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Old 02-17-2017, 08:26 PM   #1
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Planning a Black Hills/Eclipse Trip this August....

And I just discovered that South Dakota will not let you make reservations more than 90 days in advance........ Is this crazy or what? I will be cutting it close, arriving in the area about 2 to 3 days after the ending of Sturgis (which is Aug 7-13), and will meet my brother in Alliance, Nebraska, on Monday August 21st for the eclipse viewing and then heading back east after that.

I need to do as much touring and traveling before the 21st as possible because my vacation year at work resets (oddly) on the 21st, and I don't want to be burning new vacation days right off the bat. And no, I cannot carry over my 2017 days past the 20th of August.

My concern is how crowded the area might be from hanger-on-ers from the Sturgis Rally, combined with the (apparently) tens of thousands of eclipse viewers. It seems that campgrounds from coast to coast within a 100 mile or so wide band along the eclipse centerline are full the weekend of the eclipse. I have looked at many on Reserve America and there are no openings.

For those of you wanting reservations in SD parks, do you just mark it on your calendar and wait till the appointed day and get online and start trying to make the reservations, or what?

I am looking heavily at the Angostura Recreation Area near Keystone (yes I plan to visit the Mammoth excavation site also). It would mean more driving back up to Custer and Keystone area each day, but the sites look nice and it has hookups and dump sites. I know some of the Custer State Park campsites and Wind Cave NP do not have dump stations and no hookups in some places also.

Just trying to pick everyone's brain for good ideas.

Charles
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Old 02-18-2017, 09:28 PM   #2
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We stumbled across the middle of the Sturgis rally last year and had no problems getting a site either in Wall SD or outside of Custer. Commercial campgrounds were available around the Custer area with full hookups and the only traffic issues were in the attraction areas (Rushmore, Crazy Horse, etc.) and they were relatively mild compared to I-285 at 4 pm. Cost was higher than the Angostura Recreation Area but time and gas spent traveling up into the Black Hills and back evened it out.

Custer State Park campsite reservations can be made up to 1 year in advance. It's closer to the attractions and there is a dump station near the Game Lodge campground. Where you want to camp at Angostura Recreation Area does have a 90 day advance reservation period but I doubt you would have any trouble finding space there when the window opens up for you. It is really too far from the center point of Sturgis for the rally. Most of the attendee's stay near Sturgis and Deadwood, at least in the northern areas of the Black Hills. They ride and visit the attractions in the area including up to Devils Tower NM. Devils Tower is a must see IMO along with Rushmore both day and for the rangers night program. Driving the Iron Mountain Highway, Rte 16a, is a neat road up to Rushmore. Lots of Bison in the area. Custer has a bunch of shops selling Black Hills Gold jewelry and some nice restaurants if that is your thing. The Crazy Horse monument is larger than Rushmore although it is not complete. Deadwood will probably be rather busy but give it a try anyway. Wind Cave and Jewel Cave are both good visits offering tours of the caves. And least we not forget the Badlands are awesome for a look at desolation.

I believe the Black Hills are too far away from the Totality Arc for eclipse viewers who want to see the real thing. But there may be some traffic issues the closer to the 21st it gets for those wanting to get to the Totality Arc. Actually, I have made reservations at Moccasin Creek State Park here in Georgia for the party. There are plenty of sites still available. As far as in Alliance Ne I have no clue but I doubt there is much to choose from. This website has a load of information about the eclipse:

http://www.eclipse2017.org/eclipse2017_main.htm

One last thing to note about Sturgis. It does overlap the week front and back several days but like I said before there is space available even at the last minute. Just be prepared for a whole bunch of motorcycles ridden by 50 plus somethings.
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Old 02-19-2017, 03:04 PM   #3
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I don't live in Sturgis anymore but did for 35 years and graduated high school there and still have a lot of family that lives there. Normally on Sunday at the end of the rally its hard to believe how fast it empty's out. If your only talking about 3 days after I wouldn't worry to much about biker traffic. There are way more before the start then after. The Black Hills are pretty busy regardless of the rally so you want to keep that in mind. There should be plenty of rally campgrounds still open right after the rally but 2 weeks after maybe not so much. The other post mentioned plenty of things to do in the hills. I no every back road in the hills I think but I would do a trip up Spearfish canyon and the road between Lead and Newcastle Wy. is really pretty. Also between Newcastle and Hotsprings is pretty and not as much traffic. I would say Devils tower is a must as well as the Badlands east of Rapid. There are some really pretty mountain lakes with Paktola and Sheridan lake being the biggest but many more smaller ones as well. I worked at a gold mine for 17 years and went thru Deadwood all the time so that was not a big deal to me but would be worth spending the day there. Going to see where wild Bill is buried is pretty cool but is a pretty good walk up the hill. If you are into walking go to the top of the Cemetery and keep going up the hill to the top. Great view of Deadwood but it is steep. Anyway have a great trip.
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Old 02-19-2017, 05:27 PM   #4
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We made the trip to Mt Rushmore last September.
If you can work it into your schedule Devils Tower and the Badlands are great places to see. A stop at Wall Drugs is fun. The mammoth site was interesting for a short stop. Crazy horse was just ok. Fort Robinson in northern Nebraska was a nice place to stay with a lot of history.
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Old 02-20-2017, 11:05 AM   #5
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Thanks to everyone for their informative posts. I had planned to travel up to Sioux Falls and then west on I90 and take state 240 thru the Badlands and stop at Wall. Then straight to the Black Hills. I am going to allow a day for a side trip to Devils Tower and was considering a return thru Spearfish Canyon Rd (Alt 14) and backtrack to Deadwood. Not sure if that is too much in one day or not.

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Originally Posted by roothoss1282 View Post
Normally on Sunday at the end of the rally its hard to believe how fast it empty's out. If your only talking about 3 days after I wouldn't worry to much about biker traffic. There are way more before the start then after.
^^This is what I really wanted to know, good to have it first hand from someone who has been there year after year.

I don't have a Toad and the View is is very marginal for some of the tunnels on a couple of the roads. My understanding is that it can be done, but that is not my idea of fun. I am seriously considering a dune buggy (typical fiberglass type, Manx clone) to use as a toad since it would be very lightweight for towing (the View is horribly underpowered and the transmission MB used is marginal at best). This would be a fun vehicle for touring the area.

Charles
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Old 02-20-2017, 11:43 AM   #6
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We are lucky, eclipse wise. We have a friend who lives less than 2 hours away and in the path of the total eclipse. His house is just 15 minutes from the very center of the totality. I have a hunch that we will be part of a caravan that morning headed northeast, but not even trying to camp anywhere - up in the AM then back the same evening.
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Old 02-20-2017, 06:11 PM   #7
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My brother has a hotel reservation in Rapid City. He has the idea he will simply drive to Alliance that morning. I reminded him it is about 150 miles and the roads will be crowded that morning. He seemed to think that "its out in the country, roads cannot be that busy" I reminded him that tens of thousands of people plan to be in place by 10:30 am to see the beginning of the eclipse and I expect the roads to be jam packed that morning. He kinda pooh-poohed that notion.

I am largely going to see the area, sightseeing, historical stuff (thank you Lynn for mentioning Ft. Robinson) and would like to position myself on Sunday evening to where I won't have to travel or only a short distance to be in position for the Eclipse Monday morning.

Charles
2007 Winnebago View 523H on a 2006 Dodge (Daimler-Chrysler aka Mercedes) Sprinter 3500 chassis (T1N). Bought Sept 2015 with 18K miles on it, Prog Ind HW30C, Prog Dymanics PD4645, Chill Grille, PML/Yourcovers.com deep alum trans pan, AutoMeter 8558 trans temp gauge, Roadmaster sway bar, Koni Red shocks (rear), Fantastic Ultra Breeze hood, added OEM parabolic mirrors and RH aspherical mirror.
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Old 02-22-2017, 07:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesinGA View Post
Thanks to everyone for their informative posts. I had planned to travel up to Sioux Falls and then west on I90 and take state 240 thru the Badlands and stop at Wall. Then straight to the Black Hills. I am going to allow a day for a side trip to Devils Tower and was considering a return thru Spearfish Canyon Rd (Alt 14) and backtrack to Deadwood. Not sure if that is too much in one day or not.



^^This is what I really wanted to know, good to have it first hand from someone who has been there year after year.

I don't have a Toad and the View is is very marginal for some of the tunnels on a couple of the roads. My understanding is that it can be done, but that is not my idea of fun. I am seriously considering a dune buggy (typical fiberglass type, Manx clone) to use as a toad since it would be very lightweight for towing (the View is horribly underpowered and the transmission MB used is marginal at best). This would be a fun vehicle for touring the area.

Charles
2007 Winnebago View 523H on a 2006 Dodge (Daimler-Chrysler aka Mercedes) Sprinter 3500 chassis (T1N). Bought Sept 2015 with 18K miles on it, Prog Ind HW30C, Prog Dymanics PD4645, Chill Grille, PML/Yourcovers.com deep alum trans pan, AutoMeter 8558 trans temp gauge, Roadmaster sway bar, Koni Red shocks (rear), Fantastic Ultra Breeze hood, added OEM parabolic mirrors and RH aspherical mirror.
There is a campground out on 385 just south of Deadwood that does rent out what your looking for and really fun for getting in the back country. Also going to Devils Tower and then returning thru Spearfish Canyon and then to Lead-Deadwood can be done pretty easy in a day. Not sure if your a Kevin Costner fan but he does own the Midnight Star in Deadwood and he has a lot of his costumes from his movies there. Yes there are some tunnels in the southern hills around Mystic that your don't want to take your RV and the roads are really windy. Takes the fun out of touring. Have a great trip
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