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Part 3 (Continued)
Great American Dog-Friendly Road TripTM
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Upon entering the town of Custer, South Dakota, we came upon The Flintstones Bedrock City. They have a small amusement park with a Stone Age theme, a playground, train ride and car ride. During the summer season they have a Drive In with outdoor seats that serves fast food. If you are looking for a place to stay they also have a campground and RV spots with hookups. Well-behaved dogs that are good with kids are allowed in the amusement park, on the train ride, on the car ride, at the outdoor cafe seats and in the campground. Pets must be leashed.
Here is a photo of me and Toby getting ready for the train ride that circles the amusement park. 
They have a great large playground for kids. Dogs are welcome here as well.
After the Flintstones Park, we continued heading towards Mount Rushmore on Highway 16/385. We came across the brand new Crazy Horse Memorial which honors the Lakota leader. In fact it was so new that it was not finished yet. Dogs are allowed but only at the deck overview area shown in this picture. The deck did have some fast food cafes and pets can sit outside with you at the picnic tables. Pets are not allowed on the bus to monument or on any trails that lead to the monument. Admission was about $20 per carload. As a traveler with a pet, it was kind of a high price for not being able to do too much.
Continuing on Highway 16/385, we noticed a nice long path along the highway. The Michelson Trail is over 100 miles long and is mainly used as a bicycle trail and for horseback riding, but is also used for walking or running  with a dog as long as they are leashed. The trail is not always next to the road. At some points it looks like it goes a nice distance away from the road. I believe there are a few parking lots along the highway for those who want to use the trail. There is a minimal fee for trail use.
From Highway 16/385 we took Highway 244 which heads to Mount Rushmore. Along the way we saw several hiking trails that are park of the dog-friendly Black Hills National Forest. We stopped at one of the trails for some exercise.  There is a minimal parking fee that needs to be paid at the  self-service pay stations located in the parking lots. Dogs can be off-leash on these trails but need to be under direct voice control.
After some a nice refreshing hike, we continued towards Mount Rushmore. Along the way we spotted a wild Rocky Mountain Goat.
We finally made it to Mount Rushmore. On the park's official web site they state than there is a "pet ban" at Mount Rushmore. They say that pets are no longer allowed in the developed areas of the park. They also state that pet walking areas are located at each end of the upper parking ramp. However, you can still have a nice view of Mount Rushmore from the "pet area". In this photo a Rocky Mountain Goat is shown leaving the pet area. You will not be able to get really close to the memorial with your pet, but as shown in this picture you can still see it easily and can get a nice photo with a zoom lens. The downside is that you have to pay about $20 to park which includes the admission fee. If you do not want to pay the $20 you can drive by and see the memorial but there is not really a good spot to pull over and stop.
Here is a photo of Mount Rushmore from the pet area using a basic zoom lens.
In this photo we show where the pet area is in reference to the monument and the parking structure. There are actually two pet areas. The other pet area is on the other side of the parking lot. Both pet areas are not maintained and can have some tall weeds, but it was manageable.
After leaving Mount Rushmore on Alternate Route 16 heading towards Rapid City, we came upon the small town of Keystone.
We stopped for dinner at the Executive Order Grill located at 609 Highway 16 in Keystone. They serve hamburgers, hot dogs, fries, salads and more.  Well-behaved dogs are  allowed at the outdoor tables.
Just before nightfall, we made it into Rapid City, South Dakota. We stopped for the night at the Holiday Inn. It was a nice eight story hotel with an open atrium. Our plan was to stop for one night in Rapid City but we found so many dog-friendly things to do that we stayed for two nights.

Next Newsletter coming in March 2005: Great dog-friendly places in Rapid City, South Dakota and on the road to Chicago, Illinois.

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