With the sun taking on a decidedly fall-ish slant in these parts and many, MANYitems left on our to-do list, Jac made the decision to Go to Custer and the Needles this past weekend. The kids were ecstatic with Tess proclaiming, “I’m gonna climb on those pins but I’m not gonna get hurt.”


Anyway, we left town with high spirits. Then. . .

We had not been on the Iron Mountain Road but ten minutes when Jac announced, “This probably wasn’t the best weekend to do this. . . Sorry.”

You see, if you are more than 100 miles from us, you may be missing the great pleasure of Sturgis Bike Week. (Can I even use the term ‘Sturgis’? It has recently been trademarked. Bi-i-ig to-do. I may be infringing on rights at this very moment. . . ) Motorcycles have taken over every crack and crevice of the hills and there is a constant roar of motors wherever you go. Needless to say, the roads in and out of Custer State Park -especially the scenic ones we took- were rather congested.

We made the best of it and enjoyed a picnic lunch at the Game Lodge in Custer followed by a tour of the Norbeck Visitor Center. Then, though technically our list item said, ‘visit the Needles,’ we did better than that by getting out and CLIMBING some of the rocks not once but twice. Everyone joined in, with Ellie and I doing abbreviated versions due to my condition and her foot wear. Saltwater Sandals are not so good on granite. . . At our final stop, the Needles Eye, as the eldest scampered up the boulders like mountain goats, Ellie looked up and up and up and announced, “It’s too big for me. Too big for Ellie. I all done now.” We were able to convince her otherwise and ended up with a great picture to prove the ascent.

By the time we arrived home, only Ellie had cat napped so it was early bed times and everyone sleep past nine Sunday morning. THAT alone speaks of the success of the trip.

Next item – Rushmore. Stay tuned.

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