We went on vacation to South Dakota last week, and South Dakota came through. I had people ask me “What? South Dakota? What’s in South Dakota??” Well, there are lots of things in South Dakota.
We stayed at a lovely cabin we found on VRBO. It was in the country and very quiet and private. There were deer in the yard, and you could hear all sorts of wildlife in the evening and night. It was close to Hill City but far enough out to be just perfect.
But first, the ride. We had a fabulous drive to Hill City. Long, but nice. We stopped in Blue Earth to get a snack, but there were no snacks in that town. However, there was a Jolly Green Giant.
I had to send the picture to Laura because it’s not the first time I’ve been in the company of the giant.
We pushed on to the So Dak and stopped at our first TeePee rest stop.
But this wasn’t the rest stop of our dreams. That one is in Chamberlain, on the shores of the Missouri River. Since our last visit they built a big statue. Big Statues were sort of a theme of our trip.
The trip was uneventful across the South Dakota plains.
We arrived at our destination only to find we couldn’t get in the door cause we didn’t have the right code. Dang it. So back to Hill City because there was NO cell service in the area. That was the only hang up cause we got the right code after calling the owners and we were good to go. We had several friends to greet us.
Although we felt like they watched us when we were moving about the place, it was so nice there it didn’t really matter. So quiet and peaceful. Click on this gallery to see our surroundings.
We hit the ground running on Sunday. First stop, Quilt Show. Hill City Quilt Show. Over 300 quilts and they were impressive. Click to see the gallery.
I must confess I bought a few things there. Then we did a pretty darn good hike to a place called Sunday Gulch in Custer State Park. It was beautiful and perfect weather. Although we weren’t quite prepared for the descent.
We had beautiful views but the best was yet to come.
We went up to Deadwood with Justin and Katie, who had arrived just after us on Saturday and we had a late lunch. We then decided to take a peek Mount Moriah cemetery, where Wild Bill and Calamity Jane are buried. It’s a fascinating place, especially since old cemeteries are sort of my jam. Oh, and Potato Creek Johnny is up there too.
The cemetery had different sections for different groups such as Jewish, Asian, children. There was a section where the people that died of smallpox were buried (I think it was small pox). Anyway, it was well worth the trip.
Blane and Melanie arrived late Sunday. We were waiting and waiting and they pulled in right when Dave and I were on the front porch looking for them.
Monday AM we hit the road for our bucket list hike–Black Elk, aka Harney Peak, trail. What a glorious day for a hike.
And the views….
It was wild and windy up top but well worth the journey.
After that we headed for a wild life loop but ended up taking a long drive to no where and instead wound up at Mount Rushmore, a place I’d never been but was also on the bucket list. Also, big ass statues, just how I like it.
After that long day we headed back to our Home away from Home, had dinner and got ready for Monday Night Football. Only we didn’t get that channel so we settled for American Ninja Hero. Which, in my opinion, was almost as good.
Justin and Katie left on Tuesday AM so Blane, Melanie, Dave and I headed down to Hot Springs to the Mammoth Site. If you’ve never seen an active dig before I highly recommend. It was a crazy the amount of fossils in this site. It was once a sink hole filled with water. The mammoths came to drink and fell in, where they sank and rested for thousands of years till a builder started to dig and found bones. Thankfully, he recognized the importance of the site and it was saved. And we saw it.
All the DNA was leeched out because of the temperature of the water so they can’t match the bones to all the skeletons. Darn it.
The tour and the short film we saw were excellent.
We cruised back to Hill City and saw quite a few wild Buffalo on the way.
We spent a quiet evening and the next day Blane and Melanie left early.
Dave and I went over to the George Mickelson Trail. We walked a mile and back of the 108 miles and saw lots of bikers. I am tempted to come back and bike a few on it cause it was beautiful. And quiet. Have I mentioned the quiet?
We got off the trail just in time for rain to start. We went to Hill City for our final trip and had a tasting at the Prairie Berry Winery. They had some fine berry wine and we added 5 bottles to the collection.
We spent the rest of the day packing up and watching the rain storms. I was so sad when Thursday came and we had to come home.
It took some perseverance though, as I 90 was closed, twice, for flooding. Because, while we were having great weather, Mitchell and Sioux Falls were having torrential rain and tornadoes, in addition to flooding in Austin MN.
We took a 60 mile detour around Mitchell, but, because the detour was not well marked like they promised, I missed the cut off back to 90 and took the next main road which Dave assured me was the best route. It was also flooded. South Dakota needs to up the detour game for sure.
The BMW was up to the task although it was a nail biter and I feared being ‘that person’ who drove into flowing water over the road even though they’ve been warned over and over again. I figured if I could SEE the road under the water I was good to go.
Thank God we made it.
We hit the detour in Austin at the same time the cops did but thankfully it lead us to hi-way 14 which is a hop skip and short drive to home.
Lacey was soooo glad to see us. So glad.
Others were indifferent……
We regrouped and Friday we had eye appointments. Yawn. But we had to use up Dave’s spending account before he retires so expensive glasses here we come. I worked half day Saturday to ease back into things. It wasn’t too strenuous.
Also on Saturday, Blane and Melanie came back down. Yep, they drove another 6 hours because we aren’t very good at planning and Melanie and I were going to Veg Fest in Minneapolis on Sunday. So, while those guys watched lots of football, Melanie and I had a blast in the cities.
We went up early so we could get in line and get our goodie bags–which we scored.
We got in and started perusing the vendors. I’m not kidding, I could have bought so much stuff. So much. The soaps alone were my kryptonite. And the food. Gawd. Hindsight says I needed to fast for a week to make room for all the stuff I wanted. I ended up with an egg roll and some lightly fried garlic tofu. In addition to samples and sharing a pineapple smoothie–in a pineapple.
It got pretty warm by early afternoon so we decided to head out. Plus, we spent all our money and got all our food. EXCEPT for the damn cheese curds. It was the one thing we wanted and there was a 45 minute wait–after the 20 minute line. They are supposed to be the best vegan cheese curds in town. Sigh. We were both disappointed, to say the least.
See ya next year Veg Fest. We are already in strategic planning mode for 2020
Today, which is Monday, Blane and Melanie left, and it’s my last day of vacay since a week ago Friday.
I am heading up to Grand Forks in two weeks to run a half with my friend Tiffini so I’ll likely see them again. I better get back in shape since I’ve run exactly once in 10 days (although much hiking has been done). I skipped out on the gym today and instead slept in on my last day of vacay.
I had the best vacation in a long time, that is for sure. And although it’s fall it’s hot and humid again. Like summertime. I guess that’s our Indian Summer. Next weekend a LOT of work has to be done in the yard to get it ready for fall since the flowers have died and need to be cut back. But not today.
Now that I’m done here, I think a bit of knitting is in order.