My husband and I left for Murdo, South Dakota from Wichita. It was a nice trip and was not too much driving in one day. We stayed at the Landmark and at first the owner was very pleasant and full of helpful information but when I came back because I had problems with the internet I was snapped at by him. It was the most expensive place we stayed at on our trip and the rooms were clean and we stayed in the Asian room but I did not see anything special about them. Also do not count on the internet because it did not work very well.
The next day was Badlands Petrified Gardens and I have to say this was a delight and a best bargain on our trip. I usually am not big into rocks but I had to buy some there. I got a great deal on some rose quartz there and there were other rocks I wish I would have gotten that I saw for much more at other rock shops.
Next were the Badlands and then Wall Drugs. Wall Drugs was fun but really didn’t make as big of an impression as it did when I went there as a child. The souvenirs were at a good price. We went there during the first part of September and it was very busy. It was actually the busiest place we went to on our whole trip.
We were making good timing so we stopped at Reptile Gardens and enjoyed two shows. I went there 20 years ago and it seemed like it was bigger than it was. There are some awesome snakes to take in and I found the shows to be very informative. My favorite one was the snake show as the speaker was very informative but not boring. I would not like to handle the snakes like he did.
We made our way to Custer, South Dakota where we stayed at the Shady Rest Motel. I would not suggest anyone to stay in Rapid City as it so far away from everything. If I had it to do all over again I would stay at the same place we stayed at as it is a great deal for the price. Our room included a stove, microwave, coffee maker, dishes, pans, and a sink. We ate some of our meals there which saved on money.
The next day we woke up early with carrots and took the wildlife loop and Iron Mountain Road. We got to Custer State Park around 7 am and got to see all sorts of animals. I loved the begging burros and we had to come back the next day to do it all over again. Everything was very close to the road.
Then we went to Mount Rushmore and took the presidential trail. I have been to Mount Rushmore several times and I did not know about the presidential trail and I am glad I found out. My husband did not enjoy it as there are lots of stairs to climb but the views were breathtaking. We took Needles Hwy on the way back to Mount Rushmore for the lighting ceremony. The ranger that gave the talk said a week ago there were people elbow to elbow but when we were there were a couple 100 people there.
Also during the afternoon we went to Jewel Cave, which I would recommend a reservation and good walking shoes. Our tour lasted 2 hours when it normally last 1 and half hours. There are lots of steps but my husband did not complain as it was nice and cool inside.
The last day was a day to do things that we wanted to see again. The owner of Shady Rest told us about Mount Coolidge and we went there. The view is breathtaking and you can see Needles, Mount Rushmore, Badlands, Crazy Horse, and much more. There is a telescope that tells you where everything is located. We drove by this on our first day in Custer State Park and I would recommend going there.
That night was Crazy Horse. We got there when it was still daylight and took in the video, which I would recommend watching because I learned a lot about Crazy Horse. They had one trip to Crazy Horse but we didn’t take it. We did eat there and this was my favorite place to eat. The service was superb and the food was a great value. Overall I was not very impressed by Crazy Horse but watching the laser show changed my mind. We stayed in the parking lot and watched it from there. There is music to go along with the laser show and it was the highlight of the trip. Also at Crazy Horse there is mound of rocks that you can pick out a rock and donate money for it. I thought this was a great idea. Also you could get a card that told you what colors were what minerals in the rock.
The next day was our lengthy trip back home. We went through Hot Springs and we enjoyed the waterfall/spring that was there. I found Hot Springs to be a little run down and far away from everything. I would not suggest anyone staying there. Overall this was the best trip my husband and I have taken. It was a good deal going when we did as there weren’t as many people and the prices went down on our room. The one thing I did not like was that the food was expensive and not very good. The two best places that we ate were at Crazy Horse and Mount Rushmore. I can’t wait to go back and I would love to live there if the winters weren’t so bad.