Category: South Dakota

Catching Up With Friends, Making New Ones And The Black Hills

We just spent a wonderful 5 nights in the Black Hills of South Dakota. We spent those 5 nights at Big Pine Campground right in the heart of the Black Hills in Custer, SD.   Big Pine Campground is a wonderful place to stay if you like the state/federal park look and feel but want full hook ups.  Our friends, Geeky Explorers, had been staying here for close to a month when we arrived to visit. While there, we also met some new friends, and current friends of Geeky Explorers, Don and Christine. What a great bunch of people.  We really needed some down time and relaxation and being around friends helped. Not to mention Don is the cook extraordinaire. With just a cast iron pot and a roaring campfire, he could take ordinary ingredients and make them into fabulous meals. We did the obligatory trips to Mt. Rushmore National Memorial and the Crazy Horse Memorial. You can see both monuments from the roadside.  While we just drove by the Crazy Horse Monument and took a couple pictures, Mt Rushmore we fully anticipated going into the park and seeing it. However, when we got there we were dismayed to find out that our National Parks Pass was not valid there and the park had a private concessionary for parking. We felt this was a dis-service to the National Parks...

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Badlands National Park In South Dakota

What a wonderful few days we’ve had. We just left the Badlands National Park in South Dakota and if you have not been there yet…you must. It’s a real easy on and off from Interstate 90 that crosses South Dakota. If you don’t have time to stop for a few days, which we recommend, then you can easily drive the Badlands 240 Loop on your way through to somewhere else. It’s also an easy 1 hour drive east of Rapid City, SD. You’re not going to want to forget your camera. Their are a ton of photo opportunities every where you look. The badlands span 244,000 acres that consist of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles and spires surrounded by a mixed-grass prairie ecosystem. The geologic formations date back to over 75 million years ago. I won’t bore you with the details of what all the layers consist of and how old they are. If you are interested in learning more you can read all about it here.    While there, we drove the loop road and did some hiking. David also got the quadcopter out and shot some amazing video that he has edited and put below. Please take the time to watch this video. It really gives you a different and awesome view of the Badlands. The Badlands can be a rough environment. However that does not stop wildlife from...

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The Great Mecca Of…Corn?

While traveling down I-90 in South Dakota you come across the small town of Mitchell.  There’s not much in Mitchell, SD but it’s probably been on your traveling radar.  Why might I ask? Well, in Mitchell, SD is the world’s only Corn Palace. Yup…I said Corn Palace. The first Corn Palace in Mitchell was actually built in 1892 by the towns elders. They were trying to find a unique way to showcase the rich soil in Mitchell and draw attention to this tiny town. I think they succeeded since it’s over 100 years later and people, over 500,000 a year, are still flocking there. Today’s Corn Palace is an event hall where concerts, expositions and such are held.  But what sets this apart from any other event hall is the corn that adorns the building. You see, every year a committee gets together and decides on a theme for the Corn Palace and the artist, usually local, is chosen.  The artist has several months to design the outside of the palace before the actual corn is ready to be placed. A local farmer raises all the corn needed. That is 12 different varieties of corn along with native grasses, straw, milo and sourdock.  Then the daunting task of placing all that corn and such on the outside of the building for all to see starts. It’s a never ending...

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