In the home stretch,back in Lower 48๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Our last leg of this incredible journey (Montana, Wyoming,South Dakota, Minnesota,Wisconsin and Illinois๐Ÿก)

 

Today is September 1st and we leave beautiful Banff, Alberta and drive towards Sweetgrass, Montana for our border crossing back into ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ USA. Few questions asked and in less than a minute we were on our way. Bob wasn’t tired so we ended up driving a total of 7 1/2 hrs with stops and slept at a rest area about 30 miles north of Great Falls, MT.
We drive 5 hours today to the KOA in Red Lodge, Montana. Here we spend 3 nights at $ 45.00per night with discount. FHU, laundry, showers and even the pool was still open it was 85 today so Bob was swimming.

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Fun day today as we head onto the 68 mile drive on the Beartooth Highway,

 

 

from Red Lodge to Cooke City, MT. Lots of switchbacks, a little scary at times but the views are amazing

 

 

The Beartooth Pass is 10,947 ft.

 

 

Lots of overlooks along the way.

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We stop for a picnic with beautiful views

 

 

It took us 4 hours with stops.

 

 

We walked around Cooke City, few shops and restaurants..

 

for dinner we went to Beartooth Cafe for a yummy burger. We overnight in Cooke City at a cute little cabin (cabin #6) at the Big Moose Resort.

 

 

Pets are allowed here. We had deer walk past us and the ๐ŸŒ… sunset was amazing. The East gate for Yellowstone is just about five miles from here.

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The next morning as we head back to Red Lodge, took just 2 hrs as we didn’t stop along the way. After dropping the dogs off at the KOA, Bob and I headed into Red Lodge to walk the shops. Cute little downtown.

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Leaving Red Lodge KOA we had just a 2 1/2 hr drive with a gas โ›ฝ๏ธ stop to 7 Ranch RV camp close to the Little Bighorn National Monument in Crow Agency, Montana.
Nice campground with great views. Good Sam rate was $42.00, FHU,showers,pull thru site and again beautiful sunset.

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After setting up camp, we drive about 6 miles to Little Bighorn National Monument.

 

It is a $25.00 per vehicle fee or free with the America the Beautiful pass. There is a gift shop, a ๐ŸŽฅ movie to watch (highly recommend watching the film), then you can walk around near the cemetery and Custers Last Stand, before doing the driving tour thru the battlefield.

 

(You download onto your phone and each stop on the drive will explain what happened there).

 


This is a must see and is very moving.

DSCN4506Afterwards across the street is a trading post where we ate dinner. We tried the Indian ๐ŸŒฎ Tacos with fry bread.

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Today is our 26th Anniversary ๐Ÿฅ‚๐ŸŽ‰โค๏ธ and we head to Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming.

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Entrance fee is $20.00 per vehicle or free with America the Beautiful pass.
It was a 4 hr drive with stops. We will stay 2 nights at the Belle Fourche campground in Devils Tower National Monument, so very convenient. Nice little park for $20.00 night for dry camping, with views of Devils Tower.

 

We drive to the Devils Tower Trading Post, shop and get a coffee โ˜•๏ธ.

 


Today we stop at the visitor center and then hike the 1.3 mile Tower Trail Loop that goes around Devils Tower.

 

Lots of climbers here today.

 

Dogs ๐Ÿถ are NOT allowed on trails. Devils Tower is 867 ft tall and is Americas first National Monument. Also Wyoming is the only state to have first National Monument and first National Park, Yellowstone. I learned something new today. Don’t forget to also stop and see Prairie Dog Town, right off the road as you come in. Lots of these little guys wandering around.

 


Off we go to our next state, South Dakota. We drive only 1 1/2 hrs to the Fish n Campground

 

in Cute town of Deadwood, SD. This is a Passport America campground, and only $21.00 night plus tax for FHU! Laundry, showers,wifi, pool and they have a cafe and a very small trout pond.

DSCN4836 They are also the nicest people here and go out of there way to make you happy. The trout pond is small and really for kids, bit also big kids like us. You have to use their poles to catch trout ๐ŸŸ and they will cook and clean them for you also. Bob did this and we had lunch.

 

Again really for kids but we had fun also. Deadwood is a neat little town from 1876, and our first stop is Mt Moriah Cemetery (have to pay $2.00 per person to walk thru and they give you a map). Visits to Wild Bill Hickok

 

(Deadwood most famous Resident), Calamity Jane,
Potato Creek Johnny and Seth Bullock- Deadwood first sheriff , along with many others. Very nice overlook of the town from the cemetery.
Today we walked the cute downtown with lots of shops and restaurants and have some fun

 

 

 

Here also is Saloon No 10, with Wild Bill memorabilia and photos.

 

The original site where Wild Bill was murdered in 1876 while playing poker, holding Aces and Eights, known now as Dead Mans Hand is at 622 Main St.

From hereย we drove to the small nearby town of Lead and visited the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center which is free.

DSCN4807Later that evening we celebrated our Anniversary with dinner (delicious filet mignon and lobster ) at the Legend Steakhouse inside the Historic Franklin Hotel.

DSCN4816Definitely recommend. Now we try our luck at one of the casinos in town.
Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway (Highway 14A) is a very pretty, curvy road with stops along the way

 

including waterfalls.

DSCN4827We stop in the town of Spearfish to walk the shops before heading to Sturgis, where we grab some โ˜•๏ธ coffee and head back to Deadwood.
Off to Rapid City only a hour drive from Deadwood. We spend 3 nights at the Rapid City/ Black Hills KOA. It is 45.00 per night before discount, and have FHU, pull thru,cable,wifi,showers,laundry, dog park and pool which Bob swam in since 80 degrees today, gift shop, food. Nice KOA, but disappointed that that charge $2.00 per day, per pet. I wasn’t aware of that till we got here. I have never paid for pets at a KOA before. Once settled in, we met Michelle and husband John. Michelle is a Facebook friend from 50 and over RV group.

IMG_1667 She has been following our travels and my blog since we were in California. It was so nice to met her.
Off to the cute but touristy town of Keystone and walk around, then off to
Mt Rushmore.

DSCN4862 There is no entrance fee but you do have to pay to park which is $10.00 and good for 7 days. We were here 23 years ago with the girls and before that as a child. It is still awesome. You can also see the Avenue of the flags, gift shop, food, and walk the Presidential Trail to get closer to the monument.

 

Now off to cute little town of Hill City, where we walk the shops. Historic Alpine Inn is a recommended restaurant that is open for lunch, then closes and reopens for dinner. We happened to be there between lunch and dinner so didn’t get a chance to eat there. Next we drive by Crazy Horse to see the progress from 23 years ago. We did not go in, just drove by, but would be worth a visit.

 

Then to Custer State Park, $20.00 entrance fee good for 7 days. Today we will drive Needles Highway,

 

and then come back tomorrow to do some more. Needles Highway is very pretty, twisting turning 14 mile stretch of SD Highway 87 and also thru tunnels. Needles Eye is pretty neat. Great drive today.

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For dinner, thanks Michelle, we eat at Sickies Garage. They have delicious and different ๐Ÿ” burgers. Bob had a mac and cheese burger. Milkshake was also good and I hear their wings are also good. After full bellies we head to Dinosaur Park, since 1936.

 

This is one of the Black Hills original attractions, and has 7 life size dinosaurs and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Fun stop.

 


Today is a ๐Ÿถ dog day, we pack up and head back to Custer State Park, dogs are allowed anywhere except buildings. Custer State Park is a great park and one of the nations largest. We start today with the 18 mile Wildlife Loop

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and see deer, Antelope and lots of Buffalo

 

There is a herd of about 1300 that roam freely here, one of the largest in the world.

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We have a picnic lunch and then head out on the Iron Mountain Road.

IMG_1692This again is a very twisty, turns and times narrow drive. Make sure you drive it South to North so that when you go thru 2 of the tunnels you will see Mt Rushmore as you exit the tunnels, which is awesome.

DSCN5122In the evening we head back to Mt Rushmore for the 8:00 pm show. This is a must see and very moving.
They play patriotic music ๐Ÿฅ , show a movie about the presidents on Mt Rushmore, light up Mt Rushmore and also call all Veterans onto the stage and thank them for their service ( thank you to my hubby ) and then the lowering of the flag ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ.

 


Goodbye to Rapid City as we drive West just about 7 miles to Ellsworth Air Force Base where they have the South Dakota Air and Space ๐Ÿš€ Museum which is free and worth a stop.

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Bob was stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base from 1979-1981.

 

Next about 30 miles west and of course a must stop if passing thru on I-90 is Wall Drug, the famous little place that in 1931 offered travelers free ice water.

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Of course you will see the signs for many many miles.

 

There is parking for RVs here, we had no problem. Couple large vehicle parking areas. There are now many shops here and we ate in the restaurant inside and it was good.

 

Another 1/2 hr drive and we arrive at the Badlands KOA for 2 nights. It is KOA appreciation weekend so we pay $40.00 for one night, water and electric and get second night free. It’s a nice KOA with also FHU, showers, laundry, pool, dog park. It is out in the middle of nowhere, next time I would probably stay at the Cedar Pass Campground, within Badlands, next to visitor center, although it’s not FHU.
Badlands National Park has a $20.00 per vehicle charge or free with America the Beautiful pass. We drive the Badlands Loop

 

 

 

and stop and walk trails, pull over at the overlooks,

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have a picnic lunch and then drove the gravel Sage Creek Rim Road.

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This is where you can see buffaloes.

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We even had three of them cross the road in front of us and one stopping to scratch himself. So neat to see up close. Then they just wandered off into the Badlands.

DSCN5427Now we drive to the Pinnacle Overlook, a busy spot to watch the ๐ŸŒ… sunset.

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Beautiful views and sunset. Back at the campground we have a ๐Ÿ”ฅ fire and enjoy the weather.
Our last stop in South Dakota and about a 5 hour drive with a gas and grocery stop is exit #374 and 5 miles South off I-90 to Lake Vermillion State Rec Area. We head to the East campground right on the lake.

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We paid 21.00 night for electric, picnic table and fire pit. Unfortunately you pay a non resident fee and a daily 6.00 fee to use the park. Total for 2 days is 64.00, but very peaceful and right on Lake for Bob to fish ๐ŸŽฃ.
Yeah he caught 3 fish ๐ŸŸ today.

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Our second day here we did absolutely nothing which was nice. Gave me a chance to catchup on blog and Bob to spend day ๐ŸŽฃ fishing ,he ending up catching 13๐ŸŸ .

Tomorrow we leave South Dakota and head to Minnesota. Driving about 4 hours with stops for lunch and gas we arrive at Roberds Resort and campground โ›บ๏ธ. Originally we were gonna stay a week but decided just 3 days would be enough for Bob to ๐ŸŸ, and see some of the area. We pay total $128.00 FHU, laundry and showers. Lake is across street. Can also rent boats here. Suppose to rain next few days.
I haven’t been to a real mall in a year since we left, so thought we’d go big and drive 45 minutes to Mall of America. We have been here before, and I can say I really didn’t miss going to a mall this last year. But I did get a new pair of walking shoes ๐Ÿ‘Ÿ. If want to stay near Mall of America and casino , check out Dakota Meadows by casino.
FHU,Showers, RV wash.
Today Drove to downtown Faribault, nothing special, few shops and restaurants. The Tilt O Whirl was invented here in 1926, cute photo op downtown.

 

Then stopped at Shattuck St Mary’s (our daughter went to Hockey ๐Ÿ’ camps here in the summers).
After dinner, tornado sirens went off and tornado touched down.

 

 

 

Scariest day ever and thank God everyone was ok. The next day we just wanted to get out of there, so we head to Wisconsin.
The next few days we spend at Ho Chunk Casino Wisconsin Dells. $37.00 per night with FHU, laundry,showers,fire pit,table, grass area at site and you can use hotels indoor pool and spa.
Here’s what we did next few days, some gambling at casino, pool and spa.
Down street from casino is a nice Antique Store with a nice Craft Mall next door.
Downtown Wisconsin Dells, lots of things to do, shops, restaurants, attractions,lots of touristy stuff (Probably best before Labor Day when everything is still open)

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Sunday drive to nearby small towns of Sauk City, New Glarus and Mt Horeb
(Also nearby is Spring Green and House on the Rock, which is worth it. Didn’t do this trip but have been)

 


Baraboo- Ringling Brothers ” Greatest Show on Earth” Circus founded here in 1884 and sights to see including Circus World Museum (Baraboo best seen before Labor Day when have activities including a parade)

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A great place for a nice dinner is Ishnala, voted Wisconsin’s no1 Supper Club, we didn’t go this time but have been and it’s very good .
Last day we head to Devils Lake State Park,

 

parking is $16.00 for vehicle or free with America the Beautiful pass, even though it’s a state park,because it’s on Ice Age Trail.

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Great state park, they do have โ›บ๏ธ campgrounds (they we booked), food, gift shop, boat rentals, beach, dog swim area, hiking. We hiked the steep rocky Balanced Rock Trail.

 

 

Would recommend a visit or camping here.
Tomorrow we stop in Edgerton , Wisconsin just 1 hour away for few days. We had a lakehouse here for 19 years and our boat is still kept here.

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Will spend few days and then after 13 months we will head home ๐Ÿก
Edgerton , Wisconsin is off 1-90 between Janesville and Madison and has some great side trips and great country drives to small towns.
Arrive to Hickory Hills Campground in Edgerton, water and electric only, cost 42.00 .
It’s ok and friendly people but cheaper than the Milton KOA. After setting up we head
down the road to look ๐Ÿ‘€ at the lakehouse we owned for 19 years, such memories there.
Then onto Hermansons ๐ŸŽƒ Pumpkin Farm, since 1914,

 

out in the country of Edgerton. I love fall and going to this pumpkin ๐ŸŽƒย farm, no frills just good ole pumpkins, some farm ๐Ÿ animals,

 

great people. Definitely recommend a visit if in area.

 

My favorite country store and have been going back for the last 20 years and definitely worth a trip is Apple Butter House (since 1974)
http://applebutterhouse.com

 


Beautiful home decor ,accessories and antiques out in the country. Highly recommend a trip here.

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Next few days:
Red Rooster in Milton, super cute country, home accessories store
Columbus Antique Mall in Columbus
Sams Pizza in Janesville ๐Ÿ•, dining room and service not the best, but we usually pick up and bring home, yummy ๐Ÿ‘…
Piggly Wiggly (grocery store)had to stop to shop the ๐Ÿท pig, where there’s a smile in every aisle.
Anchor Inn (on Rock River) in Newville right of the 1-90 exit. Great place especially in summer to sit out and eat and listen to bands. Can also rent pontoons here.

 

Our very last night my sister and brother in law drive 1 1/2 hrs to help celebrate ๐ŸŽ‰ our incredible journey.

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We have dinner at one of our favorites for prime rib and lobster at the Buckhorn Supper Club. http://www.thebuckhorn.net/

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They also do Lobster boils, but need reservations for that. Buckhorn has been serving guests for over 85 years, on the shores of Lake Koshkonong.

 

 

our last night ๐Ÿ˜“๐Ÿ˜“๐Ÿ˜ข๐Ÿ˜ข

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Tomorrow we head ๐Ÿกย home, what adventure it has been. Safe travels ๐ŸŒŽ

 

2 thoughts on “In the home stretch,back in Lower 48๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Our last leg of this incredible journey (Montana, Wyoming,South Dakota, Minnesota,Wisconsin and Illinois๐Ÿก)

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  1. I would love to do the trip to Montana and South Dakota again. Phil has never been and I think he would love to see that part of the country. Glad you got back safely.

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