Day 5-6 Custer State Park and Rapid City   Leave a comment

Seeing Custer State Park by bus as opposed to motorcycle is a different experience. For one thing, you are sitting up so much higher and can see so much more. It is absolutely beautiful. We started our day driving through the Wildlife Loop where we saw buffalo, sheep, antelope, donkeys….

I think the donkeys were everyone’s favorite.

The Black Hills had a devastating fire in the 1980s, as you can see from the photo below. It burned so hot that the grasses are just now starting to come back.

We did Needles Highway by motorcycle. After you look at the photos below, you’ll understand why; there is no way a bus could have taken that route. The rock formation along the route looked like giant needles in the sky.

I’d say that the little critters are quite tame.

We visited the Journey Museum in Rapid City. There we learned how the Black Hills were formed and saw the fossils and dinosaurs that were discovered in the area.

Below left is a necklace made from deer hooves and below right is a necklace made from bear claws.

It’s a great way to follow in the footsteps of pioneers and gold miners. Larry and I decided to try out the saddles

Then John decided he had to get into the act

Chapel in the Hill, built in the 1960s, is an exact replica of famous 850 year old Borgund Stavkirke located near Laerdal, Norway. If you have ever been to DisneyWorld’s Epcot, you’ve probably seen a building just like it. The 16,000 shingles on the church were hand-cut with a saw. (On the Borgund Stavkirke they were cut with an axe).

The side door of the chapel is known as the women’s door. The men used the front door. There is also a window on the side called the Leper’s window because the lepers were not allowed inside the church, but could watch services from the side window.

The ring on the front door was used as a doorknocker but is also known as a Sanctuary Ring. The story is that in early days outlaws could be killed by anyone but if they managed to get to a church and grip the ring, no one could touch them. It is told many outlaws starved to death holding the ring.

The gift shop below is a replica of a storage type building with a sod roof. It is normally built into the side of a hill.

Bear Country USA

A drive through wildlife park. What a great experience. We observed mountain lions, wolves, elk, bobcats, buffalo, reindeer and other wildlife with a great view from a bus. The animals roam free in 250 acres of natural Black Hills habitat.

Every tour ends in a gift shop. This gift shop had a unique buffalo head, made up of…. stuff.

We topped the night off with dinner and a show at the Flying T Chuckwagon Show

Of course they always have two volunteers from the audience and Connie from our group was selected.

She did a great job.

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