Tag Archive | South Dakota

2017 Adventures – Happy New Year 2018!


Happy New Year to all of our friends and family who enjoy reading about our adventures. It was a great year and plans are already in the works for the new year.  We will celebrate our 5th year of Adventures in Travel in February, yaay!

We apologize for not publishing much over the last couple of months, life has kept us quite busy over the fall months and Christmas season.  A highlight of the Christmas season was the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train coming through Columbus. Al got a great video over 1000 people have already viewed. See it here!

Another highlight of the season was a house with a 40 minute synchronized music and light show. See it here!

We will be spending the winter catching up on trips that took place after Labor Day.  Also updating older posts that need it. Our “Westward Ho! South Dakota and Wyoming” trip was amazing!  Go back to begin reading about our trip here.  Made some new friends along the way, as well as with enjoying time with long-time friends.

We hope you had a great year too,  see you on the road! Happy New Year from Al and Laurie!

 

 

 

Hot Springs-The Veteran’s Town


4-25 and 26, 2017

Hot Springs, South Dakota is a city of 3,711 and is the county seat of Fall River County. We stayed there three nights with some friends, not downtown but in one of the nearby hills where their homestead is located.  The countryside is beautiful, cattle ranches are a prevalent feature here. It was snowing in this picture.

Our friends took us on the grand tour, we saw everything on our list and more. We began with visiting  John Robertson Memorial Park Cemetery. He was a prominent horticulturist and farmer in Fall River County.

 

After visiting here we learned why this is called the Veteran’s town.   Our next stop was the South Dakota Veterans Home, a large beautiful building dedicated to caring for the many vets in Hot Springs.  There is a large medical staff dedicated to the care of the residents here.

The Joe Kern Building-Soldiers Home

I  have not seen a community honor vets as much as this one does. Inside the nursing home building near the entrance is a statue of a soldier. Inside the base is a time capsule, opening year is 2065.

Hot Spring’s downtown buildings are mostly made of sandstone, locally quarried at Evans Quarry. Read more about the stone’s use here. You saw some of these buildings at the Veterans Home also.

Here is the depot mentioned in the sign. The Soldiers Home is above.

This is the smallest union depot in the country. Here is the other signage on the depot.

Behind the depot is a train car.

Next to the depot is a small wood jail building serving the territory in 1885. It is the oldest surviving wooden jail in South Dakota.

The brown sign to the left of the door. Calamity Jane spent a night here too!

Enjoy a drive through downtown, nearly every building is constructed of pink sandstone.

The Fall River flows though the city, providing a soothing ambiance and view.  There is even a waterfall along the Fall River Freedom Trail.

Kidney Spring has water deemed healthful for the kidneys.  It flows freely from a spigot. A plaque gives a breakdown on the water analysis.

A retaining wall was built by the WPA in 1939. The view of it from the other side.

A great place to view downtown is at a lookout point on Hammond Avenue. It is a steep hill and about 1/2 way up. A great view of the Battle Mountain Sanitorium on the hill across the way.

The mountains visible from downtown is called the Seven Sisters Range.

Hot Springs has many murals and are adding more. Here is one on the side of Evan’s Plunge. We plan on a visit there in 2018.

On American Legion Post 71 building downtown.

On another building.

Minnekhata Avenue of about a century ago. Painted by Del Iron Cloud.

There are more historical markers scattered throughout the city. This one is at the edge of town at a wayside on the Mammoth Highway, this is the front.

The back.

 Another one is the Leslie Jensen Scenic Drive marker.

This small sign is attached below, telling us when he passed away.

Downtown is a Lions Club Memorial circle with a planter. 

Closeup of the plaque on the monument.

This marker is near their former Carnegie Library building. A new and larger library with more parking was built and opened in 2007. Here is a list of all the Carnegie libraries in South Dakota.

If you look to your left, there is a steep hill leading to the Fall River Pioneer Museum. We could not go in since it was not open for the season yet.

On the northern edge of town is the Mammoth Site, where hundreds of Mammoth skeletons were discovered in 1974 while preparing the land for a housing development.  The area was then protected and a very active dig still today. You can get a tour here and they offer programs for children and adults  alike. There is a marker close to the driveway.

All this exploring can make one hungry. We enjoyed lunch at the China Buffet, a favorite downtown of the locals.  For dinner we went to where our friend works, Taco John’s. Their food was yummy too!

The Hot Springs area has many beautiful parks for recreation, even a picnic!

We also took a closer look at the Fall River, namesake of the county Hot Springs resides in.  We went to Keith Memorial Cascade Falls. It was so beautiful there, I imagine even more so later in the spring and summer. A marker is also located there.

There is a walkway leading down to a view of the falls, also a small chapel you can go in.

Stained glass windows inside.

Donations gratefully accepted for park upkeep.

 We also visited the J.H. Keith Memorial Park.  Lots of picnic room and great scenery!

Currant trees were in bloom, as well as crab apple.

There is much to see in Hot Springs, we plan on returning Summer 2018 for more sightseeing.

 

 

 

 

 

South Dakota Badlands – A Geological Wonder!


4-28-17

After visiting Wall Drug, our next stop was the Badlands of South Dakota.  We arrived at 12:23.

Even though the sky was still overcast, the hills were still breathtaking! There are many areas where you can pull over for an up-close view. We did just that several times. It’s a 24 mile drive to the other side.

Enjoy some of our favorite views.

Everyone sure looks small from the top of the parking lot!

This is certainly the most scenic road we have ever been on, next to the Iron Mountain Road. This is 1:26 PM and the clouds are beginning to thin, letting in more sunshine.

We found a sign talking about the journey to Wounded Knee, where we stopped on April 24.

At 1:44 PM we see this sign. Getting close to the end. We get back on I-90.

By 2 PM we arrived at the Ben Reifel Visitor Center on the other side.

We stopped inside for a few minutes. Lots of gifts to choose from in the gift shop. You can even eat at the Cedar Pass Restaurant inside.  We enjoyed chatting with the staff there about our visit to South Dakota and that we look forward to returning next year.

Two more points of interest we saw after leaving the Badlands.  The Prairie Homestead Visitor Center was the first place. A historical marker was here also.

Our last stop in this area was the Badlands Ranch Store, also the site of a LARGE prairie dog town. We arrived here by  2:25 PM. Open since 1967, it has been a tourist destination for generations. We could not go in since it wasn’t open yet.  The store is open during the busy season, from mid-May through mid-September. They sell unsalted peanuts so you can feed them.

One of the little critters greeted me, I didn’t have any peanuts unfortunately.

And the BEST part, take a selfie with their big groundhog, we did! Same pose too!

A great way to cap off our visit to the Badlands. The views are incredible and there is so much to see and do here.

Wall Drug in South Dakota


April 28, 2017

Wall Drug Store is one place you must see if you visit South Dakota. My dad came here a log time ago and said we needed this unique place on our itinerary. We stopped here on our way to the Badlands to see what the buzz was about.

This place is big so allow yourself plenty of time. We spent about 90 minutes here, a whole day is really needed to see everything. It is not just one store but MANY stores. We explored the main store on the left. That alone was big enough. Another new store was going up.

We entered the main building, it looks like an old west scene, complete with characters to take selfies with.

Even Zoltar the fortune teller.

There is even a chapel inside the store, very beautiful! Quite an interesting story of its history too.

Just before leaving we stopped in the ice cream shop for a treat. As always, ice water is free.

Also the gift shop, what do you choose?

You could easily make a day of this place, we had a hard time leaving but the journey continues. Be sure to bring your camera!

South Dakota Potpourri-Rest Stops and More!


April 24-29, 2017

In our 6 days in South Dakota we saw a lot of interesting things between our main destinations. We encountered historical markers we had to stop and read. The rest stops alone were worth taking a few minutes to see.  We will be showing you places not covered in our other posts since the visits were short.  We covered the state from end-to-end horizontally.

On our journey we explored three rest stops along I-90 in South Dakota.

We will begin with the first rest stop on the state border just after leaving Minnesota.  This is the Valley Springs Rest Area. See a map of the other rest areas we visited, all impressive!

We are informed of what highway we are on.

The rest stops in SD are clean and attractive, also many contain a picture display of major attractions in the state.  You can see it at the corner of the building.

At this rest stop there are several markers, the first is Minnehaha County, where we were. Let’s read it.

A Purple Heart Memorial Highway marker is also there.  

Another distinguishing feature of South Dakota rest stops is the large teepee-like structure at most of them, and there is another marker there also.

The 2nd one is on the other side of the state in Spearfish . This is the Northern Hills Rest area, near the Wyoming state border.

The most interesting rest stop is  the Medicine Creek Rest Area.

Also called the Presho Rest Area, located in the middle of the state. This was the 3rd rest stop.  This rest stop commemorates when the Lewis and Clark Expedition crossed this area. There is a LARGE  Sacagawea statue on a hill overlooking the Missouri River, great view from the hill! You can see the community of Chamberlain below.

The white bridge is the historic Chamberlain-Oacoma bridge, dedicated on September 25, 1925.

The Lewis and Clark Memorial Bridge on the right, the one we crossed to get here.

Many signs and plaques to read here, an important area to be sure.

============================================================

Some parts of our trip took us off the main highways and we passed many markers we didn’t previously know about.

This one is in Bridgewater, west of Sioux Falls.

Also this one in Humboldt in Minnehaha County, we saw both of these on our way to Sioux Falls on Day 5 of our trip. The famous Pumpkin Center marker. It is two-sided.

We saw this on the roadside on our way out on Day 1. Porter Sculpture Park. It is located in Montrose, SD. It wasn’t open for the season yet 😦

 

We wished we could have stopped in De Smet to see one of Laura Ingalls Wilder‘s former homes, but we didn’t have the time on this trip.

A seemingly infinite regression of power lines going to the horizon.

Did you ever hear that song, “Eat at Joe’s”?  Well, you actually can in South Dakota.

Here is the song if you don’t know it.

It’s official name is Joe’s Cafe in Alexandria. You can’t miss the friendly Sinclair dino at the driveway, great place for a selfie!

 

 

Here’s Joe’s, I heard it is a popular place!

We discovered this beautiful place on our way out on day 1, the Snake Creek Recreation Area.  We got video driving through it too, our first experience of the changing terrain from the eastern edge of the state. It is just west of Platte.

The long straight road after leaving here.

Soon we arrived in Winner for gas, we  saw a McDonald’s that looked straight out of the 1970’s!

Shortly after that we entered the Rosebud Indian Reservation.

In Okreek we saw Calvary Episcopal Church,  adding interest to a largely treeless land.

The landscape is beautiful too, this hill can be seen from here.

We came across two other markers in Martin on our way to Wounded Knee.

 The first marker refers to the Civilian Conservation Corp.

The second marker, a plane crash occurred near here.

 

That about covers odds and ends of South Dakota, more added after our 2nd trip there in 2018.

 

 

Belle Fourche SD-Center of the USA!


Day 4 / April 27, 2017

After leaving Sturgis, our journey took us to Belle Fourche.

It just so happens this is the geographical center of the United States and there is a really great marker here.  It is located at the Tri-State Museum and Visitor’s Center.  The states represented are South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. There wasn’t enough time to stop in but there was plenty to see outside.

This is a lug tractor, named for the studs on the back tires.

There is also a great historical marker describing this unique spot.

There is also a bust of George Freeman Mortimer, a man who contributed a lot to the health and vitality of the citizens of South Dakota.

Belle Forche is also important geographically in another way, it was an important part of The Great Cattle Trail .  That would not have been possible without the railroad.

There is also a historic log cabin at the museum too.

Peace Flowing Like a River sculpture.

You can also take a walk on the Belle Fourche River Walk from here.

And now for the best part of the museum, the center of the country!

A fun but short visit here, about 15 minutes from 1:13 to 1:27 PM.  We continue onward toward Devil’s Tower in Wyoming.

Sturgis-City of Riders


4-27-17

Sturgis  is a city of 6,627 in Meade County, South Dakota and is known as the City of Riders.  That’s because it is the ground zero for motorcycle riders and a HUGE motorcycle rally. We made this one of our stops on our way to Wyoming and wanted to see it since a friend of mine has been there.  Sturgis is best known for their big Motorcycle Rally every August. Sturgis also has a radio station that follow the rally, KNKL.

The first order of business was having lunch. The place that was recommended to us was Jambonz   Grill and Pub.  The owner Sheree Schriver came out and chatted with us a few minutes while we waited for our food, which was delicious!  Al had a club sandwich while I had the catfish, yum!

A couple doors down is Sturgis Guns, an employee there told us about Jambonz, thanks!

Just down the street is a historical marker dedicated to Charles Nolin, a Pony Express mail carrier. He was ambushed and killed here by Indians on August 19, 1876.  This was still a very dangerous territory then.

After lunch we spent about 1/2 hour exploring downtown. Sturgis want people on the highway to know what community they are passing, so they put “STURGIS” in large, friendly white letters on a nearby hillside.

Downtown is the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum. On the left side of the building is a poster of a photo taken during the motorcycle rally.  The street is FULL!  This is the community’s biggest event of the year.

On the other side of the building.

Photo by Al Kutil

There is a lot going on here, some landscape work being done, new curbing and other improvements being done. See here for the many places to shop in Sturgis.

On our right is the historic Sturgis Armory building.

In front of the armory is a sign describing the bricks in front of it. It is the Sturgis Brick Project.

The city is in the process of replacing the sidewalk with engraved bricks. They are off to a good start!

The historic bank building on the corner of First and Main, built in 1886.

Love this view, the motorcycle museum would be on your right. The Knuckle Saloon is on the left.

As expected, there are tattoo parlors here, more than one. Sturgis Tattoo in a historic hotel building and The Tattoo Cellar. Since we have no tattoos and have no knowledge on the subject, read this article first before deciding where to go.

There are many places to get a souvenir downtown on this block.

Sturgis Denim and Lace

Hot Leathers

Sturgis Photo and Gifts

Tom T’s and Big Al’s Swap Shop

And now for motorcycle dealerships.  Sturgis has a Harley Davidson and Indian Motorcycle. We never saw them before!

It was time to go, we had a great visit in Sturgis, friendly people and a biker atmosphere.

Ride on!