We have moved on to Chamberlain, South Dakota, as we begin the east bound leg of this trip. We have visited a number of places in the greater Rapid City area that we have not mentioned.
Just outside of the Air Force is the South Dakota Air and Space Museum, which had some interesting displays both outside and in the hangars. It is free to all and worth a visit.
Since we are here just before the big Sturgis Rally, we had to check out the town before the big event. As I expected, it was a bit like Quartzite, AZ before the big RV and Rock gatherings-small and quiet. It is hard to imagine this small town with over 500K motorcycles.
Deadwood is just up the road from Sturgis. This is one of the famous Wild West towns, perhaps best known as the place where Wild Bill Hickok was murdered. It has changed a lot since our last visit and is now another huge Casino town.
Along the back roads, we stumbled on an a 1950’s roadside tourist trap with interesting collections of memorabilia, classic cars, gifts, food and entertainment. I am sure it will be packed with motorcycles in the next few weeks.
In Rapid City proper we visited the town dinosaur park that was completed about the same time as Mount Rushmore and a park with two sections of the Berlin wall on display. There is replica church modeled exactly on the famous 800 year old Norwegian Borgund Stavkirke of Laerdal. Services are held through out the summer. It is in a peaceful setting with volunteers available to explain its history. A short prayer walk is just behind it in the woods.
Lastly, we visited the Journey Museum, which contains a geological history of the area, a good summary of the interactions of the European immigrants’ and Native Americans and extensive display of artifacts. For those interested in getting an overview of the area and its history, this is a good place to start.