Traveled: Rapid City, SD to Keystone, SD to Custard, SD back to Rapid City, SD
Miles Driven: 150 Miles
Hours on Road: 9:30am - 5:30pm
Weather: Sunny with Clouds of Cotton (80 degrees)
Well today was an awesome day! We decide to hang out in the area for a couple of days and today we began exploring around 9:30am. After filling up the truck our first stop was at Bear Country USA. This was like a drive through zoo of sorts with different animals loose in the park. We paid to drive through and were warned to stay in our car at all times and to kep the doors and windows closed as well. After pulling around the first curve we soon saw why. Elk, big elk with big antlers. We proceeded on and saw an Arctic Wolf, Reindeer, Mountain Goats, Mountain Lions, Coyotes, Wolfs, Black Bear, Brown Bear and Buffalo while in the sanctuary. Once we left there we were hearded into their walking section where you could see Grizzlies, other smaller animals and baby bears. They had a couple of snack shops, a grill and large gift shop. The bears were by far the most entertaining part of this stop as some were lounging on large rocks and logs while others were walking in the road and up to the different cars. While driving through the Wolves section, a rather curious Black Wolf began following behind us. We looked over into the side mirror just in time to see him take a bite out of the rear skirt we had on the truck to protect the camper. Fortunatly, he didnt like the taste and quickly let go as we drove away. All of this lasted a couple of hours and was a fun thing for the family!
After this we decided to grab bite before heading on to Mt. Rushmore. We stopped at a place called the Powder House Lodge & Resteraunt, where the food was good. Two orders of chicken tenders, a BBQ Chicken Sandwhich and an Elk Burger later, we were on our way to see the presidents. We arrived to a spectacular view but unfortunately only two of us were excited to be there as the other two were not impressed with faces of stone on a mountain. Admission was $11 for the vehicle and good for an entire year, so if you were in the area, you could come back for free another day. We parked the truck and immediately got out and began taking pictures of the surrounding mountains. We made our way to the entrance and continued walking through the outdoor foyer where there was a gift shop on one side and an ice cream shop on the other. We continued walking up to the mountain through an isle that was made of stone columns. Each column had 4 flags hanging from the top them and had the name of the state and the year that state was admitted to the union. Of course we found the one for AK and took several pics. Once we made it through this, we arrived at he observation deck, where you had a great view of the presidents. We did the tourist thing and wandered around for a bit, looking at the different things they had to offer and taking pictures. While we were walking around we stopped and offered to take a photo of a group so all of them could be included. Robin and one of the ladies immediately hit it off as they began talking about cameras and lenses. More conversation lead to discovering they were all actually from TX and were up on a mission trip of sorts. We discussed our move to AK and they were very excited to hear about our journey. We eventually exchanged information, wished each other well and parted ways. If you all are reading this... To everyone who was in your group, it was a pleasure meeting you today.
From there we decided to make our way back to the ice cream shop as we had 2 young men who were dying to get some. We walked up to the counter and was greeted by a young man who appeared to be in his early twenties. We told him what we would like to have and he immediatly responded with a "where y'all from". We let him know we were from TN and he responded with a "so am I, Which part?". When we let him know we were from around Knoxville a big smile came over his face. We asked where he was from and he responded, that he was from a small town just outside of Knoxville called Seymour. Robin and I both started laughing as we told him that was where we were from as well. When we inquired further about why he was now working at Mt. Rushmore, he responded that he had been traveling all over the US doing mission work for the past feww years and that he was there for the summer sharing the Gospel with staff members in early morning services at the park. We let him know we were headed (AK) for similar reasons and continued to talk for a bit. Unfortunately I did not get the young mans name before leaving, so if you are reading this, it was a pleasure meeting you today! Keep up the good work of spreading the Gospel!
After making it back to the truck we decided to make our way over to Custard State Park. On our way, we saw the Crazy Horse monument, which looks like it will be and awesome exhibit once the work is finished. We continued on to the park which turned out to be a treat as well as we traveled through some beautiful country. Mountains, prairies, hills... It had it all! We saw, deer, gazelle, donkeys (which we got to feed) and herds of buffalo. Cameron was excited to get to see the buffalo and Cole loved feeding the donkeys... They had a blast! We traveled and traveled and saw some spectacular views to go along with the scenery and the wildlife.
Once we returned home, we broke out the grill for the first time on our trip. The chicken was good and so was the corn and biscuits. We spent the evening relaxing, riding our bikes and chasing rockets... Yes, I said chasing rockets. :-). One of the neighbors in the campground had small (12' tall) rockets which he could shoot into the air using some sort of firework powder. They were ignited with 2 wires and a small battery from a distance and once the rocket reached it's peak, a shoot would deploy and the rocket would fall back to the ground. These things were actually very cool as they shot hundreds of feet into the air before returnig. Our neighbor would shoot them and then let the kids in the campground go chase them down in the fields. Ater this, we called it a night and retired to the camper to watch movies.
Below are the links to some of the pictures and videos of the day. Check them out when you time and keep in mind you may need to copy and paste the links in your browser to get them to work.
Bear Country Pics & Videos:
Mt. Rushmore Pictures:
Custard State Park Pictures & Videos:
Tomorrow looks to have the makings if a great "lazy day" as we all plan to just hang around the camper for the most part and relax. We've ben pressing pretty hard the past few days on the road and it's a good idea to take a day and just rest every now and then. Until the next time...
God Bless & Good Travels!