Dignity ~ Chamberlain, South Dakota

One of the best kept (not so hidden) secrets of traveling in South Dakota, is the Dignity statue. Dignity stands at the rest area in Chamberlain, just off our Interstate 90. She is magnificent to behold, and from the instant I learned of her, I knew I had to see her someday. This was the main reason why we traveled back home via Chamberlain on our trip to the Black Hills region.


Dignity is easy to access given that she is located just off the interstate at the rest area. But this is not your average rest area either! Inside it also contains an information center with fliers about every region of the state (I found several new place to explore while inside), and also has interpretive displays about the time the Lewis and Clark Expedition spent in the area, complete with a Keelboat replica and a viewing terrace that looks out over the Missouri River! You really should plan to go during open hours for the informational center to get the full experience!

Back to Dignity! The statue has signage near it explaining the vision and goal behind creating the sculpture. Something really unique about it, is that the blue diamonds of her shawl actually were built to “move” in the wind!


On top of the coolness of just viewing Dignity (and the museum inside), you also can walk down a path towards the river for better views of the wide Missouri. There were signs saying to watch for snakes, but we didn’t see any while out and about exploring the path.


So the moral of this story is, it can be easy to bypass a rest area and just keep driving, but this is one rest area you should plan to stop at and stretch your legs for a longer amount of time as it offers lots of history and things to see!

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Best Western Lees Motor Inn ~ Chamberlain, South Dakota

While on our way home from the Black Hills region, we spent a night in Chamberlain, South Dakota, right along the beautiful Missouri River. We stayed at the Best Western Lees Motor Inn, that while showing its age, was a wonderful location to stay. This Best Western is two levels, with doors on the outside. It is right down by the river, so you can easily access a river walk path to the north, and there are a few restaurants close by.

Our room was right next to the lobby on the lower level. We were able to park our car right in front of our room to unload our few bags. The room opened to a spacious bedroom area, that held a bed, table/desk, armchair, desk chair, and TV stand with TV, fridge and microwave.

The small doorway led to the sink and closet area. The sink was to the left and closet to the right.

The doorway beyond the closet led to the rest of the bathroom facilities.


On of the really unique features of this hotel was that they had a separate building for the pool area. We had the whole pool area to ourselves the night we were there. It was a huge space and also contained the ice machine. Note: They do lock it after pool hours, so get your ice early!

I didn’t get any pictures of breakfast, but they had a wide selection in a room off of the lobby area. (It actually would have been on the opposite side of the wall from the TV in our room.) They had several tables to dine at and the selection had several hot options including biscuits and gravy, eggs, and a waffle maker.

We really enjoyed our stay at the Best Western in Chamberlain, and enjoyed all the time we spent in that peaceful town!

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Chamberlain Walking Path ~ Chamberlain, South Dakota

On our return trip from the Black Hills regions, we decided to come home via Chamberlain so that we could visit the Dignity statue in the morning. We arrived in Chamberlain in time for dinner, checked into our hotel, and then decided to take a walk along the river front.

We walked a portion of the Chamberlain Walking Path that sits along the Missouri River and American Creek. The view of the sunset was just gorgeous and they had so many fun sculptures along the path. It was a very enjoyable way to spend a portion of our evening.


If you ever find yourself in Chamberlain for the night, I highly suggest this walking path as the sun sets! It was just beautiful to witness!

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Lucky’s 13 Pub ~ Spearfish, South Dakota

While on vacation, we find we almost never can go wrong checking out a pub. Pub food always seems to be good food. Lucky’s 13 was no different! We did partially decide to check it out due to raving reviews from Andrew’s family after they visited the Bismarck, North Dakota location. Turns out there are quite a few of these spread throughout the Dakotas and Minnesota!

Lucky’s 13 in Spearfish is located in a newer development north of town attached to a hotel and conference center. Our GPS guided us to a bank parking lot that I think it assumed was attached to Lucky’s lot, but we actually had to drive back around and further up the hill to access it.

The parking lot was pretty full when we arrived, as it shares the lot with the hotel and conference center. We actually had to park closer to the hotel, but the restaurant itself was dead when we got there for an early dinner.

There were so many tasty looking options on the menu, but I just couldn’t pass up the Jumbo Pretzel. I’m not a fan of mustard so just asked for a double portion of cheese dip.


The pretzel ran me $10, but as you can see, it was HUGE! Plus they gave me more than enough cheese for dipping purposes. I actually had extra pretzel to take home with me!

Andrew opted for the Cheese Curd Mac & Cheese, and then did an extra side of curds so that I could try them as well. It was a very cheese filled meal, completely appropriate for a Wisconsin girl like me!


Again you can see the portion was huge! The cheese curds were super tasty and Andrew really enjoyed his Mac and Cheese, although determined that in the future he would just do the standard Mac and Cheese, as it’s cheesy enough without the cheese curds.

We got our food relatively quickly as we were there early, but after we were eating the place started to fill up more as it seemed the conference being held at the conference center next door was wrapping up.

I highly recommend the food at Lucky’s 13 Pub and am guessing any of their locations would be well worth a visit!

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Days Inn Spearfish ~ Spearfish, South Dakota

After exploring Spearfish Canyon, we found our hotel for the night. The Days Inn is located just off the interstate on the west edge of town. There are several shops and restaurants nearby.

I was a bit put off right away when we checked in as we were told we were “lucky” they had a place for us since they were overbooked. Seeing as how I had reserved our room months before, I didn’t appreciate being told that! Especially since the parking lot never even filled that night and I maybe saw two other guests in the hotel during our time there.

We were given a room on the second level, which was fine as we had minimal luggage to lug up the stairs to our room. I also always appreciate an upper floor level room as it means no one is walking above you.

Upon entering the room a small closet space was to the left with a luggage rack, along with the sink. Clearly they’ve had issues with people using their nice white wash cloths for makeup removal or on their motorcycles in the past, so they had a specially marked colored cloth that could be used for that purpose.


The rest of the bathroom was in a room off to the right. Standard run of the mill toilet and shower/tub.


Our room was quite spacious with two queen beds, 2 arm chairs, a tv stand with tv, microwave and mini fridge, and also a random table.


The table really threw me off as there’s no chair that actually functioned with it, so it seemed kind of pointless. I also thought it was really odd to have a hotel room that wasn’t completely carpeted (I’ve only had hard floor in beach resort rooms prior to this.) It was really weird to have laminate wood on part of it, but carpet by the beds. The whole thing made me wonder how clean the floor really got with housekeeping having to clean it in two different ways.


We did not breakfast at the hotel, but they did have a small breakfast area right down by the lobby. Overall, I was not impressed with the facility for the price we paid. I would have expected a little better given this ran me twice as much as many Days Inns typically do, but it also seemed to be the best price in town.

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An Afternoon in Spearfish Canyon ~ Spearfish, South Dakota

Following our lunch in Rapid City, we took the afternoon to drive Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway. The start of the scenic byway is just off the interstate, and there were many signs pointing us in the right directions. We wanted to drive this both to view the fall foliage and the 3 major waterfalls that are located along the byway.

The first waterfall is easily accessible. There is a roadside stop off area to one side and across the road is Bridal Veil Falls.


There is a small viewing platform area where you can get some decent photos of the falls, but this is a very quick stop to just pose for a picture, snap a few others of the falls on their own, and hop back in the car.


The next two sets of falls are located much further south along the byway. You will reach the small town of Savoy that offers a nice lodge and restaurant. To the west is a dirt road that will lead to Roughlock Falls. We opted to park at the trailhead to get a nice hike in. There is a small bathroom located at the start of the trail and parking for a few vehicles. You also can adventure further up the road to get a closer parking spot to the falls.

On this hike you can see many beautiful plants along the creek bed and also the canyon walls towering high above. The end goal is of course, Roughlock Falls. You can get a nice shot below them when hiking the trail and then also take the series of path bridges to climb further above the falls, closer to that second parking area. Lots of unique vantage points for viewing Roughlock Falls.

Roughlock Falls is located on the lodge side of the road. For Spearfish Falls, you will want to park by the restaurant. Here they have a small overlook from the top and you can look down below to also see the lower viewpoint that you can hike to.


You can’t fully appreciate the falls from above, so I highly recommend making the short hike down to that lower viewpoint for some especially stunning views! This was by far our favorite of the three!


The Spearfish Canyon Byway is well worth the afternoon (or morning) trek. You can easily view all three of these beautiful falls in a couple of hours. It’s especially beautiful in the fall as the leaves are changing! I would certainly return, and while we ran into a few other couples hiking here or there, we were relatively alone in our visit, making it very peaceful!

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Dickey’s Barbecue Pit ~ Rapid City, South Dakota

Before we left town for Spearfish, we decided to grab lunch at a barbecue place I had stumbled upon in the mall a few days before. It also appears that they used to have a location on one of the main strips, but that doesn’t seem to be open anymore, at least not during our visit in September. Dickey’s Barbecue is actually a chain that has locations in nearly every state, but surprisingly, this is the first one we stumbled upon!

This particular Dickey’s Barbecue is located adjacent to the food court in the Rushmore Mall, but has it’s own seating (and they also cater!) You order at the counter, where they slice your meat option right in front of you, add your sides to the tray, and then you pay and take it to your table.

Andrew and I both ordered the brisket platter, I got mine with mashed potatoes and a side of waffle fries.

Andrew opted to get sides of beans and mac and cheese.


They did offer a few kinds of sauces, and will provide you with a cup when you pay of whatever selection you would like. We did notice a bit later that they also have dispensers located by the drink machine!

We love our barbecue, and in our opinion Dickey’s is good for barbecue in a hurry. It’s slightly better than getting fast food from a normal fast food joint, but quite pricey for the quality of barbecue.  If I didn’t have to tightly budget, I’d visit again, but also think other places would be more worth my money.

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Firehouse Brewing Company ~ Rapid City, South Dakota

Following our “failed” hike at Bear Butte State Park, we drove back into Rapid City for dinner. Many people have talked up Firehouse Brewing to us before, so we figured we’d give it a shot. Firehouse Brewing is located right downtown in an old firehouse. The decor reflects the building’s history and I loved all the fire patches that have been given to the restaurant over time.

For our meal, I chose to order the Battalion Brisket. This included brisket and queso in between two slices of sourdough.


While it wasn’t bad, I wasn’t sure why everyone raved about the place. Queso cheese and brisket are two unique flavors that probably shouldn’t be mixed together!


Andrew tried the Bacon Cheddar Burger and decided to get the Mac and Cheese Bites as a side. Again, he enjoyed it but it wasn’t anything to write home about. Just your standard restaurant burger.

They also had a few BBQ sauces to choose from on the table. Normally, I would have added some to my brisket, but with having the queso on there, that was already more than enough flavor to mix together, that I didn’t actually add anymore!


Following our meal, we stopped by Firehouse Wine Cellars next door to sample a few of their wines. There you pay by the sample, so choose wisely! I did end up picking up one bottle of dessert wine, but most of their wines were to dry for my liking!

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Bear Butte State Park ~ Sturgis, South Dakota

Every Tuesday afternoon during pastors conference, pastors and their families are given the opportunity to go out and explore the area. This year, we opted to drive out to Bear Butte State Park, with the goal of climbing to the top of the Butte.

You must pay the state park fee to enter, although there is no one manning a station. It’s simply an envelope payment box where you receive the sticker that goes in your car. From there it’s short drive up the road to the parking lot and education center.

We did not stop in the education center but rather took right to the trail. They have a small outdoor bathroom at the trailhead and some signs giving your information about Bear Butte, which actually is a mountain when you compare the two definitions. This should have been our first sign we maybe weren’t going to make it to the top!


In the photo above Bear Butte is the peak off to the left. The trail started out as pretty packed down gravel, and then got more narrow as we climbed higher.


Along the way, you can see lots of interesting rock formations. This is kind of the start of the Black Hills if you are coming from the north!


We were very winded by the time we reached the peak to the right of Bear Butte. From there we had great views of the hills and the lake area of the park that is across the road from where we were. That section has a trail that goes around the lake and is where the campground is located. You can see from the view on the right that the hills haven’t even really started in that area!

At this point our trackers indicated we had only gone about half the distance on the trail and we were already exhausted as we clearly were not in as great of shape as we thought! Turns our walking 5 miles a day around your flat town does not get you ready for a 2 mile uphill hike! We decided to cut our losses, take a picture from the top of this peak with Bear Butte’s peak in the background and head back down!


We enjoyed our hike, but realized we need to be in far better shape to make it all the way to the top the next time we attempt to visit. It also was incredibly windy up there, so come prepared with that knowledge!

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Best Western Ramkota ~ Rapid City, South Dakota

This past fall, the annual fall pastors conference for our state was held in the conference center attached to the Best Western Ramkota, so it was suggested that all participants book a room there. While it was not the quality of last year’s Holiday Inn stay, the hotel was still decent, but I do think next year I’d stay somewhere on the other side of the interstate or closer to downtown where I tend to spend most of my time during the conference.

Our room was located on the first floor of this sprawling building. We had to drive around the side and park in a lot closer to our room for ease of access. Our room had two queen beds and a sliding patio door that led you to a “lovely” view of the parking lot.


The coffee maker and a large mirror were located just to the left upon entering, right outside the bathroom. I actually like having a counter a mirror space outside the bathroom as it can be a great place to do hair/make up without hogging the bathroom, or trying to cram both of us in the bathroom space at one time! As you can see the bathroom was a bit cramped!

Our two beds were on one wall, and a large TV sat on an entertainment center that also housed a microwave and mini fridge. There also was a small table/desk and chair.

The Best Western Ramkota in Rapid City does have a few fun perks in that they have a restaurant onsite (Minerva’s, although this means no free breakfast included.) and they have both a standard swimming pool and a waterpark pool in separate rooms across the hall from each other. Due to having the waterpark, they require all guests to wear wristbands if using either of the pool area, but this helps keep out non-paying people from using it! We didn’t use the waterpark space as it’s just us two adults, but did enjoy some time in the pool and hot tub. The main pool area also contains a small kiddie pool off to the left of the entrance, the hot tub is to the right.

Because of the hotel’s crazy expansion of buildings, there also is a nice courtyard area in the middle. You can access if from several hallways and also the main pool area. They have several tables out in that area where you could enjoy a meal. Some lower rooms even open up to the courtyard, and they also have little doggie clean up bag posts so you could take your furry friends out to that space.

While this is not my favorite place to stay in Rapid City, it worked out just fine for the time we were there. We probably won’t stay here again, but I wouldn’t discourage people from staying here either! For me the location just wasn’t as great as others.

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