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The two RV Gypsies
in Rapid City, South Dakota
May 17-20, 2016

USA map showing location of South DakotaSouth Dakota map showing location of Rapid City

history clipart bookRapid City (Swift Water City) is the second-largest city in South Dakota (after Sioux Falls) and the county seat of Pennington County. Named after Rapid Creek, on which the city is established, it is set against the eastern slope of the Black Hills mountain range. Known as the "Gateway to the Black Hills" and the "City of Presidents", it is split by a low mountain ridge that divides the western and eastern parts of the city. Ellsworth Air Force Base is located on the outskirts of the city. Camp Rapid, a part of the United States Army National Guard, is located in the western part of the city. The historic "Old West" town of Deadwood is nearby. In the neighboring Black Hills are the popular tourist attractions of Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer State Park, and Wind Cave National Park.

Above Quote from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

sign for the Black Hills
flag - do big things in Rapid City flag - tourism works for Rapid City
unreadable sign about Rapid City billboard for Firehouse  Brewing Company

Below: Firehouse Brewing Company as advertised on the billboard above: The Firehouse is a unique brewery located in Downtown Rapid City. The brewery and restaurant is Rapid City's original fire station featuring handcrafted beers and pub food. The Brewing Company is South Dakota's first brew pub giving customers' unique flavor in beer. There is also a beer garden and fire fighting memorabilia which can be viewed Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Firehouse Brewing Company Firehouse Brewing Company
firemen mural on the side of Firehouse Brewing Company Firehouse Brewing Company

Below: The Hotel Alex Johnson is a historic hotel at 523 6th Street in Rapid City, South Dakota, having opened in 1928, and is a member of Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It is steps not far away from the Center Square, the Berlin Wall exhibit and other interesting places in Rapid City. There are 143 rooms in the hotel.

history clipart bookThe hotel was built by its namesake, Alex Carlton Johnson, Vice President of the Chicago & North Western Railroad. Construction began on August 19, 1927, just one day before work began on nearby Mount Rushmore and the hotel opened on July 1, 1928 and was officially dedicated on August 11, 1928.

It was sold to the Eppley Hotel Company, in 1947. That chain was bought by Sheraton Hotels and Resorts in 1956 and the hotel was renamed the Sheraton-Johnson Hotel. Sheraton sold the hotel in 1965, and it regained its original name.

Since opening its doors on July 1, 1928, the hotel has played host to several presidents, countless celebrities and a few spirits of its own. It has long been known as one of the most haunted hotels in South Dakota. From the “lady in white” to the ghost of Alex Johnson himself, there have been countless reports of spooky activity. The Alex Johnson has become so well known for reported hauntings that the SyFy Channel’s hit show “Ghost Hunters” traveled to Rapid City to do a special segment on the hotel. The investigators reported that they experienced significant paranormal activity throughout the hotel. There are Ghost Adventure Packages available starting at $99.

The Hotel Alex Johnson sign outside of The Hotel Alex Johnson

Outside view: Only a couple of inches
separate the hotel from a gift shop.

A chandelier - take a good look
at the shocking design

inches between buildings shocking design on a chandelier

A marvelous fireplace and the amazing ceiling in the lounge area.

A marvelous fireplace amazing ceiling
worlds' rarest chocolate in the world

The two RV Gypsies came to the Main Street Square which was holding a free public event to celebrate May Mental Health Awareness Month. There were booths with free give-aways; tote bags, apples, cookies, hot dogs, popcorn, pens, bicycle locks, and much more.

Main Street Square free event signs in Rapid City

A free outdoor concert.

Karen Duquette made a new friend.

A free concert in Rapid City Karen Duquette made a new friend

Below: A giant display of USA money from 1899 and 1901

giant display of USA money from 1899 and 1901 giant display of USA money from 1899 and 1901

Below: Tires painted red, white, and blue have been creatively transformed into smiling envoys of commerce outside of a business named "Tires, Tires, Tires" 327 E. Omaha Street in Rapid City. It was built by Ron Tyrrell, who owns the tire shop. He calls them Tire Man and Buddy. Tire Man was built in 1988; Buddy was added in 2005. We asked Ron if he had been influenced by other roadside artists. "Nope. I always had it in my mind to build a man out of tires" - quote from Roadside America.

Note: One one was here at the time that the two RV Gypsies visited in 2016.

Karen Duquette and Tire Man

Below: Statue of Liberty replica - 45-feet tall, built by the owners of a pizzeria and sports bar in 2014. Neighbors tried to block it as an eyesore. It was unveiled on October 28, 2014, the 128th anniversary of Lady Liberty's dedication. No interior stairs. Address: 620 E. Disk Drive, Rapid City. The two RV Gypsies had a bit of trouble finding it though. Too bad the owners do not block off the three parking spaces right smack-dab in front of the statue.

location of the Statue of Liberty replica Statue of Liberty replica - 45-feet tall

Below: The Berlin Wall at Memorial Park
444 Mt. Rushmore Road North
Rapid City SD

sign: The Berlin Wall at Memorial Park The Berlin Wall at Memorial Park

Located on Rapid Creek, Memorial Park is the center of Rapid City. Featured within the park is one of America's largest Berlin Wall exhibits. Memorial Park is part of the Rapid City Historic District Tour.

The Berlin Wall at Memorial Park The Berlin Wall at Memorial Park
sign about the tank trap sign about the Berlin wall segment
sign about the Berlin wall segment
tank trap and sign sign about the tank trap

Below: The story boards were fabulous as they told the human side on why people wanted to leave and how it was done. It shows the heartfelt compassion on both sides. It was also educational. To actually look at the wall and see the construction was interesting. However, it was pouring rain when the two RV Gypsies arrived here. They sat in their car for quite awhile and when the rain stopped, Karen Duquette took some pictures, but did not have much time because within minutes it started to pour rain again. She took the pictures shown here as quickly as she could before running back to the car.

sign sign about the Berlin Wall Memorial
sign about a City Divided sign about construction of the wall
sign about confrontation sign about the cruel border
celectating victory sign celectating victory sign
sign sign

Below: While in Rapid City, the two RV Gypsies drove a bit out of their way to Thunderhead Underground Falls - 10940 West Highway 44. Their website said open. The sign by the road said open. But when they actually got to the entrance the trail was closed. The two RV Gypsies were very disappointed.

sign for Thunderhead Underground Falls

There is a lot more Rapid City, SD adventures in the South Dakota menu below, including the statues of the USA Presidents.

Menu for the two RV Gypsies in South Dakota
Sites 12-15
May 15-20, 2016

You may view these adventures in any order your choose.

(There is also a link to Wyoming at the bottom of this page)

bullet S.D. Welcome Center/Rest Area/travel (site 12)

bullet Travel photos in South-Central SD

bullet Mitchell Corn Palace - site 13

bullet Badlands Petrified Gardens - site 14

bullet Wall Drug, the Jackalope and more- site 14

bullet Rapid City, The Berlin Wall, and more- site 15 (this page)

bullet Bear Country USA

bullet Chapel in the Hills

bullet Cosmos Mystery Area

bullet Dinosaur Park in Rapid City

bullet Formal Gardens and sundial in Rapid City

bullet Pactola Lake, part of Black Hills National Forest

bullet Presidential Statues in Rapid City

bullet Marlins Restaurant


bullet Sioux City North KOA in North Sioux City, SD

bullet Hills RV Park in Plankinton, SD

bullet Belvidere East Exit 170 KOA in Midland, SD

bullet Three Flags RV Park in Black Hawk, SD

look below

go to the next adventure of the two RV Gypsies AFTER you have seen all of the above sites in South Dakota, please continue on to the adventures of the two RV Gypsies in Buffalo, Wyoming.