Archive for the ‘Spring 2009’ Category

Wyoming to Washington

Sunday, May 31st, 2009
Wyoming to Washington
 
Including the Battle of the Little Bighorn

May of 2009

We continued on I 90 leaving Wyoming , the State of No Rest in Rest Areas, and entering Montana.

Welcome to Montana

Welcome to Montana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We stopped at the 7th Ranch RV Park near Garryowen to spend a few days. It was time to explore the site of the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

Painting of the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

Painting of the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The people here were very nice. We asked at the park whether or not it would be okay to ride our Segways. They replied, “Ride them anywhere you want.”

K.C. Exploring the Battlefield.

K.C. Exploring the Battlefield.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The park has expanded quite a bit since I was there in the 70’s and again in the 80’s. The interpretive center has an informative movie, there are ranger talks, a self-guided walking tour, and a five mile, self-guided tour as you drive along the ridge line where the battle occurred.

It was very interesting, as history always is. We left Garryowen and continued on towards home.

We passed through rain near Billings, Montana.

Rain near Billings, Montana.

Rain near Billings, Montana.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We passed through snow near Butte, Montana.

Snow in Butte, Montana.

Snow in Butte, Montana.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We arrived home to sunshine.

Home to Sunshine!

Home to Sunshine!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It has been a fun trip home.

Wyoming – Devil’s Tower

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

Wyoming

Devil’s Tower

May of 2009

We left Three Flags RV Park and headed west on I 90. We waved goodbye to South Dakota as we entered Wyoming.

Welcome to Wyoming

Welcome to Wyoming

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
At Sundance, Wyoming we left I 90 to head southwest on State Route 14. We left State Route 14 to go north on 24 to Devil’s Tower. As you travel closer, Devil’s Tower becomes an awesome sight in the distance.
First View of Devil's Tower

First View of Devil's Tower

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The closer you get, the more excited you become. As you may recall, the movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” with Richard Dreyfuss featured a visit by an extra-terrestrial vessel at Devil’s Tower. Good movie if you’ve never seen it.
Bob at Devil's Tower

Bob at Devil's Tower

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
After a stop at the interpretive center, we backtracked down to State Route 14 and rejoined I 90 at Moorcraft. We found an RV Park near Sheridan because Wyoming only allows you to stay in a rest area for 3 hours at a time. The owner of the RV Park told us that the RV Park owners in Wyoming had lobbied the Wyoming congress to get that law passed, and that they do ticket you if you try to spend the night in a rest area. Pretty bogus, if you ask me. That law forced us to spend over $40 to spend the night in an RV Park when we could have easily stayed overnight in a rest area. I guess we won’t be traveling through Wyoming much. On to Montana!

South Dakota – Deadwood and Lead

Friday, May 22nd, 2009
 South Dakota

Deadwood and Lead

Woodcarver’s Museum

May of 2009

We left our RV park at Black Hawk early in the morning to visit the historic mining towns of Deadwood and Lead. The route took us through Sturgis, South Dakota where they have the huge motorcycle rally each summer. While having breakfast in McDonald’s there, K.C. texted her friends Trudy and Dan who teach at Dallesport Elementary School. They knew right where the McDonalds is in Sturgis having gone to the Rally several times. After leaving Sturgis, we drove on up to Deadwood. We found the visitor center at the old train depot and decided to go on a narrated trolley tour.

 

Historic Train Depot in Deadwood, SD.

Historic Train Depot in Deadwood, SD.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Deadwood was a historic mining town. It is now a tourist town with lots of antique shops, nice motels, restaurants and casinos. I believe they have gunfights in the streets during tourist season.

 

Downtown Historic Deadwood, SD.

Downtown Historic Deadwood, SD.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Historic Deadwood, SD.

Historic Deadwood, SD.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 They have a bike trail that is 110 miles long and follows an old railroad bed through the Black Hills from Deadwood to Edgemont. We rode the Segways for a few miles on the trail through Deadwood.

K.C. on Deadwood Bike Trail.

K.C. on Deadwood Bike Trail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bob on Deadwood Bike Trail.

Bob on Deadwood Bike Trail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we were leaving Deadwood, K.C. pulled into a Casino and told Bob, “I have a twenty dollar bill. I’ll either be out in 12 minutes broke, or I’ll be out with money.” Bob took a nap and thirty minutes later I was back in the pickup $400 richer! That was a fun slot machine.
From Deadwood, we went on up the road to Lead (pronounced Leed). Lead is another old mining town.

 

Old Lutheran Church in Lead, SD.

Old Lutheran Church in Lead, SD.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Historic Lead, SD.

Historic Lead, SD.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 There is an open pit mine, the Homestake Mine, in Lead. Homestake Mine is now closed. However, they are doing research on neutrinos deep in the mine. They have placed neutrino traps 4850 feet down. Neutrinos are similar to electrons with one crucial difference: Neutrinos do not carry electric charge. Because neutrinos are electrically neutral, they are not affected by the electromagnetic forces which act on electrons. Neutrinos are affected only by a “weak” sub-atomic force of much shorter range than electromagnetism. They are very tiny and are able to pass through great distances and through or between molecules in matter without being affected. Research on neutrinos at the Homestake Mine has pretty much saved this old town from becoming a ghost town. Tourists stop at the mine to learn more about the old days of mining and the new days of neutrino research.

We found the Homestake Mine interesting. It had history to keep K.C. interested and new technology for Bob.

 

Homestake Mine in Lead, SD.

Homestake Mine in Lead, SD.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 We left Lead and went looking for the National Woodcarvers Museum. The Woodcarvers Museum turned out to be one man’s collection of items carved from wood with some donations from others wood carvers. On display were panoramas and wood carved furniture. It was interesting and worth a stop if you happen to be in the area.

 

Getting a Shave.

Getting a Shave.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Surgery.

Surgery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bath Time - the Cowboy Way.

Bath Time - the Cowboy Way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barber.

Barber.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hand Carved Furniture.

Hand Carved Furniture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our stay in South Dakota was really fun. Seeing Wall, the Badlands, Deadwood, Lead, Mt. Rushmore, and Crazy Horse removed several items from our “bucket list.” We’ll be heading on down the road now. Next stop – Devil’s Tower.

South Dakota – Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

 

South Dakota
 
May of 2009

Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial

We left Wall, South Dakota and moved west to the Three Flags RV Park near Black Hawk.  We stayed there for a week while we visited the sights around Rapid City including Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Lead, Deadwood and Sturgis.

I was somewhat disappointed in the visit to Mt. Rushmore.  When I was there in the 70’s and again in the 80’s, the visitor center was in an appropriately rustic building that now houses the maintenance offices.  During the past decade, they have erected a huge, marble, monstrosity of a visitor center.  You get to the viewing platform only after passing through an entryway of glistening, polished marble and walking along a long passageway of flags.  It seems all a bit overwhelming if you simply wish to see the mountain.  As a result of having to pass through the  pretentious, overdone visitor complex, when you finally see Mt. Rushmore it almost seems like an afterthought, in my opinion.  I liked it much better when things were simpler and more rustic.  At the risk of whining too much, I might add that they charge too much to park too!  Here is the first view of Mt. Rushmore seen over the top of the visitor center.

mt__rushmore_w_visitor_center_visible

Once you get free of the visitor complex and are on the viewing platform, Mt. Rushmore continues to be an awesome sight to see.

Mt. Rushmore

 

 

Mt. Rushmore

We never made it around to see the backside of the monument, but I understand it looks like this.

Just Kidding!

Just Kidding!

We left Mt. Rushmore and decided to go on around the mountain to the Crazy Horse Memorial.  Crazy Horse is still a work in progress.  It is 17 miles southwest of Mt. Rushmore on US 16/385 in the heart of the Black Hills.

Here is our first view of Crazy Horse.

First_look_at_Crazy_horse

At Crazy Horse, you will see the monument itself, the Indian Museum of North America, the Native America Culture Center, the sculpture’s studio, the sculpture’s hand-hewn family cabin, and a large orientation center where many Native American arts and crafts are on display.  Some Native American people where there demonstrating their crafts.   There is also, of course, a gift shop.

In 1947, Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski accepted an inviation by Native Americans to design and sculpt the Crazy Horse Memorial.  He began on the project in 1949.  Ziolkowski was never paid a penny for his work by the Indians, and he has never received any government funding.  The work has been strictly funded through donations.  Recently an anonymous donor gave an enormous sum of money with the condition that work focus now on the horse’s head.  He wants to see that completed while he is alive.  Ziolkowski’s design is an image of Crazy Horse sitting atop his horse with his left hand extended and pointing out over his land.  He is said to be responding to the white man’s question, “Where are your lands now?” by saying, “My lands are where my dead lie buried.”   Ziolkowski wanted the memorial to be a humanitarian project and an educational center for Native American history.  He died in 1982, but his wife and children continue to manage the project in sync with Ziolkowski’s original plans.

K.C. saw Mrs. Ziolkowski while we were there.  She crossed through the museum and disappeared into her office.  On the door to her office was a sign that read, “Nobody gets in to see the wizard; not nobody, not nohow.” 

Ziolkowski’s early years were incredibly difficult.  He lived in a hurriedly built cabin without running water or electricity.  There were no roads into the area so everything had to be packed in.  He climbed up and down the mountain daily, working alone for years until the time came when he could finally afford to hire help. 

Original cabin

Original cabin

At first, Ziolkowski existed only on what he could hunt to eat.  All monies went towards work on the monument.  Eventually after marrying and having many children, they did have to build a larger house.  Their house is now a part of the tour at Crazy Horse and it is amazing to see the workmanship involved in building it.

 

We took a bus tour so that we could get a closer look at the work in progress.

 

Crazy_Horse_front_on

 Thank goodness for zoom lenses!

Crazy_HOrse_face_on

After our bus tour, we checked out the premises.  Bob enjoyed looking over the old equipment.  K.C. walked Patty and browsed the gift shop.

Early_Crazy_HOrse_mining_equipment

K.C. and Patty in front of the Nature Gate.

 

 

K.C. and Patty in front of the Nature Gate.

These are models of what Crazy Horse will look like when it’s finished.

Model_of_Crazy_HOrse

Crazy_HOrse_model_2

We totally enjoyed our visit to Crazy Horse.  If you’re ever in the area, don’t miss it.  It’s amazing.

South Dakota – Wall and the Badlands

Friday, May 15th, 2009

SD_sign

 

South Dakota – Wall and the Badlands

May of 2009

We entered South Dakota on State Route 83 and took a break at the border.  Bob checked over the motorhome and took a nap.  K.C. enjoyed some fun and games in the Rosebud Casino.

Rosebud Casino

Rosebud Casino

 

When we left the casino, we had a few more dollars in our pocket thanks to K.C.’s continuing good luck – or is it skill?  We continued north on SR 83 to Murdo, South Dakota.  At Murdo, we turned west on I 90 and drove to Wall, South Dakota.

South Dakota landscape and little house on the prairie

South Dakota landscape and little house on the prairie.

 

We found an RV Park in Wall.  Wall has an interesting story connected to it.  Back during the depression years, a man and his wife owned a small pharmacy in Wall.  They were struggling.  Business was poor.  On a hot summer’s day, the pharmacist’s wife had an idea.  She sent her husband out to put “free icewater at Wall Drug” signs on the highway.  Before her husband even made it back from setting out the signs, people were pulling off of the highway and stopping in for their free icewater.  While there, they bought other items.  Business became brisk.  The pharmacist expanded on the idea by putting Burma Shave type rhyming signs along the highway for hundreds of miles in each direction.  The tourists poured in.  Fast forward ahead 70+ years, and you will find Wall, South Dakota to be a bustling tourist town famous for the sale of Black Hills Gold jewelry and, of course, its free icewater.  Wall Drug is still the main attraction in town.  K.C. had a good time browsing through the shops in town.  Bob had a good time resting.

The day after we arrived in Wall, we toured the Badlands.  At the Badlands National Park near Wall, erosion has etched the colorful soft rocks and volcanic ash into amazing shapes.  If you’re ever in the area, a drive through the Badlands National Park is a must.  There is a loop that you can take by leaving I 90 at Wall and returning to it at Cactus Flat.  Or vice versa. 

The Badlands of South Dakota

The Badlands of South Dakota

Bob in the Badlands

Bob in the Badlands

badlands_valley

K.C. in the Badlands

K.C. in the Badlands

 The Badlands are amazing.

After spending a few a few days at Wall, we moved on down the road to Black Hawk just west of Rapid City, South Dakota.  From here, we will tour Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse Monument, and visit Lead, Deadwood and Sturgis.

 

 

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