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American Road Magazine
Celebrating our two-lane highways of yesteryear…And the joys of driving them today!


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About ChadSDPhoto

  • Birthday 02/05/1963

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    South Dakota
  • Interests
    Travel, photography, auto racing, the Wild West

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  1. Thanks Jim and Denny. Agree with your thoughts about every road having something interesting Denny. I'm working to spread the understanding of nostalgia travelers to our office at South Dakota Tourism.
  2. Thanks Becky and staff and happy Fourth to everyone here. I'll be attending a rodeo and fireworks tonight in Mobridge, South Dakota. No fireworks shooting for me, it's just too dry around here.
  3. No problem Dave. As you said, everyone has their own taste in music and I don't expect everyone to like this. Besides, being the father of the musician I'm a little biased. I'm the photographer for the South Dakota Dept. of Tourism, so anything in the state is likely to find itself in front of my lens at some point. I shoot along the Yellowstone Trail and the Black and Yellow Trail fairly often. Unfortunately our office hasn't yet put a lot of effort into promoting those trails specifically, so my work doesn't always reflect the heritage of the roads. Rick - both of these videos were shot with an Olympus Pen E-P3 mirrorless camera. The timelapse stuff was shot in video mode and then sped up while creating the shows in Windows Movie Maker. Nothing too fancy. I use a full range of Nikon gear for my work, but the Olympus is my personal vacation shooter. Thanks for checking out my work. My blog post comparing Route 66 and a trip across South Dakota is now live at www.dakotagraph.com. I'd be curious to see what all-out road warriors like yourselves think about my ideas there. Chad
  4. Thanks Dave! Photography is my job but also fun for me, so that helps a lot. Legitimate comments on the music. I asked my son to provide two songs, one "Beach Boys/Chuck Berry" style and one "John Denver" style. I think he did pretty well, but if this was a big-budget Hollywood movie they probably would be different. Keep an eye on my blog for an upcoming post about how traveling across South Dakota can provide the same experience as Route 66 in a much more compact package - www.dakotagraph.com. Chad
  5. Didn't mean to actually embed those videos above, hope that's okay.
  6. I thought people here might be interested in a pair of slide shows I created after a recent road trip vacation across parts of Route 66 and through northern New Mexico and Colorado. I live in South Dakota, so headed straight south on Highway 83 until we hit Route 66 and made a loop over to Albuquerque and back up. We had four smoothie hubcaps on our PT Cruiser at the beginning of the trip, but only one survived, so we called our route the "Lost Hubcap Trail." Check out my photos at http://youtu.be/kVz1FD8K25Q and http://youtu.be/melNsFYs_U8 Enjoy!
  7. But of course! And I take a drink from my American Road travel mug just as the cameras come on.
  8. Just thought everyone here might like to see the video game race car I created for the game "Nascar Racing 2003." Reminiscent of Doc Hudson, the Fabulous Hudson Hornet, in the movie "Cars," but sponsored by American Road Magazine.
  9. Thanks Dave. Glad to have input from all angles. I don't think you need to be intimidated by me, but I am by Mr. Lepp. He seems like a real down-to-earth kind of guy, though and I think he's going to be a great part of the weekend. The sessions I will be leading and several others during the Black Hills Photo Shootout will be really low key "photo walks" more on the fun level instead of the heavy instructional level. I'm sure we will touch on most of the techniques you mentioned somewhere throughout the event. We are hoping that the Shootout appeals to photographers of all skill levels so no one is intimidated and everyone goes home with some new ideas to play with. Chad
  10. Just wanted to let everyone know about a new photography festival happening in South Dakota this fall. The Black Hills Photo Shootout will be Sept. 17-19, 2010. We have lots of fun workshops, seminars and photo walks planned. Probably most interesting to American Road readers will be sessions at two different ghost towns and at the Boondocks 1950's theme park. Also included will be landscape, wildlife and Photoshop sessions. You can check out the ever-expanding details at www.blackhillsphotoshootout.com or become a Facebook fan. Hope to see you there!
  11. Sorry it's taken awhile to get back to this thread. Family obligations over the holiday, you know... Travel through South Dakota seems to be all based on east-west routes, probably a long-lingering remnant of pioneer trails, railroads, etc. However, one of our better two-lane routes runs north-south along the Missouri River - the Native American Scenic Byway. National Scenic Byways has info on this route at http://www.byways.org/explore/byways/2596/. The Missouri River is also, of course, the Lewis and Clark Trail through South Dakota. Highlights along the way include - - The remains of Fort Randall, just below Fort Randall Dam at Pickstown - The Akta Lakota Museum in Chamberlain, with great displays of Native American artifacts - The Lewis and Clark Info Center in Chamberlain, perched on the bluffs above a great view of the Missouri River - The South Dakota State Capitol in Pierre - The Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre, also known as the state museum, is a gigantic underground facility with great artifact displays and rotating exhibits - Sitting Bull's grave and Sacagawea Monument, west of Mobridge
  12. How about some classic roadside attractions in the Black Hills? We've got plenty of them and here are my suggestions - Reptile Gardens, south of Rapid City on the road to Mount Rushmore since 1937. They have the world's largest collection of reptiles, but even if you aren't a snake person, there's something to see - beautifully landscaped grounds, birds of prey shows, a petting zoo, etc. http://www.reptilegardens.com/ Bear Country, just up the hill from Reptile Gardens. A drive-through wildlife park with bears, elk, wolves, bighorn sheep and lots more. http://www.bearcountryusa.com/ The Black Hills are filled with caves, with eight giving guided tours. I've been in all of them, and while each has something unique about them, I'd recommend the two that are operated by the National Park Service - Jewel Cave and Wind Cave. There are links on from here - http://www.travelsd.com/placestogo/caves.asp Cosmos Mystery Area - A classic "gravity hill" attraction where balls roll up hill and people stand on the wall. http://www.cosmosmysteryarea.com/ Flintstones Bedrock City in Custer - A small amuseument park/campground with a Flintstones theme. http://www.flintstonesbedrockcity.com/ Evans Plunge, natural warm water swimming pool in Hot Springs. http://www.evansplunge.com/ Boondocks - a 50's themed gift shop/drive in/museum. Lots of classic cars parked around, and tons of nifty souvenirs. ON Highway 385 south of Deadwood. http://stores.fiftiesfun.com/StoreFront.bok Dinosaur Park in Rapid City - Concrete dinosaurs roam a tall ridge overlooking the city. http://www.shellworld.net/~emily/dinosaur.html Like I said, there are many more, but I like these the best for the retro/nostalgia tourism feel. Chad
  13. OK wow, I thought I was the expert on South Dakota when we started this little journey, but I've already learned tons. Thanks for the map Dave and the trail list. I had no idea we had that many historic routes through the state. The Yellowstone Trail and the Black and Yellow Trail are the only ones I knew of before now. I did rectify the lack of Iron Mountain Road photos on my blog today. You can now get a better idea of what it looks like here. So let's finish up the rest of the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway, SD hwys 244, 87 and 16A. Assuming we've traveled the Iron Mountain Road section as posted yesterday, we are now at Mount Rushmore. A tip for viewing - Rushmore looks best in the earliest light you can make it there for. Sunrise lights the faces in golden hues, but they still look good up until about 11 am or so. After that, shadows begin to form on the heads and get worse as the day goes on. There is no entrance fee to Mount Rushmore, but there is a $10 parking fee. One of the often-missed gems of the park is the museum tucked underneath the main viewing platform. Many people stand on the roof of it, take pictures of the carving and leave without ever finding it. It does a very good job of explaining the monument, why and how it was made. If you're lucky, you'll catch Nick Clifford there signing books and talking with people. Nick is one of the few remaining men who actually worked on the carving. If you see him, tell him I sent you. Also not to be missed is the Presidential Trail, which leaves from either side of the viewing platform and leads to the bottom of the rockpile below the faces. If you take the left branch from the platform, you can stay on completely level trail right up to the rockpile. The right branch leads to long staircases down and back up. The rest of the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway encirles Harney Peak, the highest point between the Rockies and the Alps. West of Rushmore SD 244 winds past beautiful Horsethief Lake with Harney looming above it. About 10 miles further 244 intersects with US 16/385 and you will want to turn left, but only for about 100 yards and turn left again on SD 87, the Sylvan Lake Road. You will climb very steeply up a set of several switchbacks topped by another granite tunnel before reaching Sylvan Lake, where the scenic byway splits. Following the the easterly SD 87 part of the route takes you onto the Needles Highway and into Custer State Park from the northwest. Following the southerly SD 89 takes you into the town of Custer, and then east into Custer State Park from the west. I'm going to suggest the Needles Highway branch. You will first pass by Sylvan Lake, which along with Mount Rushmore was featured in the movie "National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets." If you've seen the movie, the monument and the lake are much farther apart than they appear on the screen. There's a great hiking trail around the lake, and this is also the main trailhead if you want to hike to the summit of Harney Peak. Pictures of Sylvan Lake are featured here. From the lake, it's on to Needles Highway proper. This is one of those amazing engineering feats of road-building. I'll let you look at my pictures and description to see what I mean here. As you drop out of the Needles, you will enter the main part of Custer State Park. I would suggest turning east on US 16A and making a circle through the park on the Wildlife Loop Road. You will pass by the State Game Lodge, which served as the Summer White House for presidents Coolidge and Eisenhower. There is a great set of photos and description of the lodge at historic-hotels-lodges.com. The lodge will be undergoing some renovation in 2009, so be aware it may not be as grand as it could be next summer. The Wildlife Loop Road takes you through the main habitat for the large bison herd in the park. I'll let you read and see my thoughts about them here. You will also likely see antelope, deer, prairie dogs, wild burros, and possibly bighorn sheep and elk. More info on Custer State Park can be found here. I'll call that good for this post. Hope that seems helpful to everyone. Chad
  14. Thanks for pointing that out, John! That's a portion of my office's website that I don't find very often myself. In fact, the other itineraries there are very useful for the rest of the state as well. Itineraries I'll be adding some more Black Hills info later tonight. Chad
  15. Sorry, but Dave didn't include South Dakota on the Hypotenuse Trail, but he did send me a lovely ballpoint pen from Palm Springs from that trailblazing trip. I have a funny feeling Dave has maps of a lot of routes that I don't have a clue about.
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