South Dakota

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Palisades State Park, S Dakota

Our journey west takes us on I-90 across southern Minnesota and into S. Dakota.  We’ve travelled this route before at this time of year and encountered strong winds which tore the cover off our air conditioner, so we were a little apprehensive about what would be in store for us this time.  We were pleasantly surprised though, it was smooth sailing as we passed from Minnesota into S. Dakota although the huge wind farms all across southern Minnesota attest to the fact that this truly is a wind corridor.

We spent a night in Palisades State Park in eastern S. Dakota.   It has beautiful rock formations and a lovely river, perfect for floating in a tube which several locals were doing.

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Palisades State Park

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Split Rock Creek in nearby Garretson, S. Dakota

When we continued on our journey  the next day our fears were confirmed, strong cross winds combined with a heat wave, temps reached 100 F.    Leonard and Bella (our RV) did great and this time we didn’t leave any parts laying by the side of the road, but we felt a lot of compassion for the guy who came in the opposite direction with his awning flapping all over the roof of his motorhome.

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Sacagawea greats travelers at the Missouri River in S Dakota

Next we made it to Spearfish, S. Dakota which is to be our destination for a few days. We’ve checked into Elkhorn Ridge RV Resort, probably the most beautiful campground we’ve ever stayed in.  It has an 18 hole golf course, tennis & basketball courts, pool and hot tubs and great views of the Black Hills.  IMG_6318IMG_6320IMG_6319IMG_6323

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Our explorations from our campground took us through world-famous Sturgis.  We’re here to tell you that Sturgis in the off-season is as depressing as a ski resort in the off season.  Massive bars, many in the middle of fields and lots of tattoo parlors but everything shuttered up with a ghost town feel.  Quite surreal.

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Full Throttle Saloon with Bear Butte State Park in the background

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Full Throttle Saloon

Next we headed up into the scenic canyons by way of the mile high mountain town of Lead, home of the Homestake Gold mine, which was the largest and deepest gold mine in North America.  It closed in 2002 but it’s mine shafts which run 8000 feet below ground have been repurposed and now house the Sanford Underground Research Facility, an underground laboratory which conducts physics experiments in areas such as dark matter and neutrino research.   Pretty amazing stuff in an old small ex-mining town.  You certainly can’t tell by looking at the town.

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The surface of the Homestake Mine but the majority of it is in shafts up to 8000 ft below.

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Old Finnish Lutheran Church from 1880’s built by the miners.

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Spearfish Falls in Spearfish Canyon

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Roughlock Falls where some of the winter scenes of Dances with Wolves was filmed

We’ve had heavy rain and thunderstorms each evening and tonight we are under a severe weather alert with possible tornadoes, so we are going to hole up here tonight and then move on tomorrow.

6 responses to “South Dakota

  1. I learn so much from your trips! Thanks for sharing. For the first time since we bought our resort in 1999, we are spending the month of July in Door Co. Packing all my painting stuff and can’t wait. Have a wonderful trip in the mid-west and west!

    • sunandsandtravelers

      A month in Door Co, it will be wonderful! I’ve also brought my paints with me and have high hopes of sitting in the sun by a scenic river trying to paint. LOL, we’ll see what actually happens. Have fun.

  2. Michael Chernoby

    What a beautiful sculpture of Sacagawea. Don’t tell me it was put up by the oil company after crossing the Missouri near Standing Rock. As always great pictures and new information. Who knew Sturgis would look like that in the off season? Maybe some cooler weather is coming your way when the front passes.

    • sunandsandtravelers

      Hope that wasn’t the case about the sculpture, you never know! The cooler weather is definitely coming, temps later this week are supposed to be in the 70’s in Montana where we are going next. 🙂

  3. Lovely country. Wondering if Elkhorn has a small cabin with two twins…
    The Lead mine area looks like it has ‘healed’ some, but did you see the Trojan mine area just west of it? Looks ghastly!

    • sunandsandtravelers

      No we didn’t see the Trojan mine, this one was bad enough and dominated the whole town. That’s why it was so interesting to learn that the underground portion was being used for something else. BTY I’m sure one of these cabins would be perfect for you.

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