October 7th Devil’s Tower, WY
On Friday morning we had breakfast in the hotel, packed and started our return for home. We drove East on I-90 and took the cut-off for Devil’s Tower National Monument. We arrived at Devil’s Tower around 3:15 p.m. Upon entering the park the ranger asked if we would be camping there. When I had done research months ago, I didn’t see anything about a campground. This was perfect and we said yes. She gave us instruction and then we found a place to park. We visited the park visitor’s center, and then took a short hike half way around the Tower. We were able to get great pictures.
When we were done we drove to the campground and picked out a great campsite.
October 8th Mt. Rushmore N.M., Crazy Horse Monument, & Custer State Park, SD
We got up early to take some sunrise photos of Devil’s Tower and then we headed for Mt. Rushmore National Monument. We arrived at Mt. Rushmore mid-morning, visited the gift shop and walked the grounds getting some great photographs.
We then drove to the Crazy Horse Monument. The entrance fee was $22.00, a bit steep. The construction started in 1948 and is funded by private funds. We watched a movie on the construction, walked the grounds and got our photographs. We visited the gift shop and had lunch before we left. The face of Crazy Horse was finished and unveiled in 1998. The family of the original sculptor has continued on with the construction. I’m afraid it will be completed well after our lifetime.
From Crazy Horse we drove to Custer State Park. We took the 18 mile nature drive, seeing deer, pronghorn, bison, and donkey’s.
It was an interesting drive. The park had their annual bison roundup the weekend before. Apparently it is a big thing and there are large crowds.
We then headed for the Needles Drive. This was a series of switch back roads that take you to the top of the mountain and some very beautiful rock formations that they call “The Needles”. There are several tunnels that required my pulling my driver’s side mirror in. Susan said I had an inch to spare on the passenger side.
It was a little before 4pm and we decided to get some highway behind us. We drove to Wall, SD and got a room at the Best Western. That was a waste, as Badlands National Park was 5 minutes away. It was getting dark so the hotel made sense and we wouldn’t have had time to see any of the park the next day (Future trip for sure).
October 9th – 10th Travel Home
We drove to Iowa City, IA and stayed at the Marriott Residence Inn. We walked across the street to the Longhorn Steakhouse and had a great dinner. Monday morning we headed for the house, arriving back in Carmel, IN around 3pm
This was a great trip consuming 4,653 miles over and 18 days. We spent 12 nights in the camper, 4 nights in hotels going and coming, and one night at the Grand Hotel in Big Timber, MT. In hindsight I wish we had planned some State Park Camping along the way to cut the hotel costs. My wife likes to mix in some hotels, so I’m sure the before and after won’t go away, but some adjustments can be made. Thanks for following along.