Monday, October 23, 2006

Westward Ho, Day 3: Badlands and Custer

We traversed 256 miles today, most of it was inside Custer State Park, south of Rapid City SD. I had been in this part of the country in August 2001 with the Motorsports Harley Owners Group, but it was brutally hot, and for much of trip through the area, I was following a leader (and as the saying goes, if you're not the lead dog, the view never changes). We saw much more today.

We left our 1950s motel in Ladoka and stopped in a 1950s diner just up the street for breakfast (great meal). It was short drive to the
Badlands National Park, which alone was worth the trip. We were virtually alone in the park, and could stop pretty much any place we wanted to just gawk at the beauty of this place.

Then we highballed into Rapid City and made the short drive to
Mt Rushmore. Terry had long talked about wanting to visit there, and said it more than met her expectations.

Next was a drive over Iron Mountain Road in Custer State Park. Lots of curves and great scenery. Since it was getting to be mid-afternoon, we decided to run into Custer to reserve our room, and make the run up to the
Crazy Horse Memorial.

With an hour or so left until sundown, we decided to go back into Custer State Park and drive down the Needles Highway. We still had some daylight left, so we drove around the Wildlife Loop, where we ran into multitudes of deer, turkeys, donkeys, and of course, buffalo.

Dinner was in a great little steak and ale house in Custer called The Bank, which was located into a building that was constructed in 1820 as the First National Bank of Dakota Territory. I had buffalo -- what else.

Our hotel is the Super 8 in Custer, a clean modern place, and one of the few open this time of the year.

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