South Dakota Vacation

For those of you who don’t follow me on Snapchat, you may not have realized that I was on vacation for the last week in South Dakota.

We left Monday the 13th of June in my parent’s 38 foot RV, pulling my daddy’s Ford Focus with mountain bikes and kayaks attached.  We stayed in a KOA in Souix Falls South Dakota the first night. The only downfall of that KOA was it was right off the highway and cars kept hitting the rumble strips all night long. I am definitely my father’s daughter in that annoyed us both. But here are some nice pictures of that first night.

Tuesday morning we set out for Custer Gulch RV park in Custer, South Dakota. I found this quite humorous since I live in Custer, Wisconsin. It was a long six hours away. Normally I would help dad drive but that is another story for another day. When we got there, we were amazed with the big side yards and abundant trails.


This park was perfect as there were lots of trails to walk the dogs on, not my dogs but my parent’s two basset hounds, Ruby (the red) and Zelda (the old, whiny, slightly overweight one). Ruby is just a year old- full of life but pretty mellow for a year old.  Zelda is old faithful. She’s just shy of 11 and I still remember my step mom bringing Z home for Christmas.

Wednesday we went to Mount Rushmore. I had been there before, when I was 3 or 4 but I don’t remember a thing.  This time I have pictures.  We hiked around and had some delicious ice cream afterwards. 


After Rushmore we stopped at Palmers Gulch KOA to book horseback riding for Thursday. When my parents brought my sister and I out here, 30 years ago, we stayed at that same KOA and rode horses there too. Here is a wonderful picture of my father and I, 30 years ago! 😳😳

I had a beautiful pinto Arabian growing up, so anytime I can get close to a horse, I will. Even if it is just stealing hay for them. 


Since my horse was a pinto, I have a soft spot for paints. The blue eyed (Crazy) horse I later learned his name to be TJ.

After visiting with the horses, we went into Hill City for some wine tasting, shopping and some lunch.

I might have a selfie obsession.I wanted to get a right hand ring, success!Neat metal artwork in the street. I love metal sculptures.  And the Prairie Berry Winery, home to the Red Ass rhubarb wine, was a delicious way to start the afternoon.When we got back to the camp, dad and I set out to do some kayaking in nearby Stockade Lake. I successfully fell into the mucky water immediately upon entering my kayak. To my defense, it was my first time ever kayaking and we legit put them into a tiny stream. I broke my favorite Nike flip flops in the process. But it was well worth it. Dad and I kayaked the whole lake. Wednesday was a very good day.Thursday morning we had horseback riding at 10:30 and had to be there at 10. I was in heaven.  I miss my horse terribly and will someday soon have another horse to call my own.  Dad scheduled us on The Custer Trail and it worked out perfectly as it was just us three and the guide, Eric (with a “c”- I asked, from Central Illinois-again humorous since I lived in Central Illinois and currently live in Custer). Eric and I chatted about nearly everything while I was riding Indy, a tall Morgan horse who was living up to his name.  He got swatted a few times by Molly, Eric’s horse from home, as Indy was nearly on top of her. The 90 minute ride was over before I knew it and I had to say goodbye.

Linda’s horse, Alberta, was slow and dad’s rat tail Appalousa, Maizie, was always eating grass. Here is Cowboy Eric with Indy and Eric’s beautiful one blue eyed paint, Molly.

Later Thursday night we drove through Custer State Park and damn, it was worth it.  I got to pet a wild mule. We saw huge buffalo at both entrances. 

The baby mules were the cutest. I couldn’t believe how docile they were.

And then I spotted the biggest herd of buffalo in Custer. They didn’t seem to care about the cars one bit. We had to pull off the main road, but hot damn it was worth it. I would never have imagined such a large herd of free roaming buffalo.

We also saw Pronghorn Antelope and of course Prairie dogs. There was also a military operation in progress.  My dad thought they were little kids playing until I pointed out that they all have guns. Big guns!


I thought Wednesday was a good day, but any day riding a horse is a better day.

Friday we went over to Jewel Cave National Monument. It is the third largest cave in the world. It was an hour and a half long tour and we did not double back. Beautiful. We have been in better looking caves but anything that took a zillion years to make is pretty amazing.

After the caves we drove through Bear Country USA. I worked at a small zoo before so I understand wild animals in confinement but the majority of these bears were just walking around. There were lots of other animals there too.  But the bear cubs were the cutest. They reminded me of Candy Bear, from the zoo, who tried to eat my hand off come September. 

Saturday we had to move our big rig a few miles up the road to Heritage RV park.  Though we had Crazy Horse National Monument in the background, it was much smaller than Custer Gulch. This park was full of seasonal workers.

We attended the little rodeo in the afternoon.  It went fast, which was good because it was steaming hot. 


Sunday we ventured to Sylvan Lake and hiked up to Harney’s Peak, the highest point in South Dakota. I left my parents behind as I hiked up to 7,242 feet.  At times I was running, but mostly I was cruising along, passing up families. What a great experience- feeling the burn in my legs and lungs, but persevering until the end. 

Once at the top, I took photos for several families and started back down until I met up with my parents and hiked back to the top again. I am super proud of them both for making the three miles trek one way, up to the peak.  It burned but in a good way.
After my hour long hike back down, I walked around Sylvan Lake as I awaited my parents descent. 


After the hike, we went to the Silver Dollar Saloon and had pizza and beer.  It was delicious. Seriously, good.

After a nap, we all headed back to Stockade Lake for some more kayaking. 

Sunsets in the West are my favorite.The moon was most beautiful! 


Monday we packed up camp and headed for Wall, South Dakota.  The gateway to the Badlands. According to dad, I had been to both before.


After getting back from touring The Badlands, we walked into Wall for some shopping. I found myself a pair of Cowboy boots.  I love, love, love them! Thank you Linda! 😍😍Then I caught a beautiful sunset and the full moon rising. 


Tuesday we packed up and headed for home- 12 long hours away. A dogs life seems ruff!

I got home to my house just before 9pm Tuesday night.  My boys were super excited to see me.  The hens seemed happy to see me and my baby chickens look like little chickens already.

Thanks to my mom for watching my boys and my parents, Jack and Linda for letting me tag along on this trip.  I had a blast. Memories for a lifetime.  I truly am blessed!

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