After sleeping soundly despite the risk of a big grizzly bear thinking our camper was a can of spam, we were up early once again and heading into the sunrise. Our goal was to reach the Black Hills and the parks and monuments within. We drove through Bighorn National Forest and were amazed by it’s beauty, truly one of the most beautiful things we saw throughout our trip. We were awed by it’s grandeur!
We decided that someday we’d like to go back and hike the Bench Trail through the park, we took a photo of the sign to remind ourselves.
We took the extra time to stop at Devil’s Tower. It’s such an interesting place.
Then we were off again toward the Black Hills. We actually drove south and reached Wind Cave National Park before sunset. Elk Mountain Campground was very nice, our favorite from the entire trip and quite a bargain at only $12 per night!
Once again we were up with the sun and the bugling bull elk in the morning. The sunrise was especially lovely that morning. We drove through the park and spotted all kinds of interesting wildlife, including some pronghorn which we hadn’t really seen yet until this point in the trip.
We then set off up the winding road with pigtail bridges and lots of tunnels that goes through Custer State Park toward Mt Rushmore. This trip offered tiny glimpses of Mr Rushmore between the trees and at one point it was framed at the end of a tunnel. A perfect way to head to the monument and highly recommended to anyone thinking of heading to Mt Rushmore.
We were quite disappointed with the commercialization of Mt Rushmore, so we didn’t stay very long, only about 15 minutes. Sadly all the stuff they’ve built up around it really detracts from the memorial. So we hit the road with Badlands National Park on our itinerary.
We camped that night somewhere in South Dakota and were up early for a long drive across South Dakota and Minnesota the next day. We stopped at Mitchell’s Corn Palace on our way and then drove until we reached the Maple Grove Campground in Iowa that evening.
We celebrated our last night camping with a hot dog roast (we purchased these dogs at a small butcher shop in Seattle) and we relaxed late into the evening by a fire.
The next morning we were up early for a hearty breakfast of eggs and bacon and set off to visit Seed Saver’s Exchange (more on this part this visit later).
After staying at Seed Savers until after noon, we headed off and hit the highway in an effort to reach home that evening. It was a few hours after midnight when we finally arrived home.
All in all we traveled 7500 miles, used 29 tanks of gas, traveled through 12 states, visited 9 National parks and 5 National monuments. It’s the longest trip Mr Chiots and I have taken together and good practice for future trips which will be much longer! Check my Flickr Photostream for more photos of each part of the trip, I’ll be uploading them as I have time.
What’s the longest trip you’ve ever taken?
Other posts from this trip:
Tiny Trailer Travels Part I
Tiny Trailer Travels Part II
Tiny Trailer Travels Part III
Tiny Trailer Travels Part IV
Tiny Trailer Travels Part V
Tiny Trailer Travels Part VI