Originally this trip started out with a destination of Western Minnesota. Once I looked at a map and saw how close Sioux Falls was I added it to the itinerary and booked our hotel. I then realized that the badlands were only a 4 hour drive from Sioux Falls and that The Black Hills were only like an hour past that, so drive west we did!
My dad and I made it to Sioux Falls late Friday night and checked into our hotel. Which the hotel was busy, heck the town was busy. We went straight to sleep because it was almost midnight and I had this grand plan of waking up at 5AM and driving west. Drive west we did!
My research told me that the Badlands Scenic Byway was not to be missed. $10 gets you a pass to the 35 mile long byway. The badlands are gorgeous or as my dad said “seeing it in person is much better than seeing it on TV!” There are lots of photo opportunities and many pull overs where you can safely take photos and walk trails into the canyons. We came upon a flock of big horn sheep munching on mustard weed. My dad again “aren’t they neat!? This is so cool!”
The scenic byway dumps you off in Wall South Dakota aka Home of Wall Drug. We decided to stop because well we read their billboards for over 100+ miles. I gotta say, I was disappointed. Wall Drug is always hyped up on travel shows and blogs, it was just meh. It didn’t make my little souvenir loving heart go pitter patter. It just went “this is it!?” We made the best of it and ordered lunch and walked through the shops. We did find trinkets to take home and a shoe horn. My dad needed a shoe horn and he was glad we found one at Wall Drug. Oh! My dad made some new friends at Wall Drug, they weren’t much for talking though…. I did find one bright side, I loved the little Travelers Chapel, it was simple, yet a reminder that no matter where we go we find faith.
With our bellies full we got back on the road and headed, you guessed it “West!” I just have to add the speed limit in South Dakota is 80MPH!!!!!! Once again I was legit and not speeding!! It was great!! I could go 80 all day every day! Destination Rushmore! Mount Rushmore was a bore. You walk through the flags and hey there is a gift shop and an ice cream shop and oh yeah some old dudes in stone. My dad didn’t walk up to the balcony he stayed back near the parking ramp. He said “I liked watching the look on people’s faces…. they were like “that’s it!”” Word! “That’s it, is right!
From Rushmore we drove to the Crazy Horse Monument. Which by the way is still under construction and the people at the gate let you know “you cannot get any where near the monument.” Which was fine by us. My dad stayed in the car while I went to check out the visitor center and gift shop. Again there were a lot of people with “that’s it” looks on their faces.
From Crazy Horse we drove to Custer and from Custer we drove to Wyoming!!! Yes, yes we kept on driving west! And because why not!
After our little side trip to Wyoming we drove back to Rapid City for dinner and then drove EAST!! We got back to our hotel around 2AM. Holy that was a long ass drive but it was totally worth it! Google told me that there was actually a water fall in Sioux Falls, so off we went!
From the falls we headed east! East to the famous “Devil’s Gulch.” Jesse James supposedly jumped the 20 foot gap and hid from the law. Because ya know robbing a bank in Northfield gets you in to trouble.
From the Gulch, you guessed it we drove EAST!! East to the Jeffers Petroglyphs.
We continued to drive east until we reached Red Wing where I traded my dad in for the beloved muppet like dog and headed back home to Jay.