One of the attractions for the Kasa family while camping in the Black Hills was Jeanette Lusk’s cabin, located about five miles north of Keystone. There was a large shuffleboard in the backyard and it was located high in the Hills within view of the Mount Rushmore Memorial.
In fact, Mount Rushmore could be seen out the back window of the Lusk cabin. While sitting in the living room, the memorial was framed by evergreen trees. The cabin itself had three bathrooms and at least three bedrooms. We brought our own food to prepare meals each day, although we occasionally went out to eat in Keystone and Hill City. We also enjoyed going for walks in the Hills, exploring the various attractions that were located there. We also helped ourselves to the many different rocks that were attractive to us.
On one occasion while walking, we found ourselves face-to-face with a buffalo! We walked very carefully backwards, got out of the way and headed back the way we came. That was very frightening. We also stopped numerous times in Custer to have picnic lunches in their park.
The Black Hills Playhouse in Custer State Park offered different attractions during the week, and there was an occasional music program. To use the Lusk cabin we were asked to mow the lawn once when we were there, and it also became our responsibility to repair the lawn mower when it quit working.
We also ran over a gopher on one occasion, but I don’t know if it was a Minnesota gopher!
Periodically we took trips to other areas of the Black Hills, including Bear Country, Reptile Gardens, and Flintstones Park. We also stopped at different parks to eat picnic lunches and to explore that particular part of the Hills.
The various tunnels that are located in the Hills were sought and driven through as part of the attractions of that area. Another part of the Hills tradition was a stop at the very first campground where the Kasa family camped, south and down the hill from Mount Rushmore. That was before we discovered what became our regular camp ground at Horse Thief Lake.
Some of the chatter from my kids while driving through the Hills would be when the kids spotted a ‘divided highway’ sign. Mike would say “Oh look, David Highway.” Lisa would say “No it’s divine highway.” I just chuckled.
While cruising around the hills I made my wife Oralee a little nervous as well as some of the kids while driving the car with one arm out the window and the other one barely on the steering wheel. Oralee had an imaginary brake on her side of the car and always seemed to be saying “Slow down Roger, slow down,” while John sat in the back seat, rocking back and forth hoping to make it out of the car alive. But we always made it back safe and sound.
En route to the Hills we always made a stop to Wall Drug searching for a place to park as the area was always crowded with people and cars. We would walk through the Wall Drug store and drink some of the free water, and also sit and ride on the famous Jackalope.
Other stops while in the Hills included a movie theatre in Rapid City, although we never did find a drive-in theater. Another area of interest for my girls Melinda and Lisa was the mall. I drove in circles, but never did find the outlet road that led to the mall, so we gave up and headed back to the cabin. The girls were pretty disappointed. We also made a stop every year we went to the Hills to see friends from Timber Lake who lived in Rapid City. They also provided us with a good home-cooked meal, and we enjoyed reminiscing about our days in Timber Lake.
While on the long drive home, my boys Mike, Roger and John would occupy their time by shouting out the window whenever a motorcycle went by. And also yelled moo at cows hanging out the window. After we got home, I enjoyed hearing my daughter Melinda’s journal entries about our trip.