19 Vipers, 21 club members and their guests totaling 34 people had a great adventure and traveled out to South Dakota. Saturday morning, we all met at the Belvidere Oasis on I90 and headed to Rockford. Matt Schutte lead us to the Stagecoach Trail and had a nice ride through there and were in Iowa before we knew it. We stopped for lunch in Waterloo and headed back on the road to our hotel in Sioux City, IA. We all gathered for a nice dinner in the Crave Restaurant in the hotel before settling down for the evening. Sunday morning we left Iowa and headed into South Dakota. Our first stop was the beautiful stature of “Dignity: of Earth & Sky”. This 50 ft beautiful sculpture was designed to honor the cultures of the Lakota and Dakota people and represents their courage perseverance and wisdom. After a short visit, we stopped for lunch at Al’s Oasis. Then we headed west again and traveled through the Badlands. Wow and Awesome is how you’d describe the Badlands when you first see it. Beautiful rock of all colors winding through 20 miles back to the expressway. We stopped along the way and took pictures and some of our club members were adventurous and climbed out on some of the rocks. After the Badlands, we went a short distance to Wall Drug Store and had dinner and some had ice cream too! We finally arrived at the Deadwood Mountain Grand and settled in for the evening. Monday, we headed to Spearfish Canyon and had a great drive through some curvy roads. We stopped at the Spearfish Falls and took many pictures. We continued on our way to Cheyenne Crossing to view a historic Stagecoach stop and browse the General Store where many bought souvenirs. We then continued down the road to Moonshine Gulch where we came to a gravel road. Found out the road for the next 10 miles was gravel so had to turn around and go back to Cheyenne Crossing to get to the Railroad Station where we were to have lunch and take a train ride from Hill City to Keystone. We were running very late but made it in time to board the Steam Train, whew, by 5 minutes. On the train, we had our “Bandana” lunch and enjoyed the breezes of the train and learned a little about the train and the gold mines along the route. After the train ride we headed back to the hotel for a nice dinner at Saloon #10. There was a reenactment of a shoot out on the street below where we were sitting and Mark thought he had been shot and dramatically fell to the floor. Everyone thought he really was hurt! Tuesday, was a busy day and we headed to Crazy Horse Monument. We tour the museum, viewed the mountain sculpture, watched an amazing Native American performance of music and dance, and had a nice lunch at the Laughing Waters Restaurant. Because it looked like it was going to rain, we headed to Mt Rushmore. What an awesome view of the 4 president heads! We took many pictures, walked the trail close to Mt Rushmore and just as we were leaving, it started to rain. We decided to postpone the Needles Highway to the next day because of the rain and decided to head back to the hotel. Dinner was cancelled but we felt bad about cancelling so before we got back to Deadwood, we turned around and went back to Powder House for dinner, and it was worth it, very good and couple people tried Buffalo Filets. Wednesday, we headed back towards Mt Rushmore and drove the Needles Highway. Pretty cool curvy and hair pin curves and a couple of tunnels to go through. We also stopped by Sylvan Lake and what a beautiful lake. Needles Highway was a favorite of everyone and a great driving experience. Then we traveled through Custer Park and onto Iron Mountain Road. We got over half way through Iron
Mountain Road and they were chipping and taring the road so we turned around and headed back down the mountain. From here we traveled one and a half hours to lunch. Since we had to turn around, we were quite late, 2-1/2 hours late but Gail at the R-Deli was ok with us being late, she was just glad we showed up. This Deli had great sandwiches that are all special homemade each day, delicious. Then we traveled over to Devils Tower and walked 1.3 miles around Devils Tower. What an amazing piece of rock and views around this massive rock. By now it was close to dinner time and we traveled to Buffalo Jump Saloon for dinner, very nice. Thursday, we headed to Sturgis, the famous motorcycle place and went to Full Throttle Saloon where the TV show was filmed. What a great place! It had hugh tooling machines in the place and the set from the TV show was behind the building. Some members tried various shots and brought back Full Throttle Moonshine! The lady of the place told us there were 40,000 motor cycles in her parking lot during Sturgis week where they have band performances. After visiting Full Throttle, we headed to the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and looked around. Some walked around Sturgis and then we all met at Knuckles Saloon for lunch. After lunch, most of us headed to Rapid City to tour Landstrom Black Hills Gold Jewelry Factory. The tour was great and we learned how they molded the pieces, filled it with silver or gold, added the stamped leaves and make each mold into a beautiful piece. Then we were taken to the show room where many of us bought Black Hills Gold Jewelry! Then we headed back to Deadwood for our last nice dinner of the trip. We headed to Mavericks and reservations had been made but they said they don’t take reservations. After everything was figured out, we were seated within 10-15 minutes and the dinners were delicious. Friday morning we headed out and decided to go back through the Badlands. Took many pictures and enjoyed the views again but from a different direction. We left the Badlands and headed towards the Iowa hotel. Once at the hotel, we ordered some pizza and had a good time in the lobby eating pizza and talking about what we had seen. Then the lights went out!! No electricity and no air conditioning! They were doing construction outside the hotel and something was cut. We were without electricity from 8:00pm – 2:00am. Many of us stayed in the lobby because the rooms were very dark. Saturday morning we all headed out towards home. Had a couple of car problems going home but everyone got home safe and sound.
What a great cruise we had out to South Dakota. Lots of driving but also lots of beautiful views and driving curvy roads. If you haven’t ever been there before, this is a great vacation spot. There is more to see than just Mt Rushmore. Thank you to everyone that was in this cruise. I believe everyone had a great time, even with all of the “Adventures” we had! Here are a few of the “Adventures”:
Sunday & Monday: - One member took a wrong turn and drove in a parade! - Mattress on road and it flew up and over Randy’s car, semi ran over mattress and almost ran into JohnG - Drove over a dead raccoon and one of the legs stuck under car – smelled really bad!! - Rock flew up and cracked windshield, dealership was ordering windshield and should be replaced by time we leave on Friday - Driver’s side window regulator broke and wouldn’t roll up, had to leave car at dealership, parts were ordered and they would fix – good thing we had an extra car on this cruise! - Radiator cap overflow - Left gas hose from gas pump in car and drove off! - As soon as we arrived at hotel, one member went down to do a little gambling and won over $600!! - Ran into gravel roads and had to turn around - At dinner in Saloon #10 there was a shootout in the street below where we were sitting. Someone in our dinner group thought they were shot and fell to the floor very dramatically! Tuesday: - Rained in the afternoon, couldn’t drive curvy roads so started back to hotel and cancelled dinner plans at Powder House – felt back and went back to Powder House for dinner and sun was out again Wednesday: - Road Construction of oil and chips on Iron Mountain Road, had to turn around and go back out the way we came – made us late for lunch and dinner - Lost wallet and found it - 2-1/2 hours late for lunch at R-Deli bc we had to turn around on Mountain Road - 1 hour late for dinner to Buffalo Jump Saloon Thursday: - Losing speedometer and air conditioning bc of starter problem – had to keep recycling starter - No dinner reservations on file, found out they don’t make dinner reservations, but were seated within 10-15 minutes Friday: - Car back with fixed window – yah - Cracked windshield was to be replaced this morning, didn’t happen, windshield didn’t come in before we left - Camper blew tire and debris flew and a piece stuck under Ron’s car - Power outage in hotel from 8:00pm – 2:00pm – no air conditioning
- Took a lantern to the lobby bathroom, very dark! - We sat in lobby – some talked, some drank and partied! - Some went up to their very dark rooms and tried to sleep - One person, laid down and put the chain/bar across the door - Power on, Security escorted one to their room bc didn’t have a key card, opened door and found the chain/bar was across the door! Had to wake spouse up and he asked, who’s that guy? Saturday: - Ben’s car blew a front tire in Ft Dodge, IA. Car put on a flat bed and driver took to his house for security reasons. John’s guys from Roanoke went to pick up the car Monday morning. Ben had to get a rental car to get home - Joe’s car overheated outside Waterloo, IA. Stopped and tried to fix – he got home ok. - And found out that there were 4 windshields that will have to be fixed due to chips in windshield! Everyone got home safely by Saturday night!