Needles Eye Tunnel
Our adventure is always a work in progress. We have made it home, but I have a bit of catching up to do on our blog, because when you are very busy having fun…it’s difficult to keep up!
Hopefully over the next couple of weeks, I’ll have regular entries of all the exciting places and adventures we had on our Short, Short Trailer Trip. Stay tuned…we will made some unexpected turns along the way!
Custer State Park, Wildlife Loop Road
We left Badlands National Park and did a little provisioning in Rapid City on our way to Custer State Park, Custer, South Dakota.
I know I say this too often, but we loved this park and the surrounding area. We spent four days exploring and didn’t even make a dent in it. We have elevated this place to a high return priority for both of us.
Without reservations, we arrived on a Friday night. Which meant we had to move camp sites in order to stay several days. The park made no site assignments. You are required to use their on-line reservation system or call center, even on the day of arrival. Most places we have been, close their online reservation within a day or two of the current day. It was a small hurdle to jump over in exchange for an excellent and beautiful facility.
The wildlife at and around the campsite included turkeys (too early for Thanksgiving,) deer, rabbits, and beautiful birds.
Stockade North (top left) Stockade South (bottom right)
We spent one night at the Stockade North campground on site #15. We relocated early Saturday morning to Stockade South campground site #16 for the remainder of our stay. It was a rainy night and morning, but fortunately it cleared and we were able to get on the motorcycle and go exploring.
The Peter Norbeck National Scenic Byway is 70 miles of beautiful, mountainous, curvy, switchback, tunnel filled roads, through Custer State park, the Black Hills and to Mt. Rushmore. We only managed two sections of this byway, but these roads were made for motorcycling.
On our First day we rode the Custer State Park Wildlife Loop Road and Needles Highway. The Wildlife Loop is 18 miles through the East side of the park. We saw donkeys, goats, prairie dogs, and a couple of prong horn sheep. We had our fill of bison back at Badlands, so we didn’t feel too bad about missing them here. The rangers had already held the round-up and moved them to an area for vaccinating, and sorting in preparation of the coming quota hunt.
Needles Highway, was 14 miles of awesome, turns, tunnels and views.
Custer State Park Wildlife Loop Road
Custer State Park Wildlife Loop road
Custer State Park Wildlife Loop, Long horn sheep and horses
From the Wildlife Loop Road, we headed onto Needles Highway, with the most amazing tunnels!
Iron Creek Tunnel
Iron Creek Tunnel
Needles Eye Tunnel
I want to do that tunnel again!!!
Needles Eye Tunnel, round two
We circled back through the small town of Custer and made it home before the rain moved in on us again.
Sunday we chose the Iron Mountain Road, which also had amazing tunnels, to take us to Mt. Rushmore, Hill City and Crazy Horse Monument.
CC Gideon Tunnel
CC Gideon Tunnel, spectacular view of Mt. Rushmore as you exit.
From Iron Mountain Road, we headed to Mt. Rushmore. It was a crazy busy day in the park on Sunday, so we opted for a few pics and to head on, and see what else we could find. We know we will be back to do the tour.
Views of Mt. Rushmore from Iron Mountain Road
Views of Mt. Rushmore from Peter Norbeck National Scenic Byway
Hill City is what we found next…and it was time for some lunch.
Bumpin Buffalo, Hill City, SD. Bison Burgers were fabulous!
Hill City Harley Davidson didn’t wait for us! Closed for the Season. What’s up with that????
We were just going to drive by Crazy Horse too, but the weather was looking a bit grey and we decided to stroll around and check it out. Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski was asked by Henry Standing Bear to carve a memorial honoring North American Indians. Work began on the mountain in 1947 and is continued today by Ziolkowski’s children. The museum has excellent chronology of the work to date and models of what the final carving will look like. The museum is also filled with Indian art and historical information, which we found interesting. Although this was definitely a worthwhile visit, there seems to be a bit of controversy on the internet, with various opinion on the authenticity of the depiction. There is always two sides to the story.
Crazy Horse, a work in progress
Indian art at Crazy Horse Memorial Museum
Crazy Horse Memorial, a work in progress
We enjoyed our time in Custer, South Dakota and we only had one other necessary stop to make, as long as we were this close…Sturgis!
Absolutely quiet, compared to what August was like, for this very small town. I’m not sure I could even imagine this place packed out with almost 450,000 attendees for 2016! Maybe one day we will get to see it in person, but for now, being able to cruise through town and browse the HD shop and be on our way to Yellowstone…with no traffic jams…was good enough for us.
Sturgis, South Dakota
We snapped a few pics along the way, just in case we need a truck, camper, or ATV…we can remember which ones we liked best!
Thanks for sharing our adventure with us. Next stop is Yellowstone, we hope you can join us.