Hop from exit to exit with Tyler and Lauren.

Tyler and Lauren

Follow this fun-loving couple through tire troubles, scenic discoveries and playing dress up while on their seven-day trip stretching from Kansas City to the Black Hills.


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Day 1

Late start to drive today. It was raining hard when we left home. Only made it 30 minutes north of KC before low tire pressure light turned on. The rain cleared up and the scenery was beautiful with the storm clouds as background. Reached Sioux Falls in one piece, but it was close to 9:00 pm. We found the Phillips Avenue Diner still open, so we ate there.

Phillips Avenue Diner
Tyler and Lauren at South Dakota sign
Stopped along I-90 and took photos by the South Dakota sign. This was Tyler’s first visit here.
Day 2

Headed to Falls Park. The water was higher than normal because of the recent rain. There’s a great view from the Falls Park lookout tower. We walked along Phillips Avenue to look at SculptureWalk. After lunch we drove west, but made a few stops, including CH Patisserie in downtown Sioux Falls, the World's Only Corn Palace in Mitchell and Al's Oasis in Oacoma.

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Falls Park
Sculpture Walk
CH Patisserie
We ordered The Favorite at CH Patisserie. It had dark chocolate, vanilla bean, and praline crunch.
Spare tire
Tyler refreshed me on how to change a tire before we ate at Al’s Oasis.
Corn Palace
Day 3

Around mile marker 135, we pulled off at a scenic overlook. Patches of the Badlands sprouted up in the distance. Arrived at Wall Drug around 11:00 am. We ordered their famous doughnuts and purchased a 5-cent coffee, which you pay for by inserting a nickel into a wooden box. In Deadwood, we stopped at the Franklin Hotel and then headed across the street to Saloon #10 for the re-enactment of Wild Bill Hickok’s demise. We drove through Spearfish Canyon and took a short hike to Roughlock Falls and then Spearfish Falls. Locals told us they’ve never seen the area as flooded, or the falls as powerful.

South Dakota
Wall Drug donuts
Wall Drug Dinosaur
Roughlock Falls
Day 4

On our way to Custer State Park, we saw the 1880 Train in Hill City arrive from Keystone. At Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park we rented a canoe for thirty minutes and then hiked a mile-long trail around the lake. We took Needles Highway on the way to Crazy Horse, which was easily our favorite scenic byway. We then drove to Mount Rushmore and arrived around 7:30. We bought some famous Thomas Jefferson vanilla ice cream and stayed for the lighting ceremony. We want to see the carving again in daylight.

Hill City
Needles Highway
Needles Highway
Sylvan Lake
Crazy Horse Memorial
Day 5

We went back to Mount Rushmore in the morning and walked the Presidential Trail. It’s a boardwalk that leads you along and below the monument. We drove on to Wind Cave National Park to tour the cave. We arrived and the last tour of the day started in ten minutes. There were only two tickets left, so we were lucky! Passing through Hot Springs, we made a stop at The Mammoth Site.

Mammoth Site
In Hot Springs, we toured The Mammoth Site. The 30-minute guided tour explains this "mammoth-sized" find.
Mount Rushmore
The Iron Mountain Road has great views of Mount Rushmore, and cool tunnels.

We drove through Custer State Park and there were buffalo all over the place.
Camping under the stars
We camped in Custer State Park and cooked hot dogs and baked beans on our campfire. It was a chilly night.
Day 6

We packed up the tent and took Interstate 90 to the Badlands Loop Scenic Byway. Badlands National Park was one of our favorites. We hiked part of the Castle Trail, but our favorite view was at the Conata Basin Lookout. Back on I-90, we made a pit stop at the 1880 Town for a little Old West fun.

1880 Town
Day 7

We started heading back to Kansas City from Sioux Falls. We stopped for a root beer float at Edgar’s, a soda fountain and gift shop (now closed) in Elk Point. Arrived back in Kansas City, and started reminiscing about the great road trip.

Mount Rushmore
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Illustrated image of three bison grazing in Custer State Park. The Needles rock formation is visible in the background.
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Feeding a burro
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