US Trip 2019 – Day 3 – The Black Hills

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The route this day took us from Interior/Badlands to Custer, via several interesting stops. A long day on the road, with beautiful weather and lots of nice caches.

Approximate time on road/out caching:  14 hours, 35 minutes
Total miles driven: 213.3 mi / 341,7 km
Total caches found: 19
Total DNF: 1
States visited: South Dakota
Famous places visited: Badlands National Park, Wall Drug Store, Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, South Dakota Air and Space Museum, Custer State Park, Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial
Most memorable cache: GC7T59J Broke Down in the Badlands
Biggest surprise: Actually managing to do all we wanted
Weather: Sunny, light clouds
Highest temperature: 78°F / 25,6°C
Lowest temperature: 60°F / 15,6°C

Almost alone in the park

We left the hotel 6am, which meant that we were almost alone in the park. When we parked at GC7T59J Broke Down in the Badlands, only one other car was there – and they did not join us on the trail.

This first cache of the day brought us on a short loop (mostly on boardwalk) up and down into the badlands. Great views along the way, and not too many mosquitoes, yet. After this stop, we continued a bit further north, to GC78JMW Anatomy of a Badland. This brought us on another short walk, with more epic views.

Mosquitoes, mosquitoes everywhere!

After a stop at the visitor center, which had just opened when we got there, we started working on GC4468W Badands Erosion Study. This cache required that we did some measurements, and since we left the tools in the car, we had to get creative. On top of that, we had to keep moving constantly, this area was full of mosquitoes. They were everywhere! If we stopped for even a split second, we had 10 of them on us.

We did what we had to do, and made it back to the car. We’ve never experienced mosquitoes this bad before, both of us had blood all over us. But we got the cache! 😀

More badlands

We continued further into the park, stopping for wildlife along the road, and a at couple viewpoints and three more earthcaches. The views were out of this world, and the crowd wasn’t bad at all! Definitely a park we recommend visiting.

Wall Drug

The next on the plan was Wall Drug. It might be a tourist trap, but we still wanted to visit. But first we had to find a couple caches. While looking for GC11PD0 Mr. Green II, we randomly found another cache. We still haven’t figured out which one that was. Maybe an old archived one?

Not that many trapped here today, so we decided to spend some time and enjoy our visit here. We decided to take the opportunity to get some lunch as well.

After food, some souvenir shopping and a visit at the arcade, we decided to give the recently published cache GC8BYGB South Dakota’s Biggest Tourist Trap a try. We tried really hard, but had to give up without finding anything.

Wait a minute

We love finding virtual caches, so we just had to take the detour down to GCG3YM Minuteman Missile. The visitor center have to be brand new, as there’s nothing – not even a parking lot, on Google Maps. We didn’t have any tour booked, so all we got to see, were the visitor center, the tip of the missile and the outside of the commando site.

One more try

While doing the Minuteman cache, I communicated a bit with the owner of the new cache at Wall Drug. With some new information, we decided that we just had to give it another try. So we went back. And this time, this time we found it! 😀

Metal birds

The last part of the Minuteman virtual, was at the South Dakota Air and Space Museum – which we wanted to visit anyway. Lots of cool airplanes, and things to look at.

An expensive virtual

As said earlier, we love finding virtual caches. But we almost decided to skip GC7B7ZG Peter Norbeck when we realized how much it would cost us. $20, just to drive a couple miles into the park, take a picture, and drive back out. But we still did it…

The narrow road to Mt. Rushmore

We took a different route to Mt. Rushmore this time, and not the easy one we did last time. This road must be built by Norwegians. Narrow and winding, just like most roads back home. The coolest part, was driving out of the last tunnel, when we could see Mt. Rushmore straight ahead.

The Avenue of Construction

Mt. Rushmore is still a cool place to visit, but sadly the Avenue of Flags have been turned into the Avenue of Construction. I guess it’s better that we get to visit and see this, than the alternative – which is closing the park altogether. Maintenance is necessary, the alternative is much worse.

A nice bonus, which the cache GC7B844 Mount Rushmore ⛰️ National Memorial told us about, was to see the monument from the side.

A man with a horse

As if this day hadn’t had enough happening already, we had one more attraction on the plan – Crazy Horse Memorial. We arrived just in time to see the memorial appear in golden colors.

We spent some time walking around the visitor center, and doing the earthcache GC2C5RG Crazy Horse Rocks!. A couple caches later, it was finally time to get to the hotel – after a long and very eventful day.


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