View Full Version : South Dakota-Badlands, Black Hills, Etc.

07-19-2018, 05:20 PM
I just returned from my first long haul trip in our 5th wheel to eastern South Dakota. Great trip and worth to time spent planning and driving. There are some things that I would do differently but I would do most things the same.

If you are planning to visit there I recommend planning your stay in two parts. It worked well for us. The first half of our trip we stayed just outside of Rapid City. This gave us a great base for visiting Badlands National Park, Mt. Rushmore, Custer State Park, and experiencing the city and what it has to offer. I was unsure if I could do Needles Highway and in particular Needles Eye Tunnel in Custer in a DRW truck but have no fear it is very doable in a dually. You just have to take your time. If you visit Rapid City then try Armodilla Ice Cream. I highly recommend the armodilla sundae. Camped at Rapid City RV Park. Great location. It was not new and plush but a great location to do stuff and if you can get a reservation in the back of the park there is a great view. Very friendly staff.

The second half of the trip we stayed right outside of Deadwood. It gave is a great platform to experience Black Hills National Forest, Spearfish Canyon, and drive into Wyoming and go to Devils Tower. The town of Deadwood itself was a little disappointing. Basically just casinos. Spearfish Canyon was the best part of this area to me. Great views and nice waterfalls. We camped at Steel Wheel Campground. Easy access to sites, fishing, and atv recreations trails. Don’t purchase the firewood there. All pine and softwood. Way too much smoke.

Travelled through LA, TX, OK, KA, NE, SD, IA, MO, AR, MS and back to LA. Saw a lot of corn, wheat, soybean, hay fields. Mostly took scenic routes when possible.

Wouldn’t do much very different. If you can avoid it do not not tow your fifth wheel through Shreveport, LA on I-20. It is in terrible shape. Had minor interior damage inside my trailer as a result. Avoid it like the IRS.

Yellowstone is next in late August.

07-19-2018, 06:49 PM
We did a similar trip. We went to Cody, WY to Yellowstone NP, DuBois, WY to visit Grand Teton NP. While in DuBois we also drove to Lander visiting the Wind River Reservation. We then stayed in Rapid City and visited Mt. Rushmore and Custer State Park; we did these 10 years ago, but some things have changed. We're currently in Cheyenne, WY for Cheyenne Frontier Days.

If your going to Yellowstone, Take Highway 16 from I-90 or I-25 into Cody. We stayed at the Buffalo KOA located on 16 between I-90 and I-25. Took off in the morning for the ride thru the mountains. It is a very nice ride, no steep climbs or descents. Early into Big Horn NF, we were stopped by a few Moose moseying across the road. West from Cody, on 14 just west of Buffalo Bill Dam there is a great state park campground, Beautiful views from the campsite.

07-19-2018, 08:31 PM
I did learn that I love that part of the country. This will be my first trip to Yellowstone. We are actually staying on the western side of Yellowstone. I’m looking forward to the trip. We are going to do stops in Albuquerque, Moab, Jackson Hole, then to Yellowstone. I’m having to deadhead it all the way back to New Orleans at the end to get back in time for a football game.

I see you’ve been full-timing for a decade. That’s amazing. My wife is trying to nudge me toward it when I retire. Not quite there though. I love going out but I also love coming home. Time will tell.

07-20-2018, 09:03 AM
Thank you for the info--been there once, need to re-visit. FT for a year now, still figuring it out.
My condolences for having to live in NOLA :)

07-20-2018, 04:23 PM
Joe, Joe, Joe. As many drawbacks as Nawlins has, no other city in the country has a Mother's Restaurant, nor food of equal quality.....:D

07-20-2018, 07:09 PM
Haters are gonna hate. Wouldn’t trade my shady spot on the lake for anywhere else. We brought a bit of south Louisiana to South Dakota when we were there. Crawfish etouffe, gumbo, bread pudding, and blackened fish were all prepared and shared with people camping around us.

07-20-2018, 10:08 PM
Well, in your travels, find your way to Mary's Cafe in Strawn, TX, for a championship chicken-fried steak. Hint: don't expect to be served faster than an hour, and don't order the large size unless you have a big fridge for leftovers.


It's not on the way to anywhere, so take a map....

07-20-2018, 10:47 PM
I’m going to Weatherford and Caddo in August. Can try it then.

07-21-2018, 08:30 AM
Still gonna be real hot down there...

07-21-2018, 09:07 AM
WhoDat, "Crawfish etouffe, gumbo, bread pudding, and blackened fish were all prepared and shared with people camping around us." As soon as I read that line to my DW she immediately wanted to know when you were going back to South Dakota and mainly, what time do we eat?
And Wingnut, I watched the video.....I don't believe I could eat the big one.
It slightly resembles a sandwich found in Iowa and Indiana. They are both very, very proud of their pork tenderloin sandwiches. And with good reason I might add.

07-21-2018, 09:35 AM
I agree, the pork tenderloin sandwiches/meals in Iowa are pretty good...