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If you’ve missed a mile or two, you can catch up on the highlights here, or see pics from the drive west here and here. Today we’re in the beautiful Black Hill country of South Dakota.

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Beautiful black hill country in South Dakota

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Mt. Rushmore National Monument – you really have to see this to appreciate it. It’s absolutely amazing.

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Mt. Rushmore as seen from the viewing terrace. (That’s my munchkin down there.)

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The kids with Mt. Rushmore in the background.

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There’s a paved walkway that brings you right to the base of the mountain. These loose rocks were actually blasted from the monument site.

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This rock from the “rubble” of Mt. Rushmore shows the drilling lines that were used to break it loose from the monument.

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Here’s a view of the viewing terrace from the base of Mt. Rushmore.

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Two of the kids after a climb on Wrinkled Rock in Black Hills National Forest.

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Hill City, SD…and I’m pretty sure you can see at least 25% of the entire town in this picture, lol. We LOVED it here. (Two days after we left, they were hit with a record-breaking snowstorm.)

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Lunch at the Bumpin’ Buffalo Bar & Grill (Hill City, SD) was astoundingly good. The kid in the middle of this picture had a bison burger for lunch, after which he said it was strange to eat bison with a bison looking on.

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The rail depot where we caught the 1880 steam train through the Black Hills.

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Inside the 100-year-old rail cars of the 1880 train in Hill City, SD. If you look ahead, you can see into the next car.

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An old mine from the 1800s.

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The Black Hills as seen from the 1880s train.

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Old rail spurs from the 1800s that led to various mining camps.

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It was surprisingly hard to get a picture of the train while I was still on it, LOL. By the way, this train track with its long stretch of 7% grade (not pictured) is one of the steepest in the United States.

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Here’s the steam engine. When we reached our initial destination, the engine relocated to the other end of the train for the trip back.

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Two of my girls on the 1880 train.

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An abandoned mining camp, as seen from the 1880 train.

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Back on the road headed east out of Rapid City, SD.

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I never got tired of these amazing views. Near Wall, SD.

IMG_2549This, my friends, is the road to Badlands National Park–one of the most amazing places I’ve ever seen. It has the same wow factor as the Grand Canyon (I’ve been there, too) but you simply don’t see pictures of the Badlands like you do the Grand Canyon, which makes the way the earth drops away absolutely jaw-dropping. Want to see it? If you join me next time, I’ll take you there.🙂