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  1. #1
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    Cheyenne, WY and Sioux City, SD

    I'm going to be driving from Aspen to Chicago next week and since I've never been to Mt. Rushmore I thought it might be nice to go that way. I'm going through Cheyenne, WY and Sioux City, SD on my way and I was wondering if there's anything worth doing some sightseeing for in either city.
    I cannot venture out, as I'm on a time limit, so I have to stick to the route and interstate. However, I would have a few hours that I could look around both cities.
    Any suggestions are welcome! Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    Tranquillo
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    Near Rushmore, be sure to visit Custer State Park. Do the loop drive and you'll see some fun animals.
    "The Devil is joining in, and that's never a good sign." Phil Liggett

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    Not sure how close Deadwood SD is (we went from Mt Rushmore to Deadwood on our trip, but it might be way out of your route - not feeling like looking at a map right now), but its worth a visit if for nothing else than the Black Hills gold jewelry.

  4. #4
    what a glorious day!
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    Don't miss the Crazy Horse Memorial near Sioux City. Also, I know you said you visited Mt. Rushmore, but did you view it from the left? We visited the parks in November, after they were closed to visitors. The skies were so clear and the temperatures in the 70s. Absolutely beautiful.

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    I've been to Cheyenne many times (relatives live there). I can honestly say there is nothing there except for an Air force base, the state capital, lots of wind and a big railroad yard. . There is a small downtown area with some shops but nothing really to do. One time I did take a bus tour around the older parts of downtown and I think that lasted about an hour. I would just use it as a place to eat/sleep.

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    My grandmother lived in Sioux City so I was there as a small child. As far as I remember, there was nothing much there except I remember a large river.

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    I second the recommendation to see the Crazy Horse memorial if you can. I'm so limited in my creativity-ness that people who can even think that things like Crazy Horse and Mt. Rushmore are even possible, much less accomplish them, are amazing to me. The stories behind them are really interesting.

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    I live in northern Colorado and have been to the Black Hills a few times. Going there is way out of the line of direction to go to Chicago, so you had better add 2 days to your trip vs. just hauling a** on I-80. Let's face it, there is nothing much to see on the interstates. You have to get off of them to go anyplace interesting. Just by chance, there is a big story in today's Fort Collins Coloradoan titled "Adventures Across Nebraska's Great Platte River Road" http://www.coloradoan.com/article/20...tte-River-Road that describes cool historical things you can see off of I-80 in Nebraska, especially on the Lincoln Highway. If you have to drive across Nebraska, which is tedious at best, this is a good way to make it interesting.

    Now, back to the Black Hills. They are fantastic! There are many places to sightsee, including Mt. Rushmore, Wind Cave Natl. Park, Jewel Cave Natl. Park, Devil's Tower (a short drive west of Rapid City), Custer State Park (thousands of bison roaming free there), Crazy Horse Monument, and the historic town of Deadwood. If I had to prioritize, I would recommend visiting Mt. Rushmore, driving the wildlife loop road in Custer State Park, and driving past the Crazy Horse monument (under construction and a rip off to pay for anything there). For a place to stay, I highly recommend the 4 lodges at Custer State Park, especially the State Game Lodge (which is near the wildlife loop road) and Sylvan Lake Lodge. They are open seasonally. Driving the roads in the Black Hills is incredibly scenic. Going east from there on I-90, you can stop at Badlands Natl. Park for an hour or so. With so many potential stops at natl. parks, I recommend buying the interagency annual park pass for $80.

    A sensible way to do this trip that includes the Black Hills would be to drive from Aspen to either Fort Collins or Cheyenne on Day 1, drive to the Black Hills via Wyoming state roads on Day 2 (only a 5-6 hr. drive, then sightsee a little), spend Day 3 touring around the Black Hills (Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, wildlife loop road), drive east on I-90 on Day 4 with a brief stop at the Badlands. Stop somewhere in SD or WI overnight and finish the trip with a short stint going into Chicago on Day 5.

    If you have to make good time on your trip, you can take I-70 to I-76 to I-80, with some brief historical stops in Nebraska. That trip would be a 2-day trip (about 20 hours). You could stay overnight in Kearney or Omaha. It is boring scenery once you are out of the Rocky Mountains.

    Re: Cheyenne and Sioux City, there is not much to see in either of those places.
    Last edited by madm; 04-12-2013 at 12:57 AM. Reason: name correction

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    There isn't much in Sioux City that I recall, but just north of SC is Vermillion, which is a college town. Right outside of Vermillion is the Spirit Mound, which I thought was quite interesting. Although, alas, we didn't see any of the spirits.

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    Keep an eye on the weather, there is an awful lot of water and there is snow.

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    Thanks for all the information. Definitely useful!

    madm: I know it's not the direct route to Chicago but I have about a week to get there. (might even end up being a couple more days than that; that'll be decided in the next few days) I'll actually go from Aspen to Denver and continue from there.

    mrr50: I'm definitely prepared for the weather; lot's of different weather here in Colorado right now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrr50 View Post
    Keep an eye on the weather, there is an awful lot of water and there is snow.
    mrr50 is right. The northern route on I-90 will be susceptible to snowstorms, while the southern route on I-80 could have tornado warnings. Check the Weather Channel before you leave Aspen.

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    Are you talking about Sioux City, IOWA or Sioux FALLS, South Dakota? There is no Sioux City, SD, just a North Sioux City, SD, which is next to Sioux City, IA.

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    Tranquillo
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    Madm's description above basically describes my exact trip to the Black Hills and is exactly what I'd recommend if you can find the time. I stayed at Sylvan Lake Lodge which, like most state and federal park lodges, is old and not full of luxuries, but you can't beat the location and the feel of really being in the park and able to look out your window and see a herd of bison roaming by.

    If you can find a day or two, it's well worth it. One word of warning, the roads in the black hills can be narrow and windy and you won't be making quick time on some of the roads. But you wouldn't want to zip by either because the scenery is so wonderful. The road to Badlands Nat'ls Park is flat and straight and you can make good time there, but allow sufficient time once you get off the highway and are going to or from Rushmore and Custer.
    "The Devil is joining in, and that's never a good sign." Phil Liggett

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    Quote Originally Posted by stanhope View Post
    Are you talking about Sioux City, IOWA or Sioux FALLS, South Dakota? There is no Sioux City, SD, just a North Sioux City, SD, which is next to Sioux City, IA.
    Sorry I've got a three day exam going on at the moment after three crazy weeks preparing for it, so my head's not quite straight; I mean Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

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    I was in Sioux Falls once. The falls are nice, and I went to a really big public pool, but don't remember much outside that.

    The plains states aren't nearly as boring topographically as many assume. I thought Iowa was just flatland, but the Quad city area is positively hilly, and there is this awesome little canyon tucked in the middle of some farmland somewhere. Compared to Florida, the elevations there are almost mountainous. I think I would like to visit Iowa again, in particular Iowa City. It seems like an nice place to live were it not for the hard winters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by leesaleesa View Post
    I was in Sioux Falls once. The falls are nice, and I went to a really big public pool, but don't remember much outside that.

    The plains states aren't nearly as boring topographically as many assume. I thought Iowa was just flatland, but the Quad city area is positively hilly, and there is this awesome little canyon tucked in the middle of some farmland somewhere. Compared to Florida, the elevations there are almost mountainous. I think I would like to visit Iowa again, in particular Iowa City. It seems like an nice place to live were it not for the hard winters.
    Western Nebraska is not flat or boring, either. Lots of good stuff out there.

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    ballettmaus, what has happened to your trip?! We have 18" of snow in our backyard in Fort Collins, and it's been snowing for 3 days straight. I-25 north to Cheyenne is closed and was closed earlier this week. What route did you take? Unless you got to the Black Hills before the storm hit, I can't imagine that you were able to go that way this week. The weather looks awful up by Chicago too. Now, if you can just wait until tomorrow to start your journey, you might be able to follow your original plan! The Black Hills in the snow would be quite scenic and very uncrowded.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by madm View Post
    ballettmaus, what has happened to your trip?! We have 18" of snow in our backyard in Fort Collins, and it's been snowing for 3 days straight. I-25 north to Cheyenne is closed and was closed earlier this week. What route did you take? Unless you got to the Black Hills before the storm hit, I can't imagine that you were able to go that way this week. The weather looks awful up by Chicago too. Now, if you can just wait until tomorrow to start your journey, you might be able to follow your original plan! The Black Hills in the snow would be quite scenic and very uncrowded.
    I'm stuck in Ft. Collins at the moment. I-25 to Cheyenne was closed yesterday. I considered going to Cheyenne today but the hotels are all booked and going towards Nebraska and taking the direct route to Chicago didn't seem like a good option today either. Black ice and ice rain warnings! So I'm staying another night in Ft Collins.

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    Cool! Hope you are enjoying your time in Ft. Collins even if it's snowing! The Old Town area has many great restaurants and the brewery tours are a great way to pass some time (New Belgium and O'Dells are my favorites). For restaurants, I recommend Bisetti's (Italian), Rio Grande (Mexican), Coopersmith's (brew pub American fare), and Austin's (American) - all are near the corner of Mountain and College Aves. Believe me, it's much better to be stranded in Ft. Collins than in Cheyenne!

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