Vacation in Brenda’s “Backyard”

24 07 2008

We hadn’t planned any big vacations this summer.  However, Guy decided he needed some time off from work and he didn’t want to hang around the house for the whole week.  We’ve talked many times about going to Mount Rushmore.  We finally decided to just do it.  We took a leisurely drive to Custer, South Dakota yesterday and checked into the hotel and looked around the town.  There was a quilt store — she even had two Gammills in the store.

Today we did a self guided tour.  We started by driving through Custer State Park.  The first stop was at Sylvan Lake.  From there we drove the Needles Scenic Highway.  After that the Wildlife Loop and finally the Iron Mountain Road to Mount Rushmore.  It was all incredibly beautiful.  I took almost 400 pictures, but I won’t bore you with all of them.

The first pictures are of Sylvan Lake.  We hiked all the way around it.  Some of the scenery from this stop is in the movie “National Treasure 2.”

This next shot is of the Eye of the Needle on Needles Highway.  Every corner we turned had more amazing rock formations.

The wildlife loop was supposed to have a lot of wildlife.  The big draw was supposed to be the bison.  The brochures all said they frequently cause traffic jams on the loop.  The were staying well away from the road today, but we did see them.  The biggest thrill for the boys was the Begging Burros.  We saw them both on the wildlife loop and along the Iron Mountain Road.

This first picture was taken out the car window of the wild flowers.

We finally came across the Burros.  We had grabbed apples at breakfast to lure them.  Jesse wanted to slip a burro in the car to take home.  They were the highlight of his day.  There were Prairie Dogs around, too, but I didn’t get a picture of them.

Finally just before we left the Wildlife Loop we spotted the bison.

On Iron Mountain Road we drove by one car that was stopped by some burros.  Two burros had their heads clear in the car.  We found a larger group a little further on, and there were three babies in that group.

One of the burros decided to keep Jesse.  It was wrapped all the way around him looking for something to eat.

After these friendly fellows we spotted an antelope with twins.

The Iron Mountain Road was designed to frame Mount Rushmore.  You can see it as you drive through tunnels.  It was a great approach for our first visit.  Mount Rushmore was more impressive than we expected.  We did walk the Presidental Trail.  Jesse wasn’t sure he wanted to walk the trail because it was described as strenuous.  After we walked it the boys were making fun of that description.  There are 250 steps on the trail, but other than that it wasn’t a big deal.  That may be because we live at an elevation which is higher than the park.  I have lots of pictures of the monument, but I will limit myself to just three here.

It was sunny and very warm when we first arrived.  Just before we left a thunderstorm rolled in and rangers were warning of possible nickle size hail.  This last picture is with the gray clouds.

This is the first time any of us have come to South Dakota and we are really enjoying it.  We want to come back again and camp.  I have to admit I was expecting it to be much like what I’ve seen of Wyoming.  OK, I’m sure there are beautiful parts of Wyoming, but what I’ve seen driving across the southern part and up the eastern part has been rather stark.  Tomorrow we are going to the Badlands.  That should be much more stark.




3 responses

25 07 2008

Oh…I needed that laugh this morning. Thank you. You’re probably thinking…what was there to laugh at? Just seeing those begging burro’s did it.

When I was 8 we took a trip to SD. In those days when we’d take a trip Mom would make chex mix and krispy bars and they’d be carried in those plastic gallon buckets that ice cream came in. There’d be another bag with candy and such also in the back seat.

On our second drive through we stopped because the burros were in the road. My dad got out to take pictures; my mom was still in the car and I proceeded to wiggle a gummy worm in the window that the burro saw and couldn’t live with out. Not knowing I was doing this; Mom opened her door and immediately the burro shoved his head in pinning her back in her seat (Picture the look on her face while she’s smelling this beast…) and he’s coming through now between the seats to eat my gummy worm. He didn’t leave until he had eaten all the gummy worms, all the chex mix and all the krispy bars. I just happily fed him while My dad tried pulling him back out of the car. When he was done with me, he backed out.

Not long after my mom yelled, “I hate you, I hate you all” and then we knew we were having a good time!!! That phrase was always the key phrase on vacation. =)

25 07 2008

Great pictures!!

25 07 2008

Sounds like you had the perfect SD vacation. So glad you enjoyed the beautiful scenery here! I worked at Mt. Rushmore for 6 summers, so I really enjoy being in the hills and your pictures she the immense beauty of the area. If you get a chance I highly recommend the Quilt Corral Too for an amazing quilt shop in the area. It’s just off I-90 Exit 58 and has over 8000 bolts of fabric to choose from. It’s located in the Sewing Center building. Before or after your drive through the badlands check out Wall Drug. Located on the main street of Wall, SD at the opening of the Badlands, it has so much to see. Have a great time in beautiful SD.

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