I guess I lied about me not traveling anymore. My roommates & I decided to go on a spontaneous road trip to South Dakota to see Mt. Rushmore! Well, actually.. Jaime and I have been talking about South Dakota for the past 2 years. We knew last weekend would be the perfect weekend to go for Jaime’s pre-birthday weekend! We kind of had a plan before we left but all plans got shot when we found out that there was no cell service in WYOMING.
We left Orem Friday night around 6:30PM and decided to drive through the night to get to Black Hills National Forest in the morning. Google Maps & Siri said it was going to be about a 10-11 hour drive. Jaime drove the first 4 hours and then Camille took the wheel from 10-1am. Luckily, Camile is a clutch driver because we missed on of our exits to get on a different highway and Jaime somehow had service and Siri led us astray to some sketch abandoned factory. We were literally driving on dirt and unpaved roads. SO SCARY! We decided to turn back around and keep going on a different highway and Camille said she kept seeing deers alongside the road so she was being extra careful. I started falling asleep and woke up suddenly because a deer darted across the road in front of us and we almost clipped its legs!! Camille swerved to avoid it which caused us to swerve more… man, that was so scary. Just picture 4 girls screaming in a car in the middle of the no where hahahaha.
We tried to find a place called Hippie Hole in Black Hills National Forest. Since there wasn’t a direct address to hippie hole on google, it led us to the entrance of Black Hills and we decided to go in and just sleep in the car in the parking lot until daylight. We arrived around 5:30AM. We all passed out in the car until about 8AM and that’s when the visitor’s center would be open. As we were waking up, a whole bunch of cars were parked next to us and probably were wondering what the heck are these girls doing.
We found out that we were at the entrance of Jewel Cave! Kari told us stuff about it before but it would cost $11/person. So we definitely didn’t want to pay. hahaha BUT, the ranger told us that it was National Public Lands Day and that all National Forests are free the entire day! So we got free entrance to a 1 1/2 hour tour of Jewel Cave! The Cave was pretty fun.. Maybe I was just tired from the long drive but, I was not really interested in cave walls… hahaha it was interesting though.
After Jewel Caves, Jaime met a cute older couple at the gas station and they were locals! They told us about an event going on called the Buffalo Arts Festival at Custer State Park. We decided to check it out and it was packed! There were tents of people selling hand made jewelry, crafts and yummy food! We found a line of people eating food so we were curious and decided to check it out. We found out that it was a line to sample dutch oven cooking! There was a dutch oven cook off earlier in the day and after the judging is done, all of the entries give out samples to the public. Man, Dutch oven cooking is so bomb. You can make anything in there! I also bought buffalo chili cuz I was trying to be cultured.
After the festival, we headed to Mt. Rushmore! The place we drove 10 hours to see! What Jaime has been waiting over 2 years for! When we got there, it was an amazing sight! I thought it would be bigger but it’s still so amazing. We hiked the presidential trail, visited the Mt. Rushmore museum, and took lots and lots of pics. Did you know that 90% of Mt. Rushmore was made out of dynamite?
After Mt. Rushmore, we were beat. We checked into our hotel, which we got a free upgrade cuz we told the lady that we slept in our car last night.. she felt super bad for us. hahaha so we ended up getting a suite! SWEET huh? We went to the town of Keystone, SD for dinner and ate at Ruby House Saloon. A very vintage, antique restaurant where the waitresses are dressed in old style fancy dresses. You know the ones you see in those old photos you take? So for lunch I had that Buffalo Chili and for dinner I ordered Bufallo Ribs. SO YUMMY.
The next morning we packed up and headed to Crazy Horse Memorial. Crazy Horse is an Indian Chief back in the day who helped his village the best he could. He died with great honor and now the city of Black Hills wants to remember him by creating a mountain monument of him. It’s actually pretty sweet and you can see it from the highway. We came on the right weekend because, 2 days out of the entire year, tourists are allowed to hike up to Crazy Horse and stand face to face with him. It’s called the Autumn venturewalk. It was 6.2 miles and unfortunately we didn’t have time because we had to get back to Utah!
Thanks for reading everyone!