After spending two nights around Minneapolis in State parks we made our way to South Dakota. Our first stop was Sioux Falls where we found a motel to stay in for the night. There wasn’t much to see in Sioux Falls so we just spent the evening relaxing and catching up on some sleep.
The following morning we headed off excited to see the famous Corn Palace in Mitchell. Every USA citizen we met couldn’t believe that we had taken the detour to see this thing – especially since we had come all the way from New Zealand. It is basically a stadium built out of corn. Every year they change the outside design (kind of like Neil’s firewood wall mum and dad). Let’s just say it smelt like popcorn. It was aMAIZEing (Bryce’s joke).
From the famous Corn Palace we kept on driving to our destination of the Badlands National Park. We had planned to camp in the park but unfortunately the campground was closed for winter. We instead found a place to set up camp in a very small town called Wall Drug, which is famous for its drug store of all things. There was still snow on the ground in Wall Drug so it was a very, very cold night!
We woke early the next day and set off to explore the Badlands National Park via their scenic route. It was pretty spectacular as you can tell from the pic’s.
Following our journey through Badlands National Park we headed off to see the Mount Rushmore National Monument. It was a little smaller than what we imagined but it was still amazing. We’re glad we made the time to go.
We’d already had a jammed packed day but decided to keep exploring. So our next stop was a drive around Custer State Park which was located quite close to Mount Rushmore. We took the wildlife loop road and got to see plenty of cool animals such as Buffalo and deer. Buffalo are huge and we had to be patient a couple of times while they were crossing the road.
Our final destination that day was Hill City where we found some inside accommodation, as it was far too cold to camp at this stage due to heavy snow still on the ground. Two weeks prior to our arrival South Dakota had had a massive, unexpected snowstorm. We noticed while driving through South Dakota that there were lots of dead cattle piled up on the side of the road. Bryce got talking to a local farmer and it turns out the snow was so thick and so unexpected that it caused 100,000′s of cattle in the State to die. Very, very sad and we felt horrible for the farmers. Also, because of the government shutdown they didn’t get the help that they needed to clean up after the mess.
Moving on from that sad story – we continued the next day to Deadwood. Deadwood is a famous old western town. Bryce and I had been very into the TV series called Deadwood and we were happy to find out that a lot of what happened in the show was actually true. We spent a lot of time exploring places that we had heard about on the show. Our favourite spot was the cemetery where ‘Wild Bill Hickok’ had been buried – he’s a famous character from America’s wild west days. We also had dinner at the bar where he was shot and killed.
From Deadwood we drove into the State of Wyoming. Our first stop was to view the Devils National Monument but the highlight were the pierre dogs we saw on the way. There were SO MANY and they’re SO CUTE. Apparently they have the plague. I don’t believe that – I think the rangers just want you to stay away.
We continued on from the famous Devils Monument to Cody, a small town not far from Yellowstone National Park. We found yet another motel to stay in and enjoyed a dinner at a local rib house which Bryce was very happy about.
We woke early the next day excited to drive through Yellowstone National Park. What an absolutely beautiful place and a perfect location to spend our last full day in the USofA. We spent most of the day exploring the beautiful lakes, mountains and geysers. After our expedition through Yellowstone, we hit the road again to set up camp for the night in Great Falls, Montana, our final stop and final night in the USofA.
And that is where our trip in the USofA came to an end as the next day we crossed over the border back into Canada.
What can we say? This trip has been a once in a lifetime experience and we’ve loved every minute. We have seen so many things – from mountains to desert to huge canyons to golden beaches to sprawling cities to cornfields (and that’s only the beginning). The USofA is certainly a beautiful country.
This trip has definitely made Bryce and I closer. Bryce was amazing throughout the entire trip and I couldn’t think of anyone better to travel with. He’s my road trip buddy for life. I hope we have plenty more adventures in the future.
We would repeat our USofA road trip again in an instant and know we have been extremely fortunate to do what we have done.
We’ve also been very lucky along the way…. for instance our timing was impeccable. We didn’t have to alter our plans for any unfortunate event along the way. For instance:
- We missed the fires at Yosemite National Park.
- We missed the flooding in Colorado.
- We left Florida before they had their first tropical storm for the season.
- The day after we left Washington D.C. the government shutdown began.
- We arrived in South Dakota after their devastating snow storm.
- We arrived at the Mount Rushmore National Monument three days after it reopened (it had been closed due to snow/government shutdown).
- We arrived in Yellowstone four days after it reopened (it had been closed due to snow/government shutdown).
So not only have we had an incredible trip but lady luck has definitely been on our side.
Oh, and we can’t forget Dorris. Our most reliable vehicle and shelter. We love you Dorris! Without you we wouldn’t have been able to do this trip.
We’re going to continue our blog every now and then with what we’re up to in Canada so make sure you have a look once in a while.
But for now good bye and thank you for sharing our adventures in the USofA.