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Old 07-14-2013, 12:44 PM   #1
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When to go to South Dakota?

Since we're still working, we can only get two weeks of vacation in the summer......so we've decided to make a trip with our 40' Diesel Pusher to South Dakota during 2014.

What is the best time to go? We can leave here July 5th at the earliest.....and July 26th at the latest. I'm assuming we need to make reservations now if we want full hookup and a good site. We are limited to the month of July due to work schedules.

What's the best route to take? What should we put on our list of "to do's"? We'll be traveling from the Ann Arbor, Michigan area. We'd love to hear from all the experts who are so well traveled out there! Thank you!!
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Old 07-14-2013, 12:56 PM   #2
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We live in Janesville, Wi. We will attend the Illinois Samboree over labor day week end, then leave for 3 weeks to the black hills and the badlands. July will be hot, HOT<HOT.. Do you want to go north from Ann Arbor, or south around the bottom of the lake.?? South on rte I80 is OK as long as it is NOT during rush hours. Thats what we will take and turn northwest from Omaha, Ne.
We plan on seeing all the attractions, drive all the scenic routes, needles highway, etc. Custer state park is a good bet. Have fun. Too bad you don't have another week.
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Old 07-14-2013, 03:18 PM   #3
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Hi Born2RV,
Delay the trip as long as you can. Kids in the Confederacy start going back to school in early August. Northern kids should be heading home to get ready to go back to school. I'm sure you can find all the big name attractions. I'd like to mention a few lesser know things to consider.
1. Minuteman Missile National Historic Site - Minuteman Missile National Historic Site You will need to make reservations for a tour. Only six guests are allowed per tour. You will see a launch complex for our Minuteman Missiles. You will also see a silo with a missile in it.
2. Badlands National Park - Don't just drive through it. Get out and take a short hike. At the Southern entrance to the park there is an amphitheater. At night it is so dark one can not see the hand in front of your face. If it is a clear night the sky will be full (and I do mean full) of stars. I have never seen so many stars. If you are patient, you will see Russian spy satellites flying overhead. They are keeping watch on our missiles.
3. Wall Drug This is at the west end of the Badlands National Park. It is a tacky tourist trap, but one must stop so one can say they were there. They make an excellent buffalo burger.
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Old 07-14-2013, 03:21 PM   #4
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Don't go early August unless you want higher prices and much longer wait lines. It's Sturgis time.
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Old 07-14-2013, 03:33 PM   #5
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We just spent 25 days in Rapid City, ending on 6 Jul. It was lush and beautiful, primarily because they had a very wet Spring. Jul is more likely to start getting hotter, and it was certainly turning dryer at the end of our stay.

As far as getting there, I90 across SD is among the best (smoothest) interstate rides I've seen. Of course, you'll always risk some crosswind, particularly in the Western part of the state.

All said, Western SD was a great visit.
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Old 07-14-2013, 04:53 PM   #6
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The Black Hills has enough to do and see for 2 weeks, and then some.

http://www.blackhillsbadlands.com/m/

Needles drive
Custer park drive
Jewel Cave and Wind Cave nat'l Monuments.
Homestake Gold Mine
Crazy Horse
Rushmore Tramway
Several National forests
25 museums
4 prehistoric sites
Deadwood
Sturgis Spearfish
On and on.
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Old 07-14-2013, 05:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSL417 View Post
We just spent 25 days in Rapid City, ending on 6 Jul. It was lush and beautiful, primarily because they had a very wet Spring. Jul is more likely to start getting hotter, and it was certainly turning dryer at the end of our stay.

As far as getting there, I90 across SD is among the best (smoothest) interstate rides I've seen. Of course, you'll always risk some crosswind, particularly in the Western part of the state.

All said, Western SD was a great visit.

x2 on I90.

I highly recommend spring or fall Dec- March can be a little cold and sometimes snowy. Aug and Sept can be very hot other than in the hills at elevation.
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Old 07-15-2013, 06:36 AM   #8
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Thank you!

Thank you for all of the great advice. I know when I come to this site, I hear from the most knowledgeable, helpful RV people around.

It sounds as if we should delay this trip until we retire in five years or so, and travel in May, June, or September for the best weather and wait lines?
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Old 07-15-2013, 08:21 AM   #9
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Thank you for all of the great advice. I know when I come to this site, I hear from the most knowledgeable, helpful RV people around.

It sounds as if we should delay this trip until we retire in five years or so, and travel in May, June, or September for the best weather and wait lines?
Naw. Just do it. You'll have A ball
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Old 07-15-2013, 09:03 AM   #10
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I was going to say, the first couple weeks of June, or the end of September, beginning of October, until you defined your available time to July. As has been said, it will be HOT in July. Early June is great weather, few of the kids are out of school yet and there will be a lot of buffalo calfs running around. Fall also has great weather and very low crowds. The annual buffalo roundup is also the first week of October.
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Old 07-15-2013, 09:48 AM   #11
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You will want to avoid Sturgis Rally for traffic, pricing, etc., unless you are a biker, which I am. Rally in 2014 starts August 6, but you will not want to deal with I-90 issues at fuel stops starting from August 3 on. The gas stations will be packed with Bikers using restrooms, getting fuel and resting.

I really like staying in Hill City area (Crooked Creek) as it is very centrally located to all the attractions. They also have a great trail system that is right next to the park.

July will be hot but if that is your available time I wouldn't let it deter you. I would make reservations sooner than later, but I find even going to the Black Hills near Rally date and overlapping a few days as we are this year getting a spot wasn't terribly difficult in Hill City area.

Hope you have a great time!
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Old 07-16-2013, 09:04 AM   #12
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I whole heartedly agree with the Hill City suggestion as a central location for your Black Hills area exploration. There are numerous campgrounds in the area. We've almost always stayed at the Rafter J Bar.
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Old 07-16-2013, 09:15 AM   #13
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I stayed in Custer last year. It was the week after the Sturgis rally. Great weather and the crowds were gone. I love to ride motorcycles but I have to admit having been there and done that I felt pretty good driving the motor home west, warm and dry sipping a cup of coffee and listening to tunes while watching the bikers crouched down in the cold and wet headed east.

Custer State Park and the Crazy Horse monument were the high points of the trip for me. I rented a scooter and took a day riding the loop through the park. Being in the open in close proximity to those bison sure gave one respect for the people on horseback who's survival depended upon them
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Old 07-16-2013, 09:32 AM   #14
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we retired for rawsonville plt understand the vacation in july My son live in ND he goes the upper mich route we are living for ND the end off the month enjoy and lay back
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