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entering Custer State Park sign

The two RV Gypsies
at Custer State Park
in South Dakota
August 19, 2013

Custer State Park is a state park and wildlife reserve in the Black Hills of southwestern South Dakota, USA. The park is South Dakota's largest and first state park, named after Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer. It is also the second largest state park in America, and encompasses 71,000 acres of spectacular terrain and an abundance of wildlife. Custer State Park Resort is privately operated under agreement with the Division of Parks and Recreation.

Custer State Park has many one lane, narrow tunnels, and lots of sharp, curvy roads.

sign: One lane tunnel
sign about tunnel clearances
a one lane tunnel
a one land tunnel

view coming out of the tunnel

view coming out of the tunnel
big rocks

When the two RV Gypsies drove around a curve, they came to a traffic jam. Not knowing what was going on, Karen got out of the car to investigate. First, she took a photo of a nearby sign.

sign about the Needles Eye

Then Karen saw about 3 rows of people, ten people to a row. Karen worked her way to the front of the crowd to see a tour bus very slowly working its way through The Needles Eye Tunnel. So like everyone else, Karen took a few photos.

our bus very slowly working its way through The Needles Eye Tunnel
our bus very slowly working its way through The Needles Eye Tunnel

Since the bus was moving very slowly, Karen decided to investigate the rocks to the right of the tunnel, and she worked her way past a lady to see where a young boy was climbing to. Since it was just a dead-end, Karen returned to check on the status of the bus in the tunnel.

Karen investigates some big rocks
Karen investigates some big rocks

Just as Karen emerged from the rocks, the bus emerged from the tunnel and the driver signaled to her to come closer. Then he held up a bottle of Maalox and a sign that said "Caution, student driver".  The bus driver said something to Karen but she did not understand what he said, so she just laughed and turned her attention elsewhere.

The bus driver says something to Karen
laughing clipart dudebus driver with a Caution, student driver sign

Then a pickup truck and a motorcycle came through the Needles Eye Tunnel. Bet they weren't too thrilled about being behind the tour bus, and were worried about the bus getting stuck.

truck coming though the tunnel

As Karen turned her attention away from the tunnel, she saw the tour bus trying to get past Lee in their truck. Lee was unable to move the truck still and a lot of cars were waiting to go through the tunnel.

tour bus trying to get through the road
tour bus trying to get through the road

As the tour bus made its way around Lee, people hurried to get into their cars. Karen quickly joined Lee in the truck and they managed to get through the tunnel without any hesitation. Lee constantly blew the truck's horn while getting through the short tunnel, so that another car would not enter the tunnel from the other side.

Lee Duquette in his truck
the two RV Gypsies going through the tunnel

After exiting the tunnel, the two RV Gypsies pulled off the road at a lookout and Karen zoomed in on the cars on this side of the tunnel wanting their turn in the tunnel.

cars trying to get through the tunnel
cars trying to get through the tunnel

Now that all of that entertainment was behind them, the two RV Gypsies enjoyed the beauty of Custer State Park as they drove along in their truck.

the beauty of Custer State Park
the beauty of Custer State Park

Rounding a corner, the two RV Gypsies saw a rock formation so tall that Karen could not get all of it in a photograph. The road was too narrow to pull over to take a picture, so Karen had to settle on snapping a photo as they passed it and one photo after they passed it.

a tall rock
rock formation
 

Slender granite formations called "Needles" dominated the skyline.

Slender granite formations called Needles dominate the skyline.
Slender granite formations called Needles dominate the skyline.
Slender granite formations called Needles dominate the skyline.
Slender granite formations called Needles; dominate the skyline.
panorama at Custer State Park

As the two RV Gypsies drove around another corner, they saw a pullout area with a lot of cars parked. Lee stopped the truck and Karen got out to ask someone standing next to his parked car with the door open to close his car door so Lee could park in the only available parking space. Karen held up traffic, enabling Lee to park. They checked out the sign at the start of the trail in this majestic area and decided that the trail was too long for them to hike, so they decided to just go a short way up the trail to take some amazing photos of the needles.

sign about the Cathedral Spires area

The rock says that this is
 a registered natural landmark.

Lee enjoyed the scenery
from the trail.

a registered natural landmark
Lee Duquette enjoying the scenery
the Cathedral Spires area
Cathedral Spires area
panorama of the Cathedral Spires area
the Cathedral Spires area
the Cathedral Spires area
Karen Duquette at Custer State Park
the Cathedral Spires area
Karen Duquette in the Cathedral Spires area
Lee Duquette in the Cathedral Spires area
some kind of tall flower
sign about the Cathedral Spires area
sign about the Cathedral Spires area
sign about the Cathedral Spires area

After exploring that trail for a short distance, the two RV Gypsies went back to their truck and prepared to tackle another one-way tunnel, a short tunnel this time.

another one way tunnel
divider bar

Then they stopped and had a picnic lunch at the Hole in Wall Picnic Area.

Hole in Wall Picnic Area

As Karen investigated the area, it was easy to see how the picnic area got its name, as the hole in the wall is just a dead end, and not very deep.

Hole in Wall Picnic Area
Hole in Wall Picnic Area

As the two RV Gypsies drove out of the Cathedral spires / needles area, they kept a watchful eye out for wildlife.

Look below for more great adventures

go to the next adventure of the two RV Gypsies as they seek wildlife please continue on and join the two RV Gypsies
in their search for wildlife in Custer State Park