
We spent one afternoon dodging rain showers at the Central States Fair, The highlight of the fair were the Mutton Busting qualifications, with the finalists competing at the rodeo on Friday night. Most of the kids did very well but some would not even try and cried when their parents tried to put them on the sheep. The announcer said that if you spank your child in Walmart you get cited for child abuse but its OK to sign them up to ride a 100 pound sheep. I tried to get Josie to ride an elephant but no chance of that happening.
We saw more rain in the Black Hills then we had seen in the past three months combined. Therefore we spent time visiting a few of the Brewery's and Winery's in the area. We were treated to a family cowboy band at Black Hills Miner Brewery and Josie sampled and we purchased a few bottles of wine at the adjoining winery. Most of the new craft breweries make root beer so I always ask for a root beer to be included in the tasting flight for Josie. She also hates to see things go to waste so she will drink any beer I don't like as she did at the Firehouse Brewery. Jo likes anything chocolate so when we visited the Independent Ale House she sipped my Rogue Double Chocolate Stout and liked it so much she had to have one herself. We also had the best pizza ever there which may or may not be attributed to the stout. We later found Josie her own bottle of the chocolate stout.
Every time we drove by the Reptile Garden it was crowded so we decided to see what it was had to offer. There were three good presentations on Alligators and Crocodiles, Snakes and Birds. We also took a couple of fun pictures.
We spent one day visiting Deadwood the old gold mining town where Wild Bill Hickok was shot in the back holding the now famous poker hand aces and eights. Calamity Jane is buried right next to him. Sturgis where they have the famous motorcycle rally also has a Ford Mustang owners rally over the Labor Day Weekend so Deadwood shut down Main Street for the Mustangs. Jo thought of Michael her son and Bob Haddad , Mustang owners.
One of the highest rated attractions in the Black Hills on Trip Advisor was a Native American show called Brule'. So we went to their last show of the season and it was the highlight of our visit here in South Dakota. It combines Native American Dancing with a New Age musical twist to native rhythms and beats. We really enjoyed the show which was performed on an outdoor stage at a local Dude Ranch.
As I said before we saw a lot of rain in the Black Hills, so when we woke up this morning to find more rain in the forecast we packed up and headed south. Also we will cut a 400 plus mile day in half. Tonight we are staying at the Cabella's in Sidney Nebraska. Tomorrow we head to Estes Park Colorado.