Friday, June 10, 2011

Jeep Ride + Chuckwagon Dinner - Custer State Park

Hi all, Dianne here.  Our last event at Custer State Park was a fun jeep ride on the back roads, ending with a chuckwagon steak dinner.  More on that later.

To get into the spirit of this place, we bought some buffalo steaks at a local grocery store, and Roger grilled them to perfection.

 Just as a side note, one of the things I've learned from fellow RV'ers is an easy way to cook corn on the cob in an RV.  For two ears (which is what we usually cook), you simply husk them, rinse with water to add moisture, seal in a Ziploc gallon bag and microwave.  Turns out tender and delicious; no muss, no fuss, no clean-up.  Microwaves vary in strength, but for mine I cook two minutes, then flip the bag over and cook two minutes more.  (The recipe called for one minute per ear, but that didn't cook them fully in my microwave oven.)  It wouldn't work for a large group, since you can only cook two ears at a time, but it sure is easy!  

The back roads jeep tours are a popular attraction here.  We started out on the same Wildlife Loop Road that Roger and I took on Sunday morning, then veered off onto some rough dirt tracks through the park.

More pronghorns and more buffalo babies.  More beautiful scenery.  We realized how lucky we were on Sunday, because the herd of wild burros were nowhere to be seen this time.  There was a young family in our jeep, and we were disappointed that their two young children did not get to experience the burros as we did on Sunday.  Ironically, the family was here on vacation from Columbus, Indiana, so we dubbed our jeep the "Hoosier Express."

Did I mention that Custer State Park is absolutely beautiful?   Especially in the spring with the fresh, new grass.

The kids did get to see a cute prairie dog peeking at us from a culvert.

After riding through a large herd of buffalo (and waiting for them to vacate the middle of the road), we finally arrived at the chuckwagon venue.

While waiting for dinner to be ready, we enjoyed a cup of coffee in tin mugs and listened to live performers singing fun western songs.  

A fun bit singled out three people from the audience (the only three who raised their hands when the question was asked "Who wants their steak cooked well done?" 

When Roger reserved our spots for this tour, the choice was for burgers or steaks.  He chose the steaks, and boy, were they ever good!   

We were expecting "Ponderosa" fare, but these steaks were tender and delicious.

Some of the children in the large group were really "playing the role" at the chuckwagon dinner.  They wore cowboy boots, chaps, holsters with toy guns, bandanas and cowboy hats.  It was obvious how much they were enjoying the evening, with the way they "sidled up" to get their food.   So cute!

More music and a large group dance of the hokey-pokey and chicken dance after dinner.  Sometimes the hokey-est, cheesy-est activities turn out to be fun if you allow yourself to get into the spirit!  After the two short dances it was time to get back into our "Hoosier Express" and ride back through the buffalo herd to the starting point, which was next door to our campground.  

Today was cold (50s) and rainy.  The first day in a long, long time that we've spent inside due to rainy weather.  

Tomorrow morning we leave Custer State Park for a short trip into Wyoming to visit the Devil's Tower.  From there we had planned to head into North Dakota to spend some time at Theodore Roosevelt National Park (north part).  However, due to the terrible flooding in North Dakota right now, the campground there is closed until further notice.  Our revised plan will bring us back into South Dakota to spend a few days near the Badlands National Park before heading east.

The pet photo of the day shows Bandido napping with his favorite toy.  He has a whole toy basket full of balls, bones, Kongs and other toys, and he plays with them constantly.  What a fun dog!  Now if only I could teach him to put his toys back into the basket when he's done!  


Doyle and Terri Johnson said...

I Love Custer State Park! I would ride my bike to Sturgis every August and spend all my time touring the area instead of staying in town, (you can only buy so many black T-Shirts).
Sorry you missed the snack stealing burros!
You know, it is a bit more out of the way, but as long as you are headed into Wyoming anyway to Devils Tower, swing up and go to Custer Battlefield if you have the time.
It's not to be missed.
All through this area have the kids keep an eye out for wild horses, (Mustangs), you'll be on the open range riding up and you can usually spot them.
Glad you got to see baby buffalo, I haven't ever gotten close enough to a herd to see them, (on a bike you keep your distance)!
Enjoy your trip to the Badlands, hope the campground is open, usually what hits the North State ends up in the South, so be careful!
Full Time Road Warriors

Margie and Roger said...

Looked like a fun jeep ride and chuckwagon experience. Oh gee, I would have raised my hand for well done! Those baby buffalo are adorable. Great photos.

Mike and Terri said...

Thanks for the tip on microwaving corn on the cob. Will definitely try it. The chuckwagon dinner sounded like a lot of fun, and looked delicious!

Gin and Syl said...

I like cooking easy. We do corn on the cob in the microwave too but even easier. Cut it at both ends. After taking off most of the husk, zap it for 5-6 minutes for two ears. Once it's cooled enough to handle, take off the husk and the silk just falls off.
We're enjoying your travels.