Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1

    Default Back From The Black Hills


    Just wanted to give everyone a recap of my trip and offer thanks for some of the advice I received during planning. My dad and I went from Northern California to the Black Hills.
    Basically we had 9 days, so we had to cram some major driving into 4 of these days.
    Day 1 - Left Lodi, CA around 1 p.m. and drove to Wendover, UT.

    Day 2 - Left Wendover and drove to Scottsbluff, NE. Had some luck in the casino before we left and then drove pretty much straight through. 670 miles. We were supposed to stop at Panorama Point in Nebraska and the three corners, but it was late in the afternoon and we were in the middle of an ugly thunderstorm.

    Day 3 - Woke up an went to Chimney Rock. I was taking pictures when my dad yelled "look out." Turns out there was a rattler coiled up about 15 inches from my right foot! You know how they say white men can't jump? Well this one did! Haha. I really liked Chimney Rock. Beautiful place and the history surrounding it was pretty awesome.
    From here we drove up to the top of Scottsbluff National Monument and did the short hike to the overlook. Great view. I really enjoyed Nebraska. Very peaceful. The drive up 71 was nice and quiet. Our last destination in Nebraska was Toadstool Geologic Park. The gravel road is heavily rutted for the first two miles and nearly undrivable, but after that it smoothed out. Worth the drive though. This is a pretty cool place. We were supposed to go to Warbonnet Battlefield as well, but the radio had a weather warning for a big thunderstorm in the Agate area, so we skipped that and started towards Rapid City.

    Day 4 - We got up in Rapid City and visited Mt. Rushmore. This is something I recommend every American to do. The detail of this monument is amazing. We then drove the Needles Highway and then spent the rest of the day driving the dirt roads in the wildlife loop of Custer State Park. Really worth the trip here, lots of game. We then were on the verge of another thunderstorm so we went back towards Keystone via Iron Mountain Road. Someone had told us the best place to see Mountain Goats was at Rushmore, so we decided to drive back up there for a quick stop. Just happened to be four of them right next to the entrance gate.

    Day 5 - Took a trip out to the Badlands. This might just be the neatest place on the trip. Had some more rain, but it was intermittent. Still the terrain was extremely muddy and we were unable to do The Notch Trail. Saw about 10 bighorn sheep, including 4 babies we watched running around the side of a steep Badland formation like it was nothing. For us, after five steps, our boots had about five pounds of mud stuck to em, making that feat much more admirable. Made the obligatory stop in Wall on the way back to Rapid City.

    Day 6 - Started the day by going to Crazy Horse. It was actually snowing on us up here and pretty darn cold. I was amazed by how little they have gotten dome in nearly 60 years. Makes me realize that I'll never see it completed in my lifetime, which is kind of disappointing. After Crazy Horse we drove up to Spearfish Canyon and did some fishing, also drove into Roughlock Falls which is beautiful and the valley they filmed the last scene of Dances With Wolves. That night we spent in Deadwood. I really enjoyed gambling in Deadwood. So much more laid back than Vegas or the indian casinos here in California. $2 minimums on 3-card was a welcomed sight too.

    Day 7 - Visited Mt. Moriah Cemetary and paid our respects to Wild Bill. Then drove to Devil's Tower in Wyoming. Another neat rock. Did the Tower Trail around the base, would of stayed longer but we were trying to make Little Bighorn before it closed. We got to Little Bighorn Battlefield about 4:30 p.m., just about the time another thunderstorm hit. We did loop road and by the time we made it back the storm had passed over. This has always been a main destination on my list and it did not disappoint. What a neat place to visit. From here weren't sure which way to start home, we had plannned going back through Casper and hitting 80, but we decided to go home via Montana, so we stayed in Billings for the night.

    Day 8 - Drove straight through from Billings to Elko, NV. This day was taxing, took a bit of a detour by staying on 90 and going through Butte.

    Day 9 - Got up early and drove the final 470 miles from Elko.

    All in all, a great trip. We tallied just over 3700 mile and spent $665 in gas. Saw almost everything that we set out to see too, except for Panorama Point and hiking Harney Peak in SD. Can't wait to get back out on the road again.

    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-30-2007 at 09:34 AM. Reason: added some white space for ease of reading

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Keithville, LA

    Default Sounds like a Blast

    I read your report with special interest since I'm fixing to head that way myself in early July. But - it snowed? Eep - I think that would freak out this Louisiana girl. It's been 6.5 years since we've had any snow in Shreveport. I wouldn't know what to do.

    I'm glad you had a good time and it's really making me want to hurry the next month along (well - except for my weekend in Indianapolis for the US Grand Prix).


  3. #3

    Default It really did

    Hey Laura,

    Yeah we did get some snow. It didn't stick, but it was still kind of a surprise since it was in the 70's the day before. July will probably be much warmer. From what I understand, May and June is thunderstorm season out in South Dakota. I wish I could get back out there!


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Spend any time around Butte?

    Quote Originally Posted by packman View Post
    Day 8 - Drove straight through from Billings to Elko, NV. This day was taxing, took a bit of a detour by staying on 90 and going through Butte.
    Besides having a huge strip mine, there is a lot of western history in Butte -- were you able to spend much time there?

    Brett, I really enjoyed your field report!


  5. #5


    Ah yes, snow in the Dakotas. It was probably ten or twelve years ago now, but I remember brushing six inches of the white stuff off my truck at 530 am and by noon it was nearly 80 degrees outside. When travelling through those areas, one needs to be prepared for anything. Sounds like you had a great time.

  6. #6

    Default Not much time in Butte

    Hey Mark,

    Didn't get to spend much time in Butte. We stopped to get gas and a sandwich at Quizno's. I really wanted to head up to Big Hole Battlefield, but we were tight on time and I was still hoping to squeeze in the Craters of the Moon in Idaho (which we were unable to do). That was a 760+ mile day as it was.
    I'm gonna try to post some pics from the trip when I get home tonight, I'll link it here once I do.


  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by packman View Post

    All in all, a great trip. We tallied just over 3700 mile and spent $665 in gas. Saw almost everything that we set out to see too, except for Panorama Point and hiking Harney Peak in SD. Can't wait to get back out on the road again.

    Too bad. Harney peak is rather pretty - the Cathedral Spires (name? don't remember, was a long time ago) are beautiful. The whole area up top at the high point is cool - the old fire station, and past that is a neat little caldera that you can hang out in. Not a lot to see but pine trees, but the hike is really worth taking. You should go back just for Harney :)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Thanks for your great trip reports

    I almost feel like I was right there with ya. I, too, can't wait until you go on another trip so you can come back here and share it with us, too.

  9. #9

    Default Thanks

    Thanks for the kind words Judy. You won't have to wait too long..haha..I'm supposed to take a little 4-5 day excursion up to Oregon to see Silver Falls State Park and visit Bend. I'm still workin on the pics too. For some reason I can't upload them to my photosite from home. I did get a few up on this page though:

    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 06-08-2007 at 09:28 PM. Reason: Preferred URL Format herein

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