Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Visiting Wind Cave and Custer (the town)

Saturday September 17, 2011
Broken Arrow RV Park
Custer, South Dakota


A second beautiful morning in a row. 
So we decided to go early into the little town of Custer
and check into those buffalo we’d seen
when we’d gotten gas the day before.



I saw this sign and thought of
Nancy Mills  who had once commented that Laundromats should have restaurants so you could get breakfast, lunch or dinner while doing your laundry.
Custer’s got you covered  Nancy.  Here are a couple of things you can do while your clothes are in the washer.  :-)


Custer has an annual buffalo round up in the park. 
This year it is September 23-27.
The local cowhands and staff of the park
round up the 1300 bison.  They sort em’, brand em’
give em’ their shots and decide who stays
and who goes to auction in order to
control the herd size.

It’s one of the country’s last real western round ups.
There is an art festival on the Saturday and Sunday
before the Monday round up.  Bet the town is PACKED
but it sure would be a fun thing to see.
But we have a date in Badlands National Park
with Mike and Terri (Forever Young)


Artists submit designs to decorate buffalo
both full size and miniature.    They are selected
by a panel of judges and the finished works  are
auctioned off during the roundup days.
  Driving the Custer Loop 014

Some of them have been purchased by Custer businesses
and are on display in town.

Wonder who bought this colorful one for the
Church of Christ

Driving the Custer Loop 013


Driving the Custer Loop 016


They are all along the main street.
On many corners.











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Driving the Custer Loop 012 


Custer Town 010


The post office had the White Buffalo, one of my favorites.









There were a LOT of buffalo in town. At least 12 or 15 by my count.






And of course one with Custer himself










The detail on some was amazing.











Driving the Custer Loop 037


If you don’t want to pick up a big buffalo to mow your grass or carry around in your toy hauler,
they had table models on display in the town and park visitors centers.


Driving the Custer Loop 036

Lest you think Custer is only a town
of buffalo, here is a local truck full of elk antlers
We assumed he must be trading at
the Claw, Antler & Hide company.




Doesn’t this look like a bank Jesse James might have robbed??
(notice buffalo)




There was also a used bookstore and restaurants in
this fine little town.

Custer Town 012 


After we returned from Custer,
David took off for Wind Cave to
do a tour and potentially a hike.
While he was gone I stood around
and got those bugs off of
poor Winnona.


Seems David was the only one playing today
Jeannie was knitting and Eldy and I were
working on the rigs.

Custer Town 013 

I also got
some pictures of
Broken Arrow Campground.
Unlike Peter D’s, this was a
GREAT place to stay.




Here’s  the office.
And the new owner’s runabout
with “Host Jerry” painted on the side.


And here’s the genial host himself.
(is he doing a Custer imitation?)


Custer Town 027A_thumb[1]


I loved watching them unload this
great chuck wagon today.


Custer Town 017



Custer Town 019

Custer Town 020



Custer Town 021


Jerry told David that the wagon has a canvas
top and on Friday nights next Year
there will be a Chuck wagon cook out.
He brought the wagon and lots of cast iron
cooking pots from Texas.
Ya’ll better come on out now, ya heah??

Custer Town 029 


Nice horse stables



Our view of the mountains out Winnona’s  front window.




and the cabins out the back.
(if she had a back window)  :-)



I would highly recommend Broken Arrow to
anyone coming to the Custer area especially
from out of state as the State Park fees for camping
add up when you include their $15 per vehicle per week charge
(toweds & motorhome are separate vehicles)
and $7.70 fee for out of staters.
Wonder if that’s why so many full timers
choose South Dakota as their “home” state.


The folks at Broken Arrow are very friendly.
They honor both Passport America and Good Sam.
The campground is neat and tidy
and QUIET!  :-)

It’s also very interesting with all the
horsie folks (at least for those of us who have had
or like horses).  But No smell, no flies. 




Thanks for a very nice few days Jerry
you can bet we’ll be back and stay longer.


So that’s what I did and here’s what David did
this afternoon.
(In the interest of catching the blogs up to date,
David didn’t write this section.  I know you
love his posts but they take a LONG time to do.)







The visitors center again had excellent exhibits
about the history of and formations inside the cave.
They also had this information showing the
differences inside the cave and outside
and which direction it was “breathing” at this time.




Since he was alone,
He could take  a “real” tour this time and went in through
the original cave entrance.







Wind Cave, like Jewell Cave, is a “dry” cave
meaning few Stalagmites or Stalactites.
But cave “breathing” and narrow low places.









Here are some of the
formations in the
many pictures he took
that I found most



There are many other formations on the tours
only offered during the summer.  This time of year
there is only one tour to choose from.



After the cave tour, he went up on top to “tour”
some of the  28,295 acres of beautiful
mixed grass prairie and Ponderosa Pine Forest






and look who he met


Antelope have such beautiful markings.



Next it was the trail to the tower for a look
over it all.  Clouds are looking ominous.




The incoming clouds cut what would have
been a very long dstance view of the Black Hills.



But he did see some elk
in the distance.  Not sure you can see them though




The rain started just as he got back
to the car to start for home.
He was very nearly late
for pizza with Eldy and Jeannie in their Tiffin Phaeton.
We were more than hungry and were about
to start without him by the time he got there.
I’m sure you can see the blur here from the
speed with which that slice is going up to my mouth.
Since he was gone and late coming back I put
ANCHOVIES on half of the pizza.




  1. You're not overdoing it on your ankle, are you? Working on Winnona and not a crutch in sight.

    Great windshield view, we love the Black Hills. It grows on you and that's why we like to return again and again.

    Enjoy your visit with Mike and Terri. We miss all you guys!

  2. Don't worry, I kept an eye on Sherry while we were there! She's doing great and the ankle seems to be healing well! She is able to put some weight on it now....but she can tell you about that! Nurse Sparky

  3. Love the painted bison. Tell your daughter to check out the museums in Santa Fe. The folk art museum is supposed to be the best in the world.
    Also New Mexico museum of art and the Georgia O'keeffe museum.

  4. What fun! Love the buffalo and the opportunities they give to local artists. Very cool.
    That looks like a great place to stay. It's going on my list :)
    Have fun with Mike and Terri and tell them we say Hi, or is it Hey!

  5. We drove through Custer today and saw all of those painted buffalo. What a quaint little town!

  6. Great Buffalo art. I like how you found most all of them around the town :) Nice pictures of the hills and grasses too.

  7. Oh - best pictures...the antelope and Jerry's handbar mustasche!!


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