Burros and Badlands

Our photo safari in Custer State Park, SD seemed more like a trip to the petting zoo rather than a wildlife quest. The Bison acted even more casual and indifferent to visitors than their Yellowstone cousins.

Custer State Park-2   Custer State Park-1

Burros, not indigenous to the area, begged for attention and tourists petted them through open car windows.   The “real” wild life eluded us but we enjoyed the scenic drive.

"Don't Sing Donkey!"

“Don’t Sing Donkaay!”

The road took us over the infamous Needles Highway, a 14 mile winding stretch through narrow granite tunnels and hairpin curves which a fellow tourist described as “a great effort in cooperation”. Cars took turns entering the one-way tunnel from both directions as excited tourists stood inside posing for photos!

Custer State Park-9  Custer State Park-5 Custer State Park-3  Custer State Park-8

This rugged Black Hills highway, named for the slim granite peaks prevalent in the area is home to the Needles Eye, a granite formation that looks like the eye of a needle. The spires are a favorite spot for rock climbers and we just couldn’t resist…..

Custer State Park-6


NO…that’s NOT us! But what a great photo opportunity! Greg jumped out of the car with his monster lens and a voice rang out from the top of the spire. “Would you mind taking a photo of us?” Well, that’s exactly what we had in mind. “Can you send me a copy?”, the brave climber asked. “Absolutely!”, Greg shouted up. “What’s your e-mail address?” Now that was probably the most unique way of making new acquaintances on the road!  Thank you Chris (and your wife!) for a fun photo experience.  Safe climbing!

Custer State Park-7


We concluded our Rapid City adventure with a visit to the nearby South Dakota Badlands, a place where seemingly endless, flat prairies stop and drop into colorful, deep craggy canyons. Fittingly named by both the Lakota and early French Trappers, it is no wonder they dreaded traversing the Badlands. In awe, we trekked up to panoramic viewpoints and peered over cliff edges with our buddy, Steve Quai. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright described the area as “a distant architecture, ethereal…., an endless supernatural world more spiritual than earth but created out of it”.

Badlands-1  Badlands-3

Badlands-4  Badlands-2

Badlands-6  Badlands-5


We snapped back to reality with a visit to Wall Drug. Located minutes from the park entrance, in Wall, SD, this store has quite a history, lots of quirky attractions and is a tribute to good old fashioned faith, hard work and ingenuity (http://www.walldrug.com/t-history.aspx).


My favorite part (no, not the jackalope!) is the wall with photos from all over the world…at the Great Wall, Mt. Fuji, etc. with people holding signs saying “Wall Drug, Wall, SD”. As we gazed at the photos, we met a woman taking a photo of her uncle’s photo posted on the wall.

Farewell Rapid City, SD…..Hello Mesa Verde, CO (will be reporting on this from Moab, UT…where did the time go?!)

Categories: On the RoadTags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Hi Guys!! Nice pics!! I am so envious of your journey. Guess what? I am at work this morning. Still a slave. Hope you are having a great time!!


  2. Rosanne, You guys are seeing the most beautiful and picturesque scenery in this great country. One day Es and I may take the trek.

    I ran into an old coworker from the jail. Ask Greg if he remembers James Yancy. He remembers Greg and said to say hi for him…. so, “HI!”



  3. great pictures! think about you guys all the time, glad you are having such a great time.


  4. What a great site! My husband & I eloped in Custer City, SD while we were on our first big RV trip. We went Jackson Hole, WY, then Yellowstone, then Mt. Rushmore & that whole area you guys went thru, including the Bad Lands on the way home. Really good pics. Feel free to visit our web/blog at http://www.ConservativeRV.com We hope to be full-timing next spring – then the real adventure starts!


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Rosanne Wagstaff

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