South Dakota Road Trip - Day 1

9:19 PM

This post is being brought to you from my iPhone (bad pictures) and the plains of South Dakota!
South Dakota, home of Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Wall Drug, Deadwood, Sturgis, the Badlands (where Dr. So and so was when he was invited to Jurassic Park) and a million other attractions. It is also where we have been this week, and if you have been following me on twitter you could virtually join us. Anyway, here are the highlights so far.

Yesterday was our day to see stuff around Rapid City. First we drove down to Custer City to see Jewel Cave National Park. Don't get too excited, it is not a diamond encrusted cave like the name would have you believe. It was kind of like an inside-out geode and every now and then there was some sparkly stuff.

Our tour guide

And as you could guess there is no cell phone service inside the cave. Oh and by the way, the Rand McNally app is pretty lame.  We bought their atlas before the trip and they suggest downloading their app, it's just a random tourist site every day and has no trip planing capabilities whatsoever.

Jewel cave also had this cement box outside the entrance that was for testing your capabilities of climbing through tight openings. I guess you would have to fit through if you want to go on one of their spelunking tours. Of course we made Marcus (Matt's Son) climb through for our amusement (he's a good sport like that). We did take pictures, but I didn't use my phone, so I'll have to update this post when we get home.

Here is a picture of the picture.

On our way back from Jewel Cave we stopped at Prairie Berry Winery, one of the winery's along the road. We kept seeing billboards for their Red Ass Rhubarb wine. They seem to specialize in fruity wines. Other than the rhubarb wine, I tried the strawberry dessert wine that was like sweet alcoholic strawberry juice. I didn't buy any of that. We did get the rhubarb whine and the Buffaloberry Fusion.

Next up was Bear Country U.S.A.! It's right outside of Rapid City. It's a little cheesy, a little expensive, and completely worth it! It was basically a drive through loop with wolves, buffalo, elk, and of course BEARS!



These two bears walking down the road came so close to the car.  At first I thought one might climb on top of the car but they just walked around both sides.  They were so close that I could have rolled down the window and pet them.  And yes, we did get just a little bit nervous!!

After you finish the driving section you can park and walk through Baby Land! It really should be called small animal land with baby bears. There were creepy badgers, grizzly bears (I guess they don't play nice w/ the other bears), a peacock strutting it stuff for some ducks (equal opportunity gigolo), lynx, otters, and probably 30 or more baby black bears. Those baby bears were just too cute! They're like regular babies in bear suits!


Confused Peacock


Grizzly Bears


Then we finished up the the day at Mount Rushmore. We didn't stay for the evening light show, Matt is about a day or two behind me in the cold I got before we left, but it was really interesting to see. Below the viewing area is an exhibit that has tools used to create the monument and a video. They even still have the flag that covered part of the mountain during one of the dedication ceremonies.

Real Geological Tag for Mount Rushmore

Here are all of our lovely souvenirs we bought for the day. Our wine that I mentioned earlier, a magnet from the winery, a Mount Rushmore ornament, and 2 geological markers from Jewel Cave and Mount Rushmore.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll post about the next day, which includes the Badlands, Wall Drug, and if we get there before they close the Museum of Geology.


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  1. Those baby bears are too stinkin' cute!
    I was going to ask if you all were going to see these but then I realized they were in N. Dakota. I'm sure the Dakotians (?) don't like it if you mix up North and South. . .Whoops! It looks like you are having fun:)


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