Day 4 384 miles Total 1545

Hill City Travel Blog

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I woke up to a beautiful morning, fresh brisk air and a beautiful sunrise. Although, at the time I was a little inebriated from the night before with our next door neighbors. The plan today was to drive 370 miles to Rapid City and camp there for two days. However, on the drive over we decided to stay a few extra days to relax and for the most part, not be in the car. I had called to make a reservation at the KOA in deadwood, this old restored western town, but they were booked. Sturgis started monday and bikers were already making the ride down. I called another KOA close to Mount Rushmore in Hill City. They spaces available so we made a reservation for a campsite there.

Along the route through South Dakota, we stopped at the usual tourist traps along the way, Mitchell's corn palace and Wall drug.
Wall Drug begins advertising about 300 miles pior; billboards everywhere. Mitchell's corn palace, a gymnasium now, was built originally by the towns mayor to promote the town as a retort to Lewis and Clark. When Lewis and Clark came through the area, they said the South Dakota territory was uninhabitable. To probe them wrong they built a palace decorated with the crops that were grown in the area to show how fertile the land is. in hope to attract new settlers.

Between Mitchell and Wall drug is about 250 miles of nothing, and I mean nothing. Endless fields on gentle sloping hills. I couldn't imagine crossing this on foot or even horseback.

At Wall drug the motorcycles were lined up and down the street, everywhere. Hundreds of people were walking up and down the street in and out of all the indian tourist junk stores.
My sister and her boyfriend went browsing through the junk stores while my father and I retreated to the watering hole. It was incredibly hot, around 100 degrees, and the only thing we craved was a cold beer. From the outside the bar didn't look like much, but when we entered it revealed a deep saloon. We ordered a couple beers and the bartender was sort of cute, winking at me when I said thank you for the beer.

Wall drug, as the story goes, started as a way to increase business at a drug store that a young couple from Sioux Falls purchased. They gave their investment 5 years and all through those 4 and a half years, the drug store business never grew. Towards the end of their commitment to the drug store, they noticed the increased traffic on the road and hoped to lure this traffic through their store.
The wife, Dorthy, came up with the idea of offering free Ice water to the travelers as a way to get them to stop in their store. The husband began to make signs advertising and by the time he came back to the store cars were already beginning to stop. As they were running around filling glasses, many of them bought an ice cream or something from the store increasing the business. The following year they hired 8 girls to help keep up with the thirsty travelers and thus began the birth of the oasis, Wall Drug.

It's amazing that through the praire there is absolutely nothing, and once you come close to Rapid City, hills just start to protrude out of now where. One minute its flat and the next we're struggling with the toyota to pull the trailer up the hill. The badlands is a nice break to the 300 miles of nothingness before it.
However, when you reach the heart of the black hills it's incredibly beautiful. The smell in the air is also different from all the pine trees around you.

We pulled into the KOA around 4 o clock and walked into the enormous campground general store / registration as close as a campground can get to a resort I think. They assigned us a plot of land to set up our tents, but when we came to it, it was on the side of a hill. Not a flat spot, picnic table in sight. There was barely enough room to park a car. My dad went back and complained about the campsite and they moved us to the end of a section of pull throughs with electric and water at no addition cost. That was nice, and so was the grass at this sport for our tents.

We set up our tents, in which now, we were getting more proficient and unloaded our bikes for tomorrows ride.
For dinner that evening we had hamburgers and corn, corn being a campground favorite, but the hamburgers were amazing. We bought some meat from Wal-mart earlier in the day that was organic supposedly, a little expensive but it tasted great. The best burger I've had in awhile. Although, when my dad makes the hamburger patties, they resemble more of a meatball rather then a hamburger. A quarter pounder doesn't come close to the size of this burger and your mouth can barely grasp a full bite. We had a few beers with dinner and headed to bed for a fun day of riding the motorcycles and most importantly, no sitting in the car.
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Hill City
photo by: WaltJake