Saturday (7/1) we decided to take a tour of Rapid City even though we didn’t see anything mentioned in Trip Advisor that just grabbed us. But we are near it and we have never been there so it just made sense to check it out.
Rapid City was founded, and originally known as “Hay Camp”, in 1876 by a group of disappointed miners, who promoted their new city as the “Gateway to the Black Hills.
A small group of men, laid out the site of the present Rapid City in February 1876, which was named for the spring-fed Rapid Creek that flows through it. A square mile was measured off and the six blocks in the center were designated as a business section. Committees were appointed to bring in prospective merchants and their families to locate in the new settlement. The city soon began selling supplies to miners and pioneers. Its location on the edge of the Plains and Hills and its large river valley made it the natural hub of railroads arriving in the late 1880s from both the south and east. By 1900, Rapid City had survived a boom and bust and was establishing itself as an important regional trade center for the upper mid-west.
The population in Rapid City now sits at just under 70,000 people so the size is in the middle of what we like , between 25,000 and 100,000 but we just didn’t really warm up to the place during our short tour. Don’t get us wrong, it has everything you could possibly want or need and it has a nice little green belt downtown but for us what lies in the surrounding areas are of the most interest.
So after a driving tour, a visit to Cabela’s and Scheel’s and after a stop for a late lunch we headed home and just chilled the rest of the day and just chatted with a couple of the neighbors.
Sunday (7/2) after our morning routine we jumped in the truck and headed towards Needles Highway.
As we mentioned before we had ridden all of this area on motorcycle trips years ago but it’s still fun seeing it again even though the view through windows isn’t as good as off the back of a bike.
We stopped at a few spots to take in the views and even took a couple short walks.
One stop being Sylvan Lake where we had intended to just take the 1 mile walk around the lake but ended up on a couple side trails, one called Sunday Morning Gulch.
The Sunday Morning Gulch Trail was rated medium strenuous on the sign and after walking in part way we decided that we didn’t come prepared to do it on this particular outing, wrong shoes and cameras dangling off our necks like typical tourists LOL!!
But we did walk in part way from both ends of the trail and after reading about it once we got home it sounds like we hiked the toughest parts and the easier parts were in the middle where we didn’t get and where the best views were, oh well, next time. Better safe than sorry.
Once we finished Needles Highway we dropped back into Hill City to pay a visit to the Miner Brewing Company that we missed the other day and another visit to the Prairie Berry Winery and to have a bite for lunch.
We sampled a few more wines and then headed to the brewery for a beer and lunch but if we were to do it again we would have eaten lunch at the Winery, it had a much wider variety on the menu and the food looked great. We just opted to eat at the brewery to avoid the line but that was a mistake. So a word to the wise, eat at the winery LOL!! Oh, we had the pork belly tacos.
After lunch we figured what the heck, let’s take a drive up by Mount Rushmore, it was only about 15 miles away. Well holy cow, everyone else had the same idea!!
It wasn’t bad going up the way we did but the traffic coming from Keystone was backed up for a couple miles so we just kept right on going. We have been to Mount Rushmore 2 or 3 times in the past so no harm no foul for us to skip it.
By then the day was starting to ware long so we opted to head on home and call it a day, and another good day it was.
Monday (7/3) was the last day our 7 day pass was good for to get into Custer State Park so once again after our morning routine and a chat with our neighbors we jumped in the truck and headed towards the park and the Wild Life Loop.
On this particular ride it seemed you couldn’t help but run into Bison at almost every turn. It was almost like they knew it was a Holliday weekend and they had an obligation to put on a good show for everyone.
We took so many pictures you would think it was the first time we had ever seen a Bison LOL!!
After driving through the park we made another run into Custer and walked the streets a while before heading to the Budlin Bull Restaurant and Sports Bar for a little lunch. “We tried to eat at the Black Hills Burger and Bun Company which is rated #1 in town by Trip Advisor but it was a 45 minute wait to get a table so we opted for the #3 rated place. We already ate at the #2 rated spot a few days earlier”.
After lunch we jumped in the truck and drove to the Windy Cave National Park for a driving tour before heading back into Custer State Park where once again we found the Bison still on the job LOL!!
Then it was time to head home and call it a day, another long tour day. We are still living up to the vacation mode we seem to be on this summer. Oh, I gave a new found friend at Hart Ranch a call and asked if the offer was still good for us to come in as his guest to play a little Pickelball and the answer was a “YES” so you can guess our plans for the next morning.
Before calling it a night we tossed a dozen eggs in the Instant Pot so we could make Deviled Eggs for a 4th of July gathering that our neighbors (Bill & Mary) are throwing together for anyone that didn’t have plans for the Holliday.
Tuesday JULY 4th we got up and around, jumped in the truck at 7:30 and headed to Hart Ranch so we could be at the Pickelball courts by 8.
It was already in the low 70’s by the time we started playing and it was in the 80’s by the time we stopped playing at 10:30 but we had a great time.
A little whooped and hot we headed home for showers, a little lunch and to finish the Deviled eggs before kicking back inside hiding from the heat until it was time to gather for a BBQ with other fellow RVers.
About 30 people showed up at Bill & Mary’s and most people brought a little something to share while our hosts supplied hot-dogs & brats along with the condiments and desert.
One of the guys even brought over his guitar and provided some live music.
I think we finally strolled home close to 8:30 where we watched some fireworks that were being fired off a short distance away.
Yet again another great day but that brings an end to our stay in this area, yup Thursday will be another travel day and it’s time to kick it in the butt a little and move east. Our next 2 or 3 stops will just be 2 nighters, not our typical normal style.