Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sights of South Dakota

South Dakota was a great place for a destination race!  The race was great and there was enough to do and see in the area. We stayed in the Celebrity Hotel in historic, downtown Deadwood, an old Western town. 
Downtown Deadwood

The lobby of our hotel looks like a casino because it is.  It is filled with movie memorabilia and slot machines. In fact every business had slot machines of some sort. (The Beatles' drum set is right above the front desk/cashier station.) Not shown in the photo are the Wheel of Fortune machines where I won $75!! The hotel didn't look great from the lobby, but the rooms upstairs were very nice with large, marble and granite bathrooms.
Herbie the Love Bug
Our two favorite places in town were the Pump House for coffee and a delicious homemade cinnamon roll...

and the Chubby Chipmunk for truffles and ice cream.
This is the automatic truffle machine for those after hours truffle cravings.

Deadwood sits at the foot hills of the Black Hills. (Named for the dark pine trees that cover the hills, looking black from afar.)  There are many state and national parks nestled around the hills and some natural and man-made sights to see as well.

Our visit to Mt. Rushmore was amazing!  I am having trouble finding the words to describe this monument, it is both breathtaking and inspirational.  Having only seen photos of this in history books, I was awed by the size and grandeur.  It is so large you can see it throughout the Black Hills, long before you get there.  We visited on such a gorgeous day that our photos look the postcards they sell in the gift shop.

Andy, me and my sister Wendy
Rock climber to the left of Jefferson's chin
We walked the mile loop around the monument and paid $5 for the self guided audio tour - it was so worth it.  I learned tons about the history and making of this masterpiece which took 14 years to complete.

Perhaps a less well known monument, but just as incredible is Crazy Horse.  Although started in 1948 this monument is still being constructed. The process has been slow because the memorial has not accepted any federal funds. This monument is much larger than Mt. Rushmore. In fact, all four faces of Mt. Rushmore would fit on the head of Crazy Horse.
Crazy Horse
Those are people you see in the photo because the day we visited was the one day each year (Volksmarch) when you can walk the 6.2 mile loop to climb the memorial.  We did not know about this until we arrived and decided not to walk it because we were running the half the next day. We found out after the race that many runners including marathoners, did the walk, so I felt kind of wimpy after hearing that.

When complete, the carving will look like the model in white. You can see they have a ways to go.

Custer State Park gave us chance to see some natural beauty and some local wildlife.
Needles Highway

This was a tight fit.

This guy and two of his friends were just grazing on the side of the road. They look docile, but signs in the park remind dumb people that buffalo are dangerous and you should not approach them. I'm sure they didn't need the sign until someone got too close.

History came alive for me during this trip. South Dakota was a fabulous destination and I am so glad we picked it. It has pumped me up for some more places to visit!

Do you have a suggestion for a great destination race?
What fun places have you run races in?


  1. Awesome trip! I've never actually been to South Dakota (as far as I know), but it looks really cool!

  2. I love your life! So awesome how you travel to all these new and exciting places and run!

  3. I can say that prior to seeing this I would have never considered going to any of the Dakotas. But this looks so cool!!


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