Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Busy, busy, busy

I have been too busy to post. We have been going somewhere every day here in the Black Hills. We drove over here on Sunday and are camped at the Heartland RV Park in Hermosa. The park is on route 79, so there is easy access in and out of the park. We are right next to route 36 and 40 that both go into Custer park. Since I haven't posted in a few days, I will make a few "mini" posts to keep things organized. Most recent activities are first. . .

Today we started out through the park once again and headed over to Custer. We had wanted to walk through the town. We also knew that friends of ours, Rod and Marsha, have a house here near Custer. They actually full time, but have just purchased this house recently. We really had no idea where it was, but I searched on the internet and got an address and we decided to try it. We drove back and were pleasantly surprised that we found their house! They have been doing some work on it and it is very attractive. They have room to park several motorhomes and they did have two friends there with them camping in their yard. We had a nice visit with them.

We drove on to Custer and did some walking in the town. They have buffalo statues on each street corner and each is painted up differently, kind of like the "painted ponies." They are close to life-size however and the paintings on them depict scenes around the Black Hills. On the road back through the park we once again saw more buffalo. I never get tired of seeing them. They are very majestic animals and I am glad they were saved from extinction.

Tomorrow we leave here and head up toward the Lead/Deadwood area. We are actually going to be camping in Spearfish. We will spend two nights there and then move on into North Dakota.

We started our day Tuesday by running up to Rapid City. Terry had to have blood work done and we had a couple prescriptions to get refilled. We had been checking for the businesses we use along our route through North Dakota and discovered we had to get this taken care of now as our preferred businesses are not in the areas we were going. Not a problem. While we were in Rapid City, we took a drive downtown and it was much as we remembered it. They do have a nice downtown with lots of interesting looking shops.

Afterwards we drove out and down the west side of Custer Park and saw some different scenery. There was a petting zoo kind of attraction that had goats on a walkway strung in the air. There was a ladder type ramp for them to climb on. It was interesting to see these sure footed goats up there eating the hay set on the walkway. We drove through the park to the town of Keystone and did some browsing through the shops there. We later took a drive on the wildlife loop and as anticipated, we saw more buffalo. We had thought we would see the "begging burrows" but for some reason, they remained elusive this week.

We had a beautiful start to the day, but there was some rain forecast later, so we took off in the morning for the monuments. We took 40 into the park today and along this road, we actually could see Mount Rushmore miles away. As we got closer it was more visible. It certainly is impressive. We were last here 30 years ago, but it looks the same. The difference is the parking. Now the park service has leased the parking to a concessionaire and it costs $8 to park to go see the FREE monument. A lot of people are not happy with this and it does seem like a lot of money to park. There are several buildings on the area below the mountain, including a museum, gift shop, viewing area and restaurants. We got there about 10:30 and it was already crowded, but it was much worse once we turned around to leave. The gift shop was packed and we gave up trying to even look in there.

We left Mt. Rushmore and traveled over to see the Crazy Horse monument. This is a mountain being carved in the likeness of Crazy Horse and his horse. He is pointing out over the mountains and valleys. When we were here 30 years ago, there were no buildings, except the sculptor's house. Now there is an entire complex consisting of museums, theaters, restaurant, the house, and various statues sculpted by the artist. The artist, now deceased, and his wife had 10 children, 7 of whom live there and work on the mountain. This is going to be much more impressive than the Mt. Rushmore carvings and it promises to have a campus which will include a college complete with medical school. The face of Crazy Horse is basically finished, and in one of the pictures you may be able to see the outline of the horse's head. The problem is that this project so far has taken 63 years. Who knows when it will be all finished. Surely not in my lifetime.

Sunday. . .
We got our camp all set up and it started to rain. It actually rained quite hard and for quite some time, so we just stayed in. Later when the rain subsided, we decided to go on a drive to see where some attractions were and to map out our strategy for the next couple days. We entered the park and almost immediately we saw a large herd of buffalo, a.k.a. bison, walking down the road. It was still raining some and they were stopping periodically to drink from mud puddles. The mommas and the calves were together and the bulls were interspersed. Some of the bulls were absolutely huge, probably close to the 2,000 pounds they can grow to be. Traffic was pretty much stopped as everyone was taking pictures. I got a movie of one bull walking down the middle of the road, snorting all the way. I don't think he was too happy with all the traffic. It was quite a site to see. Along the way, we passed through three tunnels. They were very narrow and we had to be careful not to scrape the car.

Till next time. . .



jocelyn said...

The Needles Highway worried me with the Crown Vic, but I saw some really big SUVs get through with only a few scrapes on their mirrors, so we just went on through. ;)

Dale said...

Yeh, they were kind of scary.