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Old 03-26-2019, 04:00 PM   #1
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Rapid City East on I90 to Oshkosh

Friend and I, both retired heading to the Oshkosh EAA Airventure from SoCal. Planning 8 days each way, and 4 days in Oshkosh (reservations July 22-26). 1st highlight is Devils Tower, with one overnight on the way. Have been to southern Utah many times, from Moab to Bryce, but will skip this time. Have a toad.

Easily a lot to do/see in the Black Hills, but my concern is east of Rapid City...looks like no manís land for 800 miles, along I90 (Wall Drugs not our thing). Do I just bust pavement or is there some interesting stops? Not afraid to deviate, even to North Dakota. I looked at hwy #14 to the north of 90, but concerned it may be a slower misery other than using the super slab, but may be wrong.

Any input will be appreciated. Rv parks, restaurants, etc. Planning on coming back thru Missouri, Oklahoma,Texas,New Mexico,Arizona. We can add a few days if needed.
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Old 03-26-2019, 05:53 PM   #2
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- the Missouri River overlook on I-90 just east of the river (exit 265 I think) is worth a stop if for nothing else but the view of the river.


- the Corn Palace in Mitchell SD is worthy of a lunch stop. there is a campground nearby.
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Old 03-26-2019, 06:14 PM   #3
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Thank you.
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Old 03-27-2019, 08:13 AM   #4
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As a South Dakota resident ( a real one ) I would say take the Badlands Loop Road south out of Wall, it will take you through some spectacular Badlands scenery and then hook you back up to I90 further east....then just bust pavement! I90 through southern Minnesota is a little better but then when you get to the Minnesota/Wisconsin border you will be in Bluff Country which is also pretty spectacular. I don't have any campground recommendations there but it may be worth a stop for a day.
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Old 03-27-2019, 08:47 AM   #5
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Just wait until you hit the huge swarm of exceptionally large grasshoppers that just finished gorging on the corn on one side of the road heading to the wheat field for desert on the other side.....

After our trip across I90 in 2016, we now call all “transit” / “off the interstate” overnight type campgrounds “Children of the Corn KOAs” ; just waiting for mutants to come out of the corn fields at night and devour the campers sleeping peacefully .

Also, keep a sharp eye on the weather / weather radar as you travel. We luckily just missed some nasty storms, some with big hail, that would have been no fun to be caught in between WI and Rapid City. If you see a black sky heading in your direction while you are driving (which would typically be coming from behind driving east) I’d find a overpass to “hide under” ASAP.

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Old 03-27-2019, 08:56 AM   #6
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Don't just write off Wall Drug. It's a very interesting place with a lot to see. Eat a Bison Burger.
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Old 03-27-2019, 11:20 AM   #7
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Planning to head north, as stated. Would consider southern route 1st, depending on long range weather forecast during trip window and return on the northern route. Still looking for suggested “don’t miss” whether restaurants, private/public camping...etc. Thanks.
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Old 03-27-2019, 11:39 AM   #8
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Don't just write off Wall Drug. It's a very interesting place with a lot to see. Eat a Bison Burger.
i particularly enjoy the hallway with the historical photos. but the real ice cream is wonderful! also in Wall (at least it was there a few years ago) is the Wounded Knee museum. worth a look. and as mentioned take the Badlands Loop drive out of Wall. without stops at the overlooks it'll take you about 20-25 min to complete. with stop...a lot longet but worth it. if you're gonna overnight IN Wall and you have a yoad then i'd suggest taking the prairie dog village side road off the main loop. that side road is not appropriate for large RVs.
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Old 03-27-2019, 12:10 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Just BK View Post
Planning to head north, as stated. Would consider southern route 1st, depending on long range weather forecast during trip window and return on the northern route. Still looking for suggested “don’t miss” whether restaurants, private/public camping...etc. Thanks.
We spent 2 nights at Devils Tower so we could spend a full day there. It’s something that has always fascinated me; take the morning ranger led walk around the base of the Tower. The KOA next to it, is a good place to stay, and they show Close Encounters every evening in an outdoors setting with the Tower in the background.

Yes, plenty to see / do in the Black Hills area, Rushmore, Custer State Park, etc. easily spend a week there and not see everything. Easy to find lots of info on that area.

I think people shortchange Badlands. The KOA Badlands is a decent place to stay.....

If you get out of your car, you can easily spend a full day on the main loop. Day 1.

If you want to go down in the Minuteman site near the main entrance to Badlands NP, you need to get there at the crack of down to get tickets for the limited tours; check thier website, as they may have changed thier policies because a lot of people leave disappointed and / or have to kill a couple hours where there is nothing much else to do.

After we did the MM silo on day 2, we drove down to the southwest side of the park and did a nice off road “road”, then ended up in Wall at the end of the day, and wasted 20 minutes of our lives seeing what Wall Drugs is all about.

Once you get east of Badlands, there is nothing but corn, wheat, and soybean fields until you get close to Madison, WI.

The campgrounds we found off I90 were simply a port for the evening with 50amp power to run the ACs, nothing fancy along the route, but perfectly adequate for an overnight. I’d go back to my notes but really, they are all pretty much a “campground” in the middle of the fields.

As far as places to eat, other than “”tourist / road food”, there is nothing. Stock your RV well before you leave Rapid City if you have any inclination for food with any high value nutritional content.

Once you get closer to Madison, you’ll find the architectural wonder of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin near Spring Green. Check thier web site for tour info if you are interested.

There is also the House on the Rock which we did not have time to see, as Taliesin took the better part of the day we drove over to Spring Green (from where we stayed for several days south of Madison; the main reason we stopped in the area was to see Taliesin.....).

Madison is pretty much a typical college town, but at least you can find some decent, healthy food and good craft beers.

Milwaukee wasn’t very exciting; Harley Davidson is there, but we didn’t check it out.

Wisconsin Dells is a typical “tourist / vacation” destination; I had been there camping at what was then a brand new Yogi Bear park as a kid and knew we had no reason to go there as adults.

BTW, don’t get too excited when you see the “Thanks for visiting South Dakota” sign, because it’s followed shortly thereafter by “Welcome to Minnesota” which along I90 is almost as far, and just as boring as SD.

I’ve heard that Teddy Roosevelt NP in ND near I94 is interesting, but no first hand info to share.
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Old 03-27-2019, 12:51 PM   #10
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As you pass through Austin, MN don't forget to exit and go to the Spam Museum!
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Old 03-28-2019, 03:06 PM   #11
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The CG at Devil's Tower was pretty basic several years ago (I think 2007) but it is an interesting stop at DT anyway. I believe there is a KOA there now, but we don't do KOA for a number of reasons.
The Town of Spearfish has a great RV park owned by the city. (if you have time a ride up Spearfish Canyon is beautiful.
There are a about 3 CGs in Wall. We stay at Arrow because it is easy in and out. Wall Drug is not just tourist junk, it is actually pretty interesting just walk thru. The Badlands Loop in interesting and can be done in a MH. It gets HOT there in the summer months.
Depending on how tired you are, there are a number of adequate RV stops along I-90. Mitchell has a Cabela's that invite RVers to spend the night in their parking lot. I spent $700 bucks our first stay there - but the overnite is free.

Chamberlain has a neat East and West combo rest area overlooking the Missouri. Interesting museum area. Free coffee sometimes. When you cross the river, the terrain changes and you see more ponds and such as you head east.

About 20 miles west of Murdo is an great stop. This guy/group has put together an 1880s town and much of it centers on the sets of the Costner movie Dances With Wolves. Now the horse from that movie died several years ago but we were lucky enough to see him before he passed. It is worth a half day to just stop and walk around and see the collection of old buildings and artifacts he has put together as a town Lot of great photo ops if you are into photography.
[URL="https://www.1880town.com/1880-town/dances-with-wolves/"]

Not much I can tell you east of Sioux Falls because our trips usually are headed north on I-29 and then west of I-90. As far as N Dakota? We did the I-94 route once and although the country was interesting, it was pretty open as far as services other than Bismarck and Fargo.
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Old 03-28-2019, 05:31 PM   #12
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A couple of places not listed that we enjoyed visiting were the Custer Battlefield (Little Bighorn NM), a bit north and west of Devils Tower along 90 in Montana and the locks where 90 crosses the Mississippi.

There is a large rest area there on the MN side here we have eaten lunch many times on our way from or to Oshkosh. We've even overnighted there a few times. One time we were eating lunch there and noticed a string of barges maneuvering to go through the locks a short distance below the bridge/rest area. We walked down to very near the locks and watched in amazement as the barges three across were moved into the locks with just a few feet on either side. It's not something I'd wait hours to see, but if it's going on while you are in the vicinity, it's worth watching.

One of my favorite things to do at Oshkosh was to visit the Seaplane Base, get a bratwurst with sauerkraut and mustard along with a soft drink, then sit where I could see the lake and watch waterbirds take off and land while I ate. We always spent most of a day there.

A large plastic garbage bag makes a good emergency raincoat with holes for the head and arms made in it, and it is easy to store/carry in a camera bag or fanny pack.

We were regulars there through the '80's, '90's, and a bit more sporadically after that, but we loved all our visits.

Enjoy!!

If you return on 90 after Oshkosh, be aware that the Sturgis motorcycle event will be going on at that time and the area around Rushmore will be crowded.

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Old 03-28-2019, 08:15 PM   #13
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At the Missouri River crossing at Chamberlain is the Akta Lakota Museum and Cultural Center, and there are campgrounds on either side of the river (not sure how any of this has fared with the flooding, Arrow Wood Cedar Shore Campground on the West side, part of a nice resort, and American Creek Campground on the east side, right in town). Also there is the Corp of Engineers campground at Big Bend Dam at Ft Thomson, very nice and in the middle of the river below the dam. I stayed here and it is a nice place, lawn grass around the sites and a nice bath and shower house. About 20 miles north of Chamberlain.

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Old 03-29-2019, 09:56 AM   #14
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Another possibility, If you haven't already been there, would be to head north out of CA and see the Tetons and Yellowstone coming out on 90 and seeing what is interesting to you of the places already mentioned that are near 90. We've done that (in reverse) several times coming from Oshkosh simply because it was most convenient and we had the "old timers card" which made entrance to the park free.

After crossing the "big river" going east we usually took hwy 21 on to Oshkosh (town) and found our way from there to the aviation event. For us, that was most direct.

If it were me, I would do a circuitous route, going either north on the way to Oshkosh and returning on a more southern route, or the reverse. That way you can see more of the country. Just pick the places you would like to visit and work it into your time frame. There is a lot to see.

While at the event we always stayed at the campground there. sometimes we walked to get to where we wanted to be, sometimes we brought along a Honda 90 or larger bike to provide transportation to-from the campsite to the flight line, and sometimes we took one of the many buses/trams that seem to go almost everywhere. There is a dump station at the campground and, although we've never used them, I think there are reserve sites with hookups that are fairly close the flight line.

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