South Dakota

So many activities, so little time.  City of Presidents is the nickname for Rapid City where there are forty life size statues of former presidents on the downtown street corners.  That was how the Frugal Diva learned that she and President Madison were around the same height.   The Journey Museum takes you on an incredible trek through time as it tells the story of the Black Hills through interactive displays. Try on old clothes and read original letters from settlers while seeing how the geology of the area brought gold miners from all over the country.

If you watched Deadwood on HBO, it’s time to see the real town and the cemetery where all the characters were buried. Casinos are the new outlaws in the area however it still retains the feel of the Old West.  Move on to Lead and tour a gold mine.  These were harrowing jobs where men and later women spent eight hours underground alongside mules.

SD10 383The Indians wanted to represent their hero in a monument to Crazy Horse.  Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski and Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear officially started Crazy Horse Memorial June 3, 1948.  The Memorial’s mission is to honor the culture, tradition and living heritage of North American Indians.

Flanked by towering limestone cliffs, this 20-mile route along US 14A, cuts through Spearfish Canyon. A forest of spruce, pine, aspen, birch and oak covers the hillsides while Spearfish Creek flows along the canyon bottom.  Bridal Veil and Roughlock Falls are highlights along the route. Stay at the Spearfish Canyon Lodge and enjoy a ZD10 165babbling brook, hikes along the falls, and delux accommodations. We paid $80 (with a AAA discount) for a beautiful double room. Please check for current rates.

How many remember Close Encounters of the Third Kind?  What a great opportunity to hike around Devil’s Tower and see if the aliens left anything behind.  This 1347 acre park is covered with pine forests, woodlands, and grasslands. Deer, prairie dogs, and other wildlife are seen. President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed Devils Tower the first national monument in 1906.

The all time dinner deal for meat eaters is the Alpine Inn in Hill City. Order a perfectly prepared bacon wrapped filet mignon. baked potato, Texas toast with a starter salad of  lettuce wedge and ranch dressing.  Choose between the 6 oz. for $11.95 and a 9 oz. for $13.95 and pay in cash. If you would like a glass of wine, they are mostly under $6.

Custer State Park has unobstructed views of herds of buffalo, elk, wild turkeys, and burros so friendly you pet them from your car window. This is indeed where the deer and the antolope play. For those so inclined there are camp grounds as well as reasonably priced motels.

If you want a area with lots to do both indoors and outdoors, visit Mt. Rushmore and the South Dakota area. The Frugal Diva was amazed at how friendly people were and how easy it was to get around.  Living in Los Angeles it’s exciting to be able to park for a nominal fee and drive across town in five minutes during rush hour.


  1. marvin | 11th Aug 10

    i was there last year and it was a fantastic trip. sturgis, for motorcycle people is also very close

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