We are very sad to be leaving our new home state of South Dakota, and especially the Black Hills. We have had such a great time exploring this area.

It has been a month since we left California (after the wedding), and now we need to return 1) to see the grandbaby – he is growing WAY too fast! And 2) because we have Fourth of July plans with Tom’s brother in Oregon, so we need to go drop off the Jeep and pick up our Razor (RZR). While we’re not dreading those plans, we sure hate to stop our fun here!

We arrived in Rapid City, SD with business on our mind, and Jeep and RV maintenance and repairs to be completed. All of that went so smoothly, it was hard to believe. The people here have been over-the-top nice. Plus, it’s such beautiful country!field of daisys

I think our campsite at Ocatella in the Black Hills National Forest has been our favorite so far. It was centrally located to all the things we did and there was so much more we could have done.

View of campsite from atop the hill.

There is really great hiking in the area, but we only completed one. There are lakes everywhere, and we had hoped to do some kayaking, but that didn’t work out. Tom got his SD fishing license, but only had time for fishing one morning. (Result: a few bites, but no catches!). Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse are the “main” attractions here, but we’ve seen them, so they weren’t on the list.

Here is what we DID do (in no particular order) –  (If you put your mouse on the picture the caption will appear.):

>>Drive the crazy loopy Needles Highway, and through Spearfish Canyon, and to Deadwood.

water wheel
Old water wheel at Spearfish Creek

>>Go on a five mile plus hike at Horsethief Lake.


>>Take a ride on the 1880 Steam-engine Train.

>>Go beer tasting at the famous Firehouse Brewery.

>>Trip out at Cosmos Mystery Area.

>>Collect local firewood for a bonfire at camp.

>>Watch alligator wrestling and pet a snake at the Reptile Gardens.

>>Tour the ginormous Jewel Cave.

Jewel Cave
It was like being inside of a giant geode!

>>Explore towns like Sturgis, Deadwood, and Hill City.

Downtown Deadwood.

>>Go back to Deadwood for a live concert.

sawyer brown concert in deadwood
Everyone arrived early to set up chairs.
sawyer brown concert in deadwood
Then it was packed when the party started!

>>Go window shopping in downtown Rapid (the locals drop the City from Rapid City).

grafitti alley in Rapid City
A graffiti alley downtown Rapid.

>>Watch presentations at the Custer state park visitors center, then take a drive through the park to spot buffalo.

buffalo on road
Lone Buffalo walking along the road right next to our Jeep.

Whew! What a week. Is it any wonder that we’re sad to leave?

Now we have five days to go fourteen-hundred miles. No more dilly-dallying for us!

Happy Travels!
Peace & Love, Joy

PS – for more on our travels, see our YouTube Channel (although it lags a bit).  Eventually there will be in depth videos of all the above!