Great Summer Kick Off - Tatanka
Looking for an excellent option to kick off your summer travels? How about a road trip out to the Badlands, Black Hills & a few National Parks?
Well that's just what we did. We headed out on a Thursday & landed in Pierre, SD. It was a nice ride across MN. We packed a lunch & cooler so we could keep on truck-in along. We didn't want to stay long in Pierre nor did we have much time in that small town. We stayed in a Days Inn by Wyndham & had a late check in along with complementary breakfast. I will say the rolling hills started in Pierre.
Got up early Friday & hit the road. Our goal was to land in Hot Springs, as we drove to Wall. We visited and made sure to stop at the Famous Wall Drug. I would say with the unique decor in town, it's a very visual place. With plenty of places to shop & dine, it's perfect for a cold beer with your meal.
After the Wall, we started the Hwy 210 loop through the Badlands. If you haven't see the Badlands, well it's a must do. Buffalo everywhere along with the cute little prairie dogs. We took the long route down to Hot Springs. Country back roads and lots of scenic views.
We were driving through the Badlands & we came across the sheep climbing down these rocks.
We checked into the Baymont by Wyndham Hot Springs. Again, late check in & breakfast in the morning. We went out to dinner for a wonderful steak meal at 1891 Steakhouse & Bistro. It was delicious. After a great night sleep up and out we headed. We headed north into Wind Cave on Hwy 385.
Onward within 20 miles we entered Wind Cave National Park. The entrance was just a WOW moment. There had to be about 25-30ish Bison in the middle of the road stopping those that wanted to enter. That was the moment I was looking for. I instantly fell in love. Tatanka everywhere!!! They offer you a park area to visit with Rangers and offer you cave tours. From there we headed through the park, stopping along the way to take it all in. Then we headed over to Custer State Park. It was a much larger State Park and full of wildlife. There were so buffalo, white tail deer, mule deer, elk & prairie dogs. There was a stunning magpie bird. Until you see it fly, it's just beautiful.
We had continue through the way and up to Mount Rushmore National Park Memorial. When you are driving up to the park, the 4 heads just keep getting bigger & bigger. From the curvy roads to more curvy roads, you land in a park that will take your breathe away.
Bob wanted to see Elk so we headed back down to Wind Cave area at dusk time. We did see a couple of them which made his night. From there we headed up to Hill City to crash. We had a long day & planning on a late check in. We checked into Best Western Plus Golden Spike Inn & Suites where they were very full. It paid to have the late check in along with paying for the room in full. This Inn was perfect for families. They had a separate area with larger rooms & near the pool area. Their breakfast was excellent with the larger buffet area.
That next morning, we headed up to Deadwood, Lead, Sturgis & landed in Spearfish. We went out to the Sturgis biker area, enjoyed a cold one & back onto the road. In Deadwood, it has changed to a lot of tourist shops that all have the same things in them. Most every bar had a casino in it as well. I could see on this drive up that we had left the Badlands & not so many rolling hills. But, I can say I was there. LOL
We stayed at the Best Western Black Hills Lodge that offered us breakfast as well. This was our landing spot for a night of rest & to start our early jaunt over to Wyoming. We wanted to see Devil's Tower there. It was so Huge! I did the mile hike around it and their were people climbing it on the backside. There are rangers that were taking people on tours & explaining the formation. It was a nice hike but not recommended with those with walking issues.
From there we headed up into Montana to land near Theodore Roosevelt. To our East was the outline of Badlands. Yes, it was a lot of driving but we wanted to cover a lot of areas. We stayed in Medora, ND which is the South Side of the National Park. This hotel reminded me of a tiny house set up. They were clean & gave us easy access to the park. We did the south side that evening.
Then once we woke up the next morning, we headed to the North Side of Theodore Roosevelt Park. There was a nice park that had buffalo & prairie dogs. There didn't seem to have the number of buffalo like the Custer Park or Wind Cave did, however it was a nice park. There were so many hiking trails there.
On that drive up to the North, there were so many of the oil wells working. Once we were done at that park, we decided to see how we feel later that night as to weather we stay overnight or keep on truck-in. We made it home at 1am. the following Wed.
This trip was what I needed after a long winter working & this was my first real break from my office. I have such awesome clients & I have them to thank for my time off.
My favorite locations were Custer Park & Wind Cave. I'd pack up for a short 4 day weekend to head out to Hot Springs & stay there. Just so much awe moments & so much relaxation for my mind.
I know this isn't the ideal trip that we normally book for our clients but I will highly recommend it for everyone.
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