We did a lot more sightseeing our last few days in the Black Hills. About four miles outside of Custer is the Four Mile Ghost Town on the sight of what once was a stage stop on the way west. We had a fun time visiting all the old buildings and listening to the stories of how the town may have once been. We stopped at the National Wood Carving Museum and enjoyed seeing a collection of complicated wood carvings done by of one man over his lifetime.
One afternoon we took a 160 mile ride through the Black Hills National Forest, the Wind Cave National Park and on into Wyoming. In Wyoming we drove through the town of Newcastle and then through miles and miles of ranch land before going back into South Dakota.
On Memorial Day I had another one of my brilliant ideas, a scenic drive on the Iron Mountain Road……not one of my better plans. It was very scenic 17 mile trip but the roads were very narrow with twisty turns up through the mountains and back down with hair-pin curves. At one point there is an area called Pig Tail Bridges, which is like a corkscrew with the road circling, by a series of bridges, over itself a bunch of times. Oh I forgot to mention there were three or four one-lane rock tunnels along the way. After living through the Iron Mountain Road experience, we stopped in the town of Keystone, a cute village near Mt. Rushmore. Many of the towns in this area have been restored to look like the way they would have in the late 1800’s.
On Tuesday we took a drive to Rapid City and on the way back to Custer we stopped at a couple of tourist attractions, Reptile Garden and Bear County USA.
Both of these places were great. At Reptile Garden there were all kinds of snakes, crocodiles, alligator, turtles, birds and lots of flowers. Bear County USA is a drive through animal park, with bears, wolves, elk, cougars, bobcats, buffalo and more. There is also a babyland area that you can walk through for a close up view of some cute little animals. It started to rain, the first time this week, while we were there so we had to cut short our visit there.
There are still a lot of sights that we haven’t seen in this area but we will have to save that for another time. The area of the Black Hills is huge, there are lots of camping areas, horse ranches, caves, hiking trails and lots to see and do.