All things hopeful, of course, we are beginning to plan our summer trip (June-July) for this year. I have some questions for you all that have traveled a little more extensively and more recently in these areas than we have:
We'd like to visit Mount Rushmore, Wind Cave, and Custer State Park. (I've been to the first and the third, but not since I was a kid. My husband has been to the first, also as a child, but has not been to Custer or the Cave.) At first, I thought Rapid City would be a good base for operations there. Now, really looking at the map, it seems there are more central places. Any suggestions? Motel, of course, is our way to go this trip.
Traveling from this area, the next minor stop would be Devils Tower (neither of us have been there), followed by several days in Yellowstone. First things first -- trying to pick a reasonable route. I'm torn between two routes: 1) Going to Cody via I-90 and then Alt-14, or 2) Going to Cody via US-16/20. Then going through Yellowstone the following day to find our lodging, stopping as we go, and spending 2 more full days on "the loops". Both of those routes above are shown as gorgeous. I also seem to recall my dad complaining about towing Powder River Pass, but that was many, many years ago. :-)
We were unable to secure any lodging in Yellowstone itself, even 6+ months ahead of time. That, of course, is typical. We are thinking of staying in West Yellowstone -- any suggestions about where to get reservations? Something very reasonable, does not have to be a chain, just decent.
Another area we hope to visit is the Headwaters of the Mississippi River. Once again, this is a place where one of us has been but not the other. Since I went to college along the Mighty Miss, I'd like to see where it all begins. Does anyone have a suggestion about where to stay in that area of MN? Since it will be a 2-night stay, and not on a weekend, it would be lovely if it had cabins. We will be coming there from northern WI, where I have a cousin that I haven't seen in years and would love to visit her.
It also looks like we may try to get two Laura Ingalls Wilder places on our trip. One is Marshfield MO (home of Rocky Ridge Farm, where she wrote the books that my daughter and I have loved) and the other is DeSmet SD. We'd like to stay near DeSmet -- we would be coming from Minneapolis, seeing the DeSmet museum that day, and then finding a hotel afterward for the night before heading towards Rapid City the next day. If anyone has an idea of where we might stay in that area, that would be great.
For now --