Trekking across South Dakota on Motorcycles

Our road trip from the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming to the Great River Road in Minnesota continues as we ride from Deadwood, SD to a dispersed camping site just 6 miles south of Wall, SD on Highway 240 and spent the night.  Dispersed camping can be found in the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands, which is adjacent to the Badlands National Park area.

It was time to stop at the iconic Wall Drug in Wall, SD – population 818 plus the 2 million visitors who make the pilgrimage there every year.  And to think that it all started in 1938 with the promise of free ice water – wait what? 

After Wall Drug, as we headed on down the road, other stops were in order, such as:


At one time, Cottonwood was probably the biggest and most flourishing town between Fort Pierre and Rapid City. Today, the population hovers between 9 & 10 – depending on who you’re asking. And if you’re not paying attention, you might just ride right on by, but don’t make that mistake.  The draw of the town is the ancient church that makes you just wish walls could talk.  Definitely worth a quick stop.


The Stroppel Hotel – a very down-to-earth place known for its restorative mineral baths.  Not that we were ailing or anything, but a refreshing soak sounded mighty fine for these 2 road weary travelers, so we stopped in. 

With the owners out to lunch, a quick phone call to them gave us the access code to the house and just like that we felt like family.  It doesn’t get much more small town feel than that.

The Stroppel Hotel hot mineral baths are open to the public (no hotel room reservation required) 7 days a week, all year long.  A good ‘ole fashion plunge is $10.00 for a maximum of thirty minutes.  Off Highway 14 and Highway 63.  Two hours from the Black Hills, Sturgis and Mt. Rushmore.  One Hour from the National Badlands Park.


We camped in Memorial Park, Huron, SD for the night.  Not to be missed is a great selfie spot next the World’s Largest Pheasant.

The next morning, we made a quick stop at the oldest family-owned grocery store in the state – Manolis Grocery.  It comes complete with the story about how the ceiling came to contain a bullet hole. 


If you’ve read any of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie books or watched the television show, your already well acquainted with Ma, Pa, and the rest of the Ingalls family.

So, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to pay our respects at The De Smet Cemetery and Ingalls Family Grave Sites where Charles, Caroline, Mary, Carrie, Grace, and the infant son of Laura and Almanzo Wilder are buried. 

Then it was time to say good-bye to South Dakota and hello to Minnesota and our launching into the Great River Road.  Stay tuned…

Rich & Chris ❤️


Unless I somehow missed it, you didn’t visit the Corn Palace, in Mitchell, SD.

Dana Pence December 05, 2021

I’ve been by a lot of mineral springs,but never stopped. I will next time. Sounds so refreshing.
You guys enjoy.
Looking forward to next week. Ride safe and God bless!

Keith Ridgeway November 08, 2021

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