Wandering Around America One State at a Time – South Dakota

State 37:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!

I will be featuring the states alphabetically. The next state in my series is

South Dakota

South Dakota became the 40th state on November 2, 1889. The Capital is Pierre.

Our travels have taken us through South Dakota a surprising number of times. The Corn Palace in Mitchell and Wall Drug Store in Wall are two fun places to take a travel break along Interstate 90.

Like so many other people, we made the Black Hills our primary travel destination in South Dakota. There is so much to see there we couldn’t do everything we wanted on our first trip so we returned five years later. In addition to the spectacular scenery, the highlights of our visits were Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Monument, Custer State Park, the wildlife, Deadwood, Wind Cave National Park and Badlands National Park.

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Mount Rushmore National Monument
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Crazy Horse Monument in 2006
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Crazy Horse Monument in the summer of 2011
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Five years after our first trip to the Black Hills, we camped at Game Lodge Campground in Custer State Park. We loved being close to so much wildlife.

Custer State Park is home to herds of Bison, also known as American Buffalo. Many can be seen from the scenic Wildlife Loop Road. Some also like to hang out in other parts of the park and we often saw them near the Game Lodge Campground. There were many calves when we were there in early June. As we drove through the park and on the drive through Wind Cave National Park we saw bison, pronghorn antelope, prairie dogs wild burros, and even white tail deer. This collage of the bison and other wildlife we saw in and around Custer State Park shows just a small sample of the wildlife that is there.

Just driving through the Black Hills is an adventure and there are several scenic drives to enjoy. Iron Mountain Road and the Needles Highway are both narrow, steep, curvy roads with single lane tunnels. There were spectacular views from the Mount Coolidge Overlook at the end of another narrow road. Another day the views were spectacular as we drove through Spearfish Canyon but I forgot my camera that day!

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Along the Needles Highway in Custer Sate Park
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Eye of the Needle on the Needles Highway
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Needle Tunnel
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Mount Rushmore from one of the tunnels on Iron Mountain Road
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View of Crazy Horse Monument from the top of the Coolidge Overlook in Custer State Park

Deadwood is famous for being the town where Wild Bill Hickok was shot by Jack McCoy in the Number 10 Saloon in 1876. In the new Number 10 Saloon visitors can see a reenactment of the shooting of Wild Bill and there are reenactments in the street with gunslingers. We took the drive to his grave in the nearby Mount Moriah Cemetery.

We discovered a couple of delightful campgrounds outside of the Black Hills during our South Dakota journeys. The owners are hard working and helpful at the Belvidere East KOA. Blondie enjoyed the dog park and we loved the Indian Tacos at their restaurant. The sunset was great, too.

Sunset at Belvidere East Campground
Sunset at Belvidere East Campground

Mina Lake State Recreation area near Aberdeen was a perfect place to chill after our time in the Black Hills. The park was practically empty and the camp hosts were friendly and helpful. They even brought us some pheasant appetizers one evening.

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Mina Lake State Recreation area near Aberdeen

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia      Hawaii        Idaho  Illinois      Indiana      Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky     Louisiana     Maine     Maryland     Massachusetts     Michigan     Minnesota    Mississippi     Missouri     Montana     Nebraska     Nevada      New Hampshire     New Mexico      New York     North Carolina    North Dakota      Ohio     Oklahoma     Oregon     Pennsylvania    South Carolina

Wandering Around America One State at a Time – South Carolina

State 36:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!

I will be featuring the states alphabetically. We have never been to Rhode Island so the next state in my series is

South Carolina

South Carolina became the 8th state on May 23, 1788. The capital is Columbia.

For most of my life I have lived about 30 minutes from the Georgia/South Carolina state line. We’ve crossed the Talmadge bridge from Savannah into South Carolina many times to travel the beautiful lowcountry roads for day trips to Hilton Head, Bluffton or Beaufort. We’ve also enjoyed may boat ride in the waters around Daufuskie Island and Hilton Head Island.

Before we started our RV travels we made a couple of weekend trips to Charleston. When we weren’t browsing the booths at City Market or enjoying one of the many great restaurants we wandered the streets admiring the antebellum homes with their beautiful gardens.   Our walks would usually end up at the Battery where we strolled along the promenade by the seawall and explored the waterfront park.

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Rainbow Row in Charleston
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Charleston Battery
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Pineapple Fountain in Charleston’s Waterfront Park, The pineapple is a symbol of hospitality.
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Charleston Battery

Henry and I have fond memories of the days we took our children tent camping in Hunting Island State Park so we planned a trip there in our fifth wheel. The Hunting Island Lighthouse is located in the park and the beach is just a short walk from the campground.

One year the mountains of the South Carolina Upcountry were a great place for a getaway from the August heat of coastal Georgia. Our home for a few days was Oconee State Park, located about 30 minutes from the Georgia state line in one direction and the North Carolina state line in another direction. Scenic drives near the campground took us to waterfalls, unfinished tunnels and swimming holes.

Columbia is the capital of South Carolina and the home of the University of South Carolina. We’ve been there for concerts, football games, and to see our grandson play in a soccer tournament. On RV trips it is sometimes a convenient place to spend the night when traveling to another destination.

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Georgia fans in red and South Carolina fans in garnet at Williams-Bryce Stadium

On one of our RV trips we enjoyed stopping at Little Cedar Creek Campground. The park is a nice county park in Ridgeway, South Carolina and we had a great meal at the Old Town Hall Restaurant.

Old Town Hall in Ridgeway, South Carolina
Old Town Hall in Ridgeway, South Carolina

Lake Wateree State Park was another enjoyable place to spend a couple of nights. The park is a popular destination for families and boaters.

And how could we resist stopping at South of the Border on Interstate 95 just south of the North Carolina state line?

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South of the Border

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia      Hawaii        Idaho  Illinois      Indiana      Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky     Louisiana     Maine     Maryland     Massachusetts     Michigan     Minnesota    Mississippi     Missouri     Montana     Nebraska     Nevada      New Hampshire     New Mexico      New York     North Carolina    North Dakota      Ohio     Oklahoma     Oregon     Pennsylvania

Wandering Around America One State at a Time – Pennsylvania

State 35:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!

I will be featuring the states alphabetically. The next state in my series is

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania became the 2nd state on December 12, 1787. The capital is Harrisburg.

When I was a teenager, my family made a trip to Philadelphia to see the historic sites. All I remember is seeing the Liberty Bell (it was more years ago than I want to admit and I was a teenager after all). About 40 years ago my husband and I took our kids tent camping to Pennsylvania and toured the Hershey factory and the Gettysburg National Military Park. We made some wonderful memories with our children who were two and six at the time. Unfortunately I don’t have photos from those trips.

Just a few years ago Henry and I traveled through Pennsylvania on an RV trip with our fifth wheel. Always looking for a waterfront campsite, we found a great one at Ferryboat Campsites in Liverpool, right on the banks of the Susquehanna River.

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View of the Susquehanna River from the campground
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View of the Susquehanna River from the campground

The Millersburg Ferry is the last operating ferry on the Susquehanna River. The ferry landing is located in the campground so of course we took a ride across the river.

Millersburg Ferry in Liverpool, Pennsylvania
Millersburg Ferry in Liverpool, Pennsylvania
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Millersburg Ferry on the Susquehanna River
Millersburg Ferry is the last operating ferry on the Susquehanna River
Millersburg Ferry is the last operating ferry on the Susquehanna River
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Millersburg Ferry
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Each mark on the building represents the year and the height of a flood

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia      Hawaii        Idaho  Illinois      Indiana      Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky     Louisiana     Maine     Maryland     Massachusetts     Michigan     Minnesota    Mississippi     Missouri     Montana     Nebraska     Nevada      New Hampshire     New Mexico      New York     North Carolina    North Dakota      Ohio     Oklahoma     Oregon

Wandering Around America One State at a Time – Oregon

State 34:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!

I will be featuring the states alphabetically. The next state in my series is

Oregon

Oregon became the 33rd state on February 14, 1859. The capital is Salem.

Our visit to Oregon was entirely along the spectacular Pacific coast along Highway 101. In order to have easy access to the scenic overlooks we traveled south from Washington. After crossing the Columbia River bridge our Oregon journey began.

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Crossing the Columbia River into Oregon

We were towing our fifth wheel as we drove south. Lucky for us the overlooks were big enough that we didn’t have any trouble finding parking places.

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Tillimook Rock Lighthouse
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Northern Oregon Coast
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Northern Oregon Coast

We enjoy camping in state parks so before we left home I called the Oregon State Parks to find out if I needed campground reservations. We were traveling in late April and the ranger assured me we would not have a problem finding a campsite that time of year (this was ten years ago and campsites may be harder to get now). Our first two night stay was at Beverly Beach State Park in Newport. With the fifth wheel parked in our campsite we were able to take the truck on several scenic drives.

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Devil’s Punchbowl
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Surfer’s on the beach looking for the right waves
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Bridge at Depoe Bay
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Bridge on Otter Crest Drive

We visited two lighthouses near Newport.

After climbing to the top of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse we walked down a series of stairs for a stroll along the beach. We came upon Harbor Seals sunning themselves on the rocks.

I love the Oregon bridges and this one we saw from the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse was one of my favorites.

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Bridge near Yaquina Bay Lighthouse

Our Oregon adventure continued as we continued south from Newport on Hwy 101. The first stop of the day was at the Sea Lion Caves near Florence. The caves are 250 feet below the visitors center. After a long elevator ride we were down in the caves for a close up view of the Stellar Sea Lions. The waves crashed into the cave while the seals held on to the rocks and barked at each other.

As we continued south we passed the huge Oregon sand dunes and stopped for lunch at the Umqua Lighthouse State Park.

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Umpqua Lighthouse

We settled into our campsite at Humbug Mountain State Park near Port Orford for our next two night stay. Our campsite was a short walk from the beach.

The campground was just a short drive to the Port Orford Heads State Park and Lifeboat Stations. The ocean views were breathtaking as we hiked along the trails on top of the cliffs. At the museum we learned the Coast Guardsmen used to go down over 500 steps to launch their lifeboats.

When we weren’t enjoying the rugged coast, lighthouses, dog friendly beaches, bridges, seals and lifeboat stations in Oregon we took time out to enjoy some amazing fresh seafood in Newport and Port Orford. Our time there was short and we didn’t waste a minute of it.

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia      Hawaii        Idaho  Illinois      Indiana      Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky     Louisiana     Maine     Maryland     Massachusetts     Michigan     Minnesota    Mississippi     Missouri     Montana     Nebraska     Nevada      New Hampshire     New Mexico      New York     North Carolina    North Dakota      Ohio     Oklahoma