Custer or Bust: Summer/Fall 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: JOYCE BARINGER!

Making Custer State Park with 2,129.5 miles behind us, as I hurriedly gather the last of the pics together, we have 196 miles left is almost happening! Our newest adventure in the Black Hill of South Dakota will involve work camping three days a week and four days to explore and enjoy one of our favorite spots from our Short, Short Trailer, Long, Long Trip back in 2016.

We left Home 12 days ago, and for the most part we have putted across the States to our destination. (Look it could be done in 30 hours and there was a time when we were that crazy dumb!) Instead we scheduled a leisurely two nights at each camp ground, we did some kayaking, some motorcycle cruising, bicycle riding and hiking. With only a minor last minute change to our plan, I’ll explain later, we enjoyed the trip.

Here’s the log, enjoy our trip with us:

Custer South Dakota Trip

June 18, 2018 depart

June 29, 2018 arrive

-Day 1, 2: June 18, 19 Rainbow Springs SP, FL

19158 SW 81st Place Rd

Dunnellon, FL 34432-2463

Site #2

(352) 465-8555

$73.30

Estimate: 212 miles, 3- 1/2 hrs.

Actual: 212 miles

Loved this campground, and I don’t know how we’ve never done this one. We unloaded the kayaks and did a relaxing three hours up to the spring head and back. Took some time to splash in the cool water and got back to the camper just as the afternoon storms blew through. Did I mention I’m not missing everyday rain showers!

We only used our kayaks, they also had tube rentals and a shuttle service, which was probably a nice float downstream from park.

After the afternoon showers, we rode bicycles through the park and down to the tube drop off area, which was a nice paved road with no traffic because it’s only for the shuttles.

-Day 3, 4: June 20, 21 High Falls SP, GA

76 High Falls Park Dr

Jackson, GA 30233

Site #1 (very nice site)

(800) 864-7275

$70 add $5 for your vehicle

Estimate 320 miles, 4-1/2 hrs.

Actual: 331 miles

This was a quiet and peaceful park just off of I75. Temps were nice in the shade. Not a lot to do, a couple of hiking trails, and other activities on the lake above the dam. We hiked along the Towaliga River to the abandoned hydro plant (that might have brought back work memories for someone), and on our second day we took a motorcycle ride into Jackson for some lunch at Zaxby’s. Definitely felt strange to not be pushing by traveling everyday.

-Day 5, 6: June 22, 23 CEDARS OF LEBANON STATE PARK, TN

328 Cedar Forest Rd

Lebanon, TN 37090

$62.13

Estimate: 291 miles, 4-1/2 hrs.

Actual: 306 miles

Area 3, campsite #105, new area all paved sites. This site was quite elevated, plenty of mud around sites

The mud aside (lots of rain and new grass hasn’t come up yet), this was one of our favorite stops. Early morning hike down by the butterfly garden yielded a deer encounter as well as lots of birds, a turkey, rabbits and of course butterflies.

The road that bisects the park was great for our road bicycles and we took a ten mile ride on a cool afternoon.

Our only issue with this park was the Atlanta traffic (we planned to miss rush hour and got stuck by an accident) and again in the area where you pass back and forth between TN and Ga a few times (no accidents, just stop and go traffic).

We found out too late that there was a cave on site, so we have a reason to return and explore some more.

-Day 7, 8: June 24, 25 Robertsville SP, MO

902 State Park Rd

Robertsville, MO 63072

(636) 257-3788

$46.50

Estimate:386 miles, 6 hrs.

Actual: 389

Campsite #026, community h2o next to site otherwise sites do not have individual h2o

All sites are gravel and mostly sloped, was able to barely push MC up into site.

We had a little bit of trouble with the motorcycle trailer at this campground, but not enough to make us reconsider towing it with us. At each site, we have to unhook it and push it into place before we backup the camper. The slope into the site was a bit steep and we couldn’t place the trailer behind and hook it up before pulling out, so we had a little extra maneuvering.

I took and early morning bicycle ride down the the Meramec River, and had to walk the bike back a good bit of the way! Florida girls and steep hills…gonna need to figure out the gears and get the thighs in better shape!

Our walk to the nearby cemetery was cool, many very old stones from late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Unfortunately the take away was a load of ticks on the dog…and chiggers for the people! Lessons to learn.

We also hiked the 2.6 Lost Hill Trail which would around the creek and highest part of the park.

-Day 9, 10: June 26, 27 Weston Bend SP, MO

Weston Bend State Park

16600 State Route 45 N

Weston, MO 64098

Access Road West Bend Street Park

$50.50 only stayed one night (too late to get refund).

Estimate: 264 miles, 4-1/2 hrs.

Actual: 274.5 miles

816-640-5443

Campsite #005, no h2o at site, most other sites are more shaded. Site is also next to camp host but nicely spaced. All sites are paved and mostly level.

We got here’s bit late and decided to move closer so we could enjoy more time at Palisades in South Dakota. We rode our bicycles around the camp area, out to the dog park (which was quite nice, but we didn’t use). Again some steel hills and bike walking for Florida girls!

Day 10 June 27 Stone State Park Iowa

Stone State Park

5001 Talbot Road

Sioux City  IA  51103

Estimate: 267 miles, 4 hrs

$16

Campsite #

From Interstate 29, take exit 151, which is Hwy. 12 north. Go north on Hwy. 12 approximately 4 miles to the park entrance.

Okay, so here was our first camping fail. We arrived at this cute park, with the smallest campsites ever! Bring you cute little pull behind or pop-up, not your 30′ fifth wheel to this park. The huge mud hole created by the camper that got stuck the day before was a big clue. We we fortunate to get turned around and be able to get out without unhitching anything. We re-grouped and called Palisades State Park to see if they had anything for tonight. We were blessed by adding an additional night and they switched our campsite to one right on the creek.

18325 mile change to palisades sp

-Day 11: June 28 Palisades State Park, SD

25495 485th Ave

Garretson, SD 57030

(605) 594-3824

$29.97 actual 64.22 (add extra day and $12 for your car).

365 miles, 5-1/2 hrs.

Actual: 379

Campsite #31E actual 35E

We hiked every muddy trail in the park. The cap host, Merl told us they have had over ten inches of rain in the past week.

This is a fabulous park, the river, which we didn’t swim or kayak in had people doing both. The Sioux Quartzite formation are beautiful and I’m sure the trails would be less muddy in a week or so.

And here is our BIG CHANGE! We couldn’t get into the area we wanted to Sage Creek Campground. They changed the length restrictions and we are too big. We really don’t care for the parking lot they call the other campground. We considered some local private campgrounds, but in the end just decided to make our final stretch all the way to Custer. Since we aren’t there yet, I’ll share pics of the site on the next blog.

I must say this is the first long distance trip for us in many years where we didn’t wear ourselves out to get to our destination…we may just be figuring this thing out.

Thanks for sharing our trip with us, we are so glad to have you join us.

Day 12, 13 June 29, 30 Badlands (cancelled)

Day 14 July 1 Custer SP, SD (BECOMES DAY 12 and final day of travel).

13329 U.S. Highway 16A

Custer, SD 57730

(605) 255-4515

$- work camp

Estimate:104 miles, 2 hrs.

Approximate actual: 432

Total trip miles: 2323.5

Last day to Custer State Park:

No More Toys! No, No, No!

It’s definitely to warm for the blanket!

They brought the shed! No, Russ…you cannot get a shed.

Dignity of Earth and Sky. South Dakota rest stop art just before crossing the Missouri River for the last time.

Definitely too hot for a blanket today.

Our last crossing of the Missouri River.

This was fire truck #5 out of we lost count….but awesomely interesting way to pass the miles.

Wind turbine blades, these are unbelievable in size.

Leave some mud for someone else!

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