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.

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.

Stopped along I-90 and took photos by the South Dakota sign. This was Tyler’s first visit here.

South Dakota Sign
 Phillips Avenue Diner
 Phillips Avenue Diner

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.

Falls Park was really green and beautiful. You just want to sit and watch the falls.

Falls Park
Phillips Avenue Sculpture Walk

We ordered The Favorite at CH Patisserie. It had dark chocolate, vanilla bean, and praline crunch.

CH Patisserie

At the Corn Palace, a short tour explains the murals around the building and in the gymnasium.

Corn Palace
Corn Palace

Tyler refreshed me on how to change a tire before we ate at Al’s Oasis.

Al's Oasis tire change

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.

Badlands scenic overlook
Wall's famous doughnuts

We took pictures with the terrifying dinosaur on our way out of Wall.

Wall Drug Dinosaur
Getting read to hike to Roughlock Falls and Spearfish Waterfall
Hike to Roughlock Falls and Spearfish Waterfall

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.

South Dakota Railroad Museum
Custer State Park
Custer State Park - Sylvan Lake
Needles Eye

At Crazy Horse, it’s hard to understand how massive it will be until you see it in person.

Crazy Horse

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.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

The Iron Mountain Road has great views of Mount Rushmore, and cool tunnels.

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.

We drove through Custer State Park and there were buffalo all over the place.

In Hot Springs, we toured The Mammoth Site. The 30-minute guided tour explains this "mammoth-sized" find.

The Mammoth Site in Hot Springs

We camped in Custer State Park and cooked hot dogs and baked beans on our campfire. It was a chilly night.

Custer State Park

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.

Conata Basin Lookout

It was fun to take pictures of each other dressed up at 1880 Town.

 It was fun to take pictures of each other dressed up at 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 in Elk Point. Arrived back in Kansas City, and started reminiscing about the great road trip.

Root beer float at Edgar’s

Next Up: A Trip Through The Great 8

Eight iconic stops in four days.