No alarms are needed when we are on vacation I guess. Everyone was up and ready for breakfast by 7am. In fact I think it was about 8am when we were all loading the van again for a day of fun. It was a beautiful day out cool but blue sky and we were surrounded by mountains and beauty. A high point of this morning was no packing of the pod and the van. We were able to just take our water, cameras and some snacks and we hit the road. Today was going to be some driving loops through the Black Hills Forest and Custer State Park. I was hoping to see Rocks, Mountains and Wildlife. We accomplished all of those goals.
First we went to The Black Hills Forest and it was gorgeous. There were hills, mountains and trees and a lot of it. We made the switch back turns and the beautiful wooden bridges. We climbed higher and higher. My father in-law was a wonderful driver and maintained his composure wonderfully on those roads. My husband always seemed to be on the edge side which he hated. We stopped a few times and climbed some rocks, had fun and took some pictures.
As we left this patch of wonder we entered Custer State Park. Here we were excited to try and see some buffalo and maybe a prairie dog. We were able to see more than that. We took some time at a ranger station and looked at the exhibits and maps. When we came into the park we came across a herd of Buffalo. They are always amazing to see.
We continued on to these rolling hills and we saw deer, pronghorn antelopes, and then wild burros. Oh this was so fun. We happened to be eating carrots in the van when we came across these donkeys. They were not shy, they thrust their heads in the windows and wanted a snack and a pet on the nose. They were just the sweetest things ever!!! Their noses were velvet and I just loved them!!! We also came across a couple prairie dog towns. There were tiny little babies that were frolicing around their holes and parents and grandparents always on the look out for their families. Just wonderful!!!
We left this wildlife part of the park and went for lunch in Custer City. After a stretch of our legs and some food we headed back towards the park and headed towards Needles Highway. Another place that took your breath away. High towers of rock and narrow tunnels to drive through. Only pictures will do it justice but they still don’t show all of the awesome works of God you see in real life.
After Custer we continued on to Hill City where we visited the South Dakota Railroad museum. There were some hands on items which the kids loved the best. I loved reading the old menus and seeing the china that was used on the trains. Another time that has gone from this country. When I rode on Amtrak it wasn’t fine china. ***a footnote here, the movie is Dances with Wolves not Dances with THE wolves, get it right***
The rest of the day was a little shopping in Keystone. The kids had an old time picture taken with their grandparents and Greta got a pair of Minnetonka Moccasins. We all went out to eat to the Powder Room in Keystone which was excellent. The food was the best ever!!! Greta tried bacon wrapped tiger shrimp and she said they were WOW!!! Henry had his hamburger which was every meal out there. Chad and I had sirloin and twice baked potatoes. Just a great place and atmosphere.
The next day would be packing the pod and the agenda was Rapid City, Badlands and trying to get some miles on the van.