Let’s chat about my most recent vacation – SOUTH DAKOTA (State 35, for all of you who are counting with me).
There were 4 of us, we drove 12 hours overnight (3 hours each) and made it to Badlands National Park just as the sun was rising. It. Was. BEAUTIFUL. We were all SO tired from the trip (not easy to sleep in a car tbh), but all agreed that it was worth the sight.
We roamed around for a bit, changed our clothes in the parking lot and brushed our teeth with bottled water (like true travelers) and then decided to do some hiking. The boys looked at the different hiking trails that were available and picked out a few that were shorter – around a mile or so. We hiked two of the trails and then drove a bit further into the park to find the third one.
Well, the third one was a 5-mile loop. Luckily it was overcast and since it was so early the temperature wasn’t too terrible, but we ended up walking around for over an hour. I have no complaints, I loved every second of it. Tony and I climbed up to the top of one of the “cliffs” (tbh, I don’t know what to call them) and the view was awesome.
When we finally got through the loop, we decided to make another stop on the way – Walldrug. There were signs all over for this place. I had looked it up a few days prior because Becky said we “needed to go!” and I was surprised. I assumed it was like a Walgreens but it was actually like a mini tourist town. There were restaurants, bars, shops, etc. It was huge! We all ate delicious breakfasts and wandered around for a bit and headed towards Keystone.
We weren’t able to get into our cabin until 3pm so we had some time to kill. We decided to go to downtown Rapid City, SD and check out some breweries. Honestly – beer in WI is better (surprise!). But it was still fun to see the different breweries and whatnot. We stopped at the grocery store to get some food and headed to the cabin.
When we finally got all settled in it was around 4. We made dinner, played some games and had some drinks…. And then of course SLEPT because it was SO needed.
Friday we woke up and the plan was to go to Mount Rushmore for the day. Well – Mount Rushmore takes about an hour. It was pretty cool to see and finally check it off the bucket list – but now what? Tony really wanted to see a Bison – so we went to a wildlife exhibit. It was pretty cool; lots and lots of bears and other animals. It was drive-thru so they got pretty close to the vehicle.
Afterwards we went back to downtown Keystone and got some food. I had an Indian Taco which is something that SD is known for. Instead of taco shells, they put the insides in “fry bread” – and it was awesome. I ate all of it and felt like I gained about 20 pounds but it was worth it. Then we went to a bar and got some drinks.
Unfortunately, the weather was kind of crappy this day. I would have loved to go hiking again in one of the hundred national parks but the weather was super spotty. It was POURING and then would stop, so on and so forth. So, of course, we decided to just keep drinking. We went to Naked Winery/Brewery (yes, both), and also Prairie Berry winery. Both of these places had AWESOME wine, but meh again for the beer. Then we stopped at the store to get more food to grill, headed back to hang out, drink and play games.
Saturday was Deadwood day. Deadwood is a small town about an hour away that’s known for being like the “old west” and it definitely was. There were saloons, lots of history about cowboys, and of course – a rodeo. We lucked out, actually, because we were there during the town’s annual festival “Days of 76.” There was a real live rodeo that was about to happen and I was STOKED. What more could you ask for being in South Dakota of all places? We walked over to the arena and tickets were $25…. Meh. Decided to see how close we could get without paying and while we were doing that, a man who works on the security team handed us free tickets (YEAH BUDDY) so we got in. We stayed for a little under two hours – it was really cool to see that live and in a “western” setting.
Once the rodeo was done, we got some food – some delicious burgers – and then gambled for a bit. Of course, then we drank, and drank and drank. We went to a couple of the old saloons and met some pretty cool people.
Sunday morning we woke up and drove straight back. Let me tell ya, that drive sucked. I would much rather drive overnight like we did the first night than straight through the day. It was rough.
All in all SD was a good trip. It was prettier than I expected it to be and I’m glad we got to see some “real South Dakota” type things.
Next State: South Carolina. Stay Tuned.