Thursday, May 19, 2011

Road Trip!!

I know that most of you who read our blog are from British Columbia and you love exploring our beautiful province as much as we do but I hope you'll indulge me for the next couple of months. Two of our major "caching holidays" this year are taking place in 'other places' - one will be a Disney Cruise to Alaska (in June) and I just got back from the other trip... a long awaited ROAD TRIP to South Dakota!

If you have read some our previous posts you know that we LOVE roadtrips. I was never the child who said "when are we going to get there?" There was just so much to see along the way! And I'm happy to say that nothing has changed.
Ready to Leave!

Last week I flew to Saskatoon to meet my friend (who lives there) and, the next morning, along with two of her friends, we started our journey.

The key to good geocaching is planning, especially for a road trip. I started building our pocket queries months ago for this trip... 'caches along a route' is so great for just this kind of journey. I loaded about 400 caches that took us along a 'paper clip' shaped route so that we would hit as many states as possible. From Saskatoon we headed south, through Montana and Wyoming and into South Dakota. We realized then that we were pretty darn close to Nebraska so why not make an extra trip there too? After we spent 3 days exploring the Black Hills we headed north through North Dakota and back into Saskatchewan. We were gone six days and it was the perfect road trip.

The Black Hills are an unexpected, awesome experience in, let's face it, a mostly unassuming prairie. They kind of sneak up on you.. suddenly you are in mountains. For someone from British Columbia, where mountains are an every day occurence, this was a pleasant surprise.

The streets of Deadwood, S. Dakota
Our first task was to find a place to stay and so we decided to spend three nights in Deadwood, South Dakota.
Ahhhh.... Deadwood. A whole lot of casinos, laughing laid back people, great food and a ton of geocaches. It was like stepping back in time and living right in it. We ate in #10 Saloon where Wild Bill Hickock was killed and in the Midnight Star that is owned by Kevin Costner. We visited the grave of Calamity Jane, saw wild deer walking along the canyon walls of Deadwood Gorge and of course found as many caches as we could. It's been a long time since I've enjoyed a town so much. If you're in South Dakota DO NOT miss Deadwood.

Crazy Horse Memorial
Once we had set up 'base camp' at the Holiday Inn in Deadwood we got down to some serious sightseeing & geocaching. On our first day we decided to see "Crazy Horse." Work on the world's largest sculpture began in 1948... Crazy Horse is a massive undertaking.... a sculpture of the Lakota hero to match the presidents on Mount Rushmore. His face alone is 9 stories high. Our favourite cache at this site was an earthcache GC2C5RG. By the time we explored everything to see at this site the weather had turned and the clouds were looking pretty dark. Instead of continuing on to Mount Rushmore we decided to head back to Deadwood and hope for better weather the next day.

The next dawned bright and sunny but it sure was windy! We found out that those black clouds brought a tornado with them so we were pretty glad we had called it a day!

Mount Rushmore was everything that we had hoped for and more. Pictures do not do it justice. The first time I saw those gigantic faces on the mountain it took my breath away. For the next 4 hours we just enjoyed the experience. We ate at the Carver's Cafe, took the guided tour, watched the documentary and snapped about 100 pictures. And of course we geocached. There are no caches on the official site of Mount Rushmore but there are plenty in the vacinity. Our favourite was "Wrinkled Rock: What's Really Behind Mount Rushmore?" GCY8HG. Great little hike in the Black Hills.

After leaving Mount Rushmore, rather reluctantly I might add, we decided to travel the Needles Highway a bit. Wow! I consider myself a seasoned BC mountain driver but this highway was something else. I had never driven a 'pigtail' before... let's just say it puts a whole new spin on hairpin turns! Near each 'pigtail' is a single lane tunnel and the dakotahillbillies have hidden a cache at each tunnel. Each of these caches was an awesome experience.

All too soon it was time to head home. Out of the 400+ caches that I loaded we found about 60 of them.... besides the ones that I mentioned above, here are a few more of our favouries: Rocky Wall (Montana GC2RPTN), Open Range (Montana GC1157M), Sunday Gone Wrong (South Dakota GCGDGG) and the Deadwood series in the town of Deadwood, South Dakota.

And that is just a small taste of our latest road trip. I want to say thanks to LaurieAnne, Leona & Anna for joining me on this journey. Sure enjoyed the ride.

1 comment:

Eddie said...

Greetings from Nyborg Denmark! We are on a road trip as well......not as much caching as you,more of a regular holiday. Will have lots of stories, pictures, and videos to post in a week or so when we get back. Loved your trip report,glad to see you had so much fun