Day 4 – Pirate’s Cove Mini Golf

The weather was turning wonderful on Day 4 so we decided to surprise my daughter with a trip to Pirate’s Cove. This was right up her alley. She likes pirates about as much as she likes princesses and who can pass up mini-golf!? Also, whomever does the landscaping on this needs to come to my house. This was the “prettiest” mini golf course I have ever seen, the flowers and trees around this are perfect. I am pleased to say I got a hole-in-one on number 7 but I also took an 8 on a par 2 so I’m hoping they just cancel each other out. I’m not telling you my daughter’s score, she TOTALLY is a cheater.

Ahoy! Pirate's Cove!

Line up towards the cannon and bank it off the second tombstone.

Showing off her golf skills.

There were a few other land lovers on the course as well.

It wasn't until hole 3 that she really started to cheat.

My daughter wanted to know if these bones were "real".

Totally fun course. Waterfalls, bridges and a shark. Perfect.

Giving me her "Yo Ho Ho, a Pirate's Life for me" with her take-home pirate patch, Jolly Rogers flag and hat.

Day 3 – Hill City

Actually Hill City was day 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6…  I think we hit Hill City just about everyday, but I’m okay with that, because it is MY favorite Black Hills town. And you need to see “Iron Star” a 1400 pound horse statue made from scrap iron created by artist John Lopez. As I was taking photos, an older gentleman was circling the sculpture in silence. I asked him what he thought and he said, “It’s unbelievable, I could look at it all day.” Yes, that sums it up nicely. Cheers to the Hill City Art Council.

"Iron Star" sculpture

An amazing sculpture

There is a spoon in the middle of the nose

Hill City shops

As you are driving from Hill City back to Rapid City, you drive under this massive wood timber bridge called the Keystone Wye. Back in college, I painted this bridge because I’m a weird bridge fanatic and I’m tempted to paint it again. You can’t just stop on the road to get this shot, you have to yell at your mom to get the camera out and have her take photos as you go under it while you slow down to at least 45 miles an hour. Not that I did that, er, well here is the photo and my college painting equivalent.

Keystone Wye (PS Thanks Mom!)

In my ignorance, I just called it: "Keystone Bridge" Oil on Canvas, 1997. AHC

Our Black Hills Vacation


My mother and I decided to take an “early” vacation out to the Black Hills of South Dakota with my two young daughters in tow. And by early, I mean  before the Memorial Day crowd.  For years I’ve worked in the tourism industry yet I myself have not REALLY experienced the “tourist” feeling out in the hills so this was an opportunity to spend some time with my mom as well as my girls in the state I now call home.  I had been there a handful of times throughout the years usually for work or some other unrelated trip and the last time I saw Mount Rushmore was in the cold of March back in 1996 when I showed off my mad snow skiing skillz on Terry Peak with my college friends.

Needless to say it was time. So we packed up my Ford Edge, charged up the iPad and Nintendo DSs and headed for Rapid City. Now I live in the Glacial Lakes region of the state so my best route isn’t down to the interstate, it’s meandering through Redfield and over to Pierre.  Our first night was in Fort Pierre since we had to leave after my daughter had finished school and in all honesty it was a test to see how far the girls could stand it in the car. (Or maybe how long I could stand it!) If you have never been to the Capitol building in Pierre, it’s quite impressive.  We drove by it during Friday morning rush at 8:00am and between kids getting to school and employees off to work, it was neat to see such a bustling group of people off on their missions on just a normal day while WE got to go on vacation.

So these next few posts will be photos of our journey and some of the sites that we saw. Overall it was a wonderful experience even if my daughters will barely remember it! Enjoy the photos in the following posts.

Day 1 Blog Posts

1880 Town
Badlands National Park
Wall Drug
Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Day 2 Blog Posts

Bear Country USA
Black Hills Forest
Crazy Horse
Dinosaur Park
Hill City
Old MacDonald’s Farm

Day 3 Blog Posts

1880 Train
Mammoth Site
Prairie Berry Winery
Rock Shop
The Needles/Sylvan Lake
Wind Cave National Park

Day 4 Blog Posts

Jewel Cave National Park
Bobcats Ice Cream
Mount Rushmore Revisited
Pirate’s Cove Mini Golf

Day 5 Blog Posts

Black Hills Institute
The Cosmos
The Journey Museum

Day 6 Blog Posts

Reptile Gardens
Lake Pactola
Mount Moriah
Adams House
Tatanka: Story of the Bison

Day 7 Blog Post
Ironside Scenic Drive
Custer State Park
Rushmore Cinema