Custer State Park

The Badlands, South Dakota

For the two people who are following my cross-country trek via Mona’s Apple, I’m sorry for the delay in bringing you an update. It’s been a wonderful trip so far, but the Internet connection in our most recent destination has been a little less than par. I had full bars on PowerBook in my hotel room, yet for some reason I couldn’t access the Internet. I’m now rocking in a chair on the front porch of the State Game Lodge fighting off mosquitoes, swallows protecting their nests overhead and bats. All to be close to an Internet connection. I must be sick.

My mom has teased me relentlessly because I’ve been constantly looking at my phone checking for service. No connection. Connection. Up, no connection. Connection. No connection. No connection. Oh I have a bar… now I have no connection. I swear I’ve only wanted to send photos to friends of my journey — I do not need to be on Twitter and Facebook (though it would be nice to upload photos once in a while). Along the way I’ve spotted landmarks, signs and animals that have reminded me of friends back east and I’ve wanted to share the photos with them, but to no avail. Now I’ll be sending them from Los Angeles a week and a half late.

“I’m in Wall, S.D., LittleMissSunshine!” Actually, no, I’m in Malibu.

The speed with which my mom and I made it halfway across the nation was remarkable. Anyone can drive cross country in four or five days if they put their heart, mind and pedal to the medal. In three days we made it to Custer State Park. My dad was thrilled but in total disbelief.

In the beginning of the trip my mom said each state had a very different feel to it and she was dead on. We went from rolling, lush hills to rolling hills, from rolling farmlands to flat farmlands, from a more desert-like farm country to the forests of Custer. The first three days are a blur. We stopped for the nights in Perrysburg, Ohio, and Sioux Falls, Iowa, before arriving in Custer State Park, S.D. Pretty good after getting stuck on the side of the road for two hours for running out of gas (a mere three hours after our trip began — not one of my shiniest moments)…

On our way to Mount Rushmore this morning I noticed we had cell phone reception and I quickly called my dad. In the middle of telling him where we were (we’d pulled over because we’d spotted Mt. Rushmore for the first time miles away) I started crying uncontrollably. I didn’t know what was wrong with me except I was trying to describe to him the wonder of Custer State Park.

I’d bonded with the wildlife in a matter of 48 hours. My mom and I left the park to go eat dinner last night at a great spot in Custer (Sage Creek Grille) and I felt a strange sense of abandonment, like we’d left the animals, like we’d left our home. I missed the buffalo, the pronghorns, the turkey, the deer and the prairie dogs. When we turned onto 16A and I saw the “Entering Custer State Park” sign I felt a huge sense of relief. Along the way to our hotel we stopped in three spots to admire three lone buffalo on the side of the road and I wanted to get out of the car and curl up and sleep next to the gentle beasts (I know they’re not gentle, they are actually one of the deadliest animals of this region, ahead of moose and bears) but they have shown nothing but calm and stoicism towards us invading their realm.

I must turn in because we have an early morning tomorrow — we head to Yellowstone — but below are a few of our trip highlights.

Mt. Rushmore
Crazy Horse

Legion Lake, Custer State Park
adorable bunny in the Badlands


About Moni

Lover of life, singer of songs and soon-to-be creator of pretty things. I'm a former digital media editor who's launching a clothing line in 2018. When I'm not wife-ing and mom-ing, I'm walking the dog, drinking wine (or tequila) and planning future camping trips. And thrifting, binging on true crime shows, and wishing I was SUP-ing somewhere along the Pacific coast.
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4 Responses to Custer State Park

  1. Danica says:

    I'm following ;-)

  2. Fashionista says:

    Sounds like an amazing trip so far!xoFashionista

  3. MaineMan says:

    We are all followong your road trip. Watching you as you brave the wild counrty.

  4. Pingback: My Love for Road Trips: An Introduction to Our Cross-Country Adventure | Wine + Quill

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