After our two nights at Spearfish, it was time to get back on the road. This was going to be a long travel day; our destination was Cody, Wyoming, and a Holiday Inn rather than a historic inn. With different scenery, too.
Unfortunately, this wasn't a fabric shop, but with such a terrific name, it warranted a photo.
After our three nights at Custer, it was time to get on the road again. There were other destinations! Not far away was Spearfish Canyon, and we took our time getting there. Our home was to be Spearfish Canyon Lodge, a beautiful, elegantly rustic place with a lovely lobby, immense fireplace, and spacious rooms. We found a stuffed buffalo toy waiting for us on our bed, available for purchase in the gift shop.
Our room was on the second floor, not far from the hot tub which we enjoyed on our first evening. Spearfish is located about midway between Deadwood and Lead. We didn't have any particular interest in either town, but thought we should put in an appearance. Deadwood was full of casinos, but we did find a fine, old-fashioned saloon for dinner (I like fine, old-fashioned saloons). There was the requisite sawdust on the floor and an appropriately rough-looking clientele, but when we said we wanted dinner, we were sent upstairs to the "social club," where, unfortunately, the waitresses were wearing traditional garb rather than the corsets I'd anticipated. Atmosphere to the contrary, the walleye was delicious!
The next morning Joe got up early and went out to lie in a gulch to wait for animal sightings while I had the good sense to sleep in, enjoy the lobby area, and catch up on postcards. Upon his return, we were off to Lead, home of a museum dedicated to the gold mining era. Our guide there, like every other guide we met on this trip, was knowledgable and personable and I enjoyed the mining museum much more than I had anticipated, despite some of the dangerous individuals in the area.
Near the end of May, we left home for a trip that Joe has wanted to do for quite some time. We were gone for two weeks. We flew into Rapid City, South Dakota after changing planes in Denver and as soon as we had picked up our rental car, my very wise husband said, "You mentioned a quilt shop in Rapid City. Let's go there first." The Quilt Connection, Etc., turned out to be a terrific place! Mindful that this was Day One and that we were going to have to personally carry home any purchases, I limited my selections to a collection of FQs for a baby quilt. Soon we were on our way to Custer State Park where we stayed for three nights at the State Game Lodge, a place that Presidents Coolidge and Eisenhower had both enjoyed visiting.
The lodge was beautiful. We had a buffet breakfast there each morning and enjoyed their dining room in the evenings. Our stay was just before the "season" was to open, and the wait staff in the dining room was a bit green, but we found them to be charming. The food was lovely; we tried bison and elk both.
The morning after we arrived, we went out on a safari to see wildlife, and wildlife we did see: antelope, western meadowlarks, deer, bison, and a prairie dog or two. We were the only participants on this particular safari; perhaps others were deterred by the temperatures which were in the upper 30s! I had on my shirt, sweater, and coat, and was wrapped up in a blanket with my scarf holding my hat on my head and my hood on top of all of that! Everywhere there were signs cautioning us not to approach the buffalo, warning us that they can move at remarkably high speed and are not to be trifled with.
One afternoon we drove up to see what the Bad Lands were all about. We found them to be gorgeous and unusual and were surprised to learn that these formations had pushed their way up out of the sea originally.
Of course we visited Mount Rushmore, undeterred by the falling snow and again wearing more clothes that we though would be expected in June. We liked it!
And a brief stop at the famous Wall Drug was in order, too. We were unimpressed.
One afternoon we drove to a place famous for hot springs. Considering the snow of the previous day, hot springs sounded good, but our destination was a woolly mammoth archeological excavation site. It was fascinating.
We saw so many animals: buffalo by the bazillion, prairie dogs, antelope, elk, mule deer, white tail deer, eagles, osprey, big horn sheep, and long horn cattle. Sometimes the animals were distant and we had to use binoculars or the close-up lens of Joe's camera; other times, they were almost within touching distance.
And speaking of within touching distance, Custer is home to a group of fourteen burros that pretty much hang out together. The day we saw the mammoth dig, just after re-entering the park, we were fortunate to see the burros gathered in a field across the road. We stopped the car to take pictures and before we knew it, we were making new friends! So much for all those signs about the danger of getting too close to wildlife! They ambled right up to the car and politely asked if we just happened to have any grey poupon crackers and fortunately we did! This was totally unexpected on my part and one of the absolute high points of the trip. I found myself putting my hand right into a mouth with these big soft lips and chiclet-like teeth, and laughing, laughing, laughing with delight!