Wednesday, June 26, 2013

2012 Trip to South Dakota

June 2012 traveled from Montana to South Dakota.

As we traveled east out of Montana we could saw many wildfires in progress and the smoke was thickening.  We entered into Spearfish, we could see the air drops from Helicopters and at one location towards Rapid City roads were closed and could see the flames.  This was a scene we followed from Montana all the way into Colorado.

This trip was a little exciting as the weather was not in our favor the day we left.  We traveled down from West Glacier along the east side of Swan Lake encountering some heavy rain, lightning and winds.  We finally got to Missoula and got back on I90 east.  Sue took over driving for a while and as we got closer to Wyoming we hit some heavy winds and had to get off the Interstate at a rest stop along with many trucks and RV's and wait for the winds to die down.  We got to South Dakota and checked in at Elkhorn Ridge RV Park and Resort in Spearfish, SD just off I90.

This RV Resort and Park was so well laid out with large lots, level and full hook ups.  They can handle any size RV's.
From Spearfish, we went to visit our friends who use to live in NH who now live in Lead, SD about 8 miles away.  Lead, SD borders the city of Deadwood the town where Wild Bill Hickok was gunned down in 1876 supposedly holding the famous "Dead Man's Hand of a pair of Aces and eights". 

Deadwood has been featured a few times on the "Ghost Hunting" when they visited a few sites there.

Deadwood is noted today for its casinos.  The newest one being that of "Big and Rich" Deadwood Mountain Grand.

Location is as they say everything, close to Mt Rushmore, Custer State Park, Windcaves National Park.  We still have to see the Badlands, Devil's tower, Sturgis and many more places on our return trip.

Custer State Park is one of those places we like to revisit.  The bison, donkeys and antelope run wild or just walk down the road stopping a lot of traffic.  We do not argue with them, its their back yard.  Another "Needles Highway" one of those roads that was not made for RV's.

These donkeys were going from car to car looking for handouts.  Many people brought supplies just in case they would be held hostage waiting for food. 

It is hard to believe that tour busses that are 40 + feet in length actually go thru this tunnel and sometimes there are kids that like to jump on top of the bus and jump off.  They jump from the left side where there is a small flat area and then exit on the right to another flat area.  The driver cannot do anything as he could not open the door even if he had to.  No, we did not try to bring our RV thru it.  We traveled in a Jeep Wrangler. 

Another repeat stop is Mt Rushmore.  The walk down the Hall of Flags and the scene above the amphitheater is always impressive. 

June 2012 Montana, South Dakota Late posting

Again this is for our trip last year (2012) to Montana.

As we traveled north on the east side of Glacier National Park from St Mary's Lake we entered into "Many Glacier" portion of the park. 

We entered the park and visited the Many Glacier Hotel  a beautiful lodge setting on the banks of the Swiftcurrent Lake and the trailhead.  The hike around the lake was very easy and enjoyable with the scenery.  We had to avoid a couple of the trails as they were closed due to bear sightings.  We agreed and took another trail "No Problem". 

Again Glacier National Park is a must return to see more including the Canadian side of Waterton National Park. 

Glacier National Park, Montana June 24-26, 2012

June 2013:

Update from June 2012.  We have had issues with our blog site and apologize for the late posting.  We had a great trip from Washington state to Glacier National Park. 

Travel from Olympic National Park Washington to Glacier National Park in Montana was a 2 day trip, first day was spent in heavy traffic from Olympia to Tacoma to Seattle and onto I90 east and in heavy rain.  We finally got to a rest area outside of Spokane and spent the night.  The next day was just beautiful weather and drove across Idaho and into Montana exiting in Saint Regis and headed north to West Glacier, MT.  We checked in to the North American RV Park and Yurt Village, located just 5 miles from the west gate to Glacier National Park a perfect location to travel from. 

We traveled the park from West Gate to East Gate via Logan's Pass via the "Going to the Sun Road", about a 50 mile one way trip.  The most disappointing thing was the Apgar Visitor Center at the edge of Lake McDonald.  It was very plain and mostly a do it yourself self explanatory site, no movie or slide presentation about the history of the park.  When we entered the West Gate entrance we got a map of the park and use that as a guide.  The road passed along Lake McDonald where we stopped at many scenic views and took a lot of pictures, you cannot have enough pictures of the same mountain,  stream or waterfall.  Sue had to soak her feet in the lake and while walking down another path to see the view, I took a picture of her and behind her was a deer who also wanted her picture taken.  (over her left shoulder in the trees)

As you travel thru the park you will see what they call "Big Red Bus Tours" buses.  These buses were built back in the 1936-1939 by the White Motor Company and in 2001 were rebuilt by the Ford motor company.  They have a fleet of 33 buses at Glacier, there are between 60 and 70 of these buses still in existence,  Glacier has the largest number in their fleet with the remaining in the other National Parks.  They hold 16 passengers and are in good weather open top.  They offer many different tours around the park.

Along the "Going to the Sun Road" there are many pull offs to views of the lake, streams, waterfalls and just beautiful hikes along the streams.  The days we were there were just beautiful.  The road across Logan's Pass opened just a couple of weeks before we got there.  The snow levels at the Logan Pass Ranger station was still somewhat heavy.  We hiked about 1/2 mile up the mountain in our sneakers, glad we bought some snow shoes a few years ago and we left them in the RV, not the first thing we failed to bring on a hike.  The weather at the summit was at first was very foggy, but it cleared as we had a picnic lunch.  We then hiked up the trail towards Hidden Lake, we got about 1/2 mile and then turned around as the snow got a little heavier.  A lot of snowboarders and skiers we on the mountain.  We left there and continued our travels East to Saint Mary's Lake and the East Gate.  We visited the Visitors center at the East Gate and there they had a 15 minute video of the park's history and had a more interactive staff there.  One thing as you have to keep an eye on is wild life crossing the road.  We had to stop and let a bear cross the road in front of us and we got our answer to the famous question that "Yes" Bears do do their thing in the woods, and at the East gate entrance was an Osprey nest with guest.

Weeping Wall along Going to The Sun Road


As  you can see the temperature to walk the snow covered hills was great.  A little while later the skies changed and did look threatening.  We continued on eastward to St Mary's Lake and then drove north to Many Glacier another region of Glacier National Park and it border Canada's Waterton National Park which make Glacer and Waterton an Internation National Park.  We did not cross into Canada as we did not have our passports with us so we are going to plan another trip there in the future.