Friday, July 16, 2010

Corvettes and Harleys!

Yesterday we made the short hop from the Rapid City area over to near Spearfish, South Dakota. I am really likin' this land, though. It is positively gorgeous. I could easily spend my summers here--not the winters, however. Too many places on state roads with signs saying, "Closed if lights are flashing" and then they have railroad crossing arms that will lower across the road to prevent anyone from driving in. That can only mean one thing. . . SNOW! Hah. The hills are beautiful. They appear grassy with pine trees dotting the landscape and forests on the hillsides. Streams meander through the endless valleys.

We got set up in our campground which is very nice and very expensive. Even though we balked at paying $96 for two nights, in another two weeks, the Harley Davidson motorcycle rally at Sturgis will be underway and the sites will go for $125 a night. We won't be here then, but we are seeing lots of motorcycles. We drove on into Deadwood and parked and shopped and even tried our luck (bad) at the casinos in town. When we were here 30 years ago, there were no casinos--gaming was introduced in the 80's to rejuvenate the town and to restore it to the tourist destination it once was.

After leaving there, we drove to Spearfish, which is just five miles down the road. Spearfish is hosting a Corvette rally this weekend and there are hundreds of them all over town. Most of them are newer 'Vettes, but I did see a split window Stingray which was pretty cool.

As I was outside this morning, I saw some campers getting on their Harley with sidecar and working on setting up their GPS. I took a doubletake at the sidecar, but there sat a Labrador Retriever sitting patiently waiting in the sidecar. I ran over because I wanted to get a picture. We had actually seen them the day before on our way over here and I wished I had gotten a picture, but this was even better. Emma is the dog's name and she is a big lab mix. She is a rescue and has quite a story to tell. She has a website Emma and has quite a list of accomplishments. She wears "Doggles" to protect her eyes and a shirt to protect her from chafing because she had a pretty sturdy harness as well. They said she loves to ride and stays down in the seat very well, but does enjoy seeing the sites. They had quite the setup.

We decided to head west and go into Wyoming. The Devil's Tower is just under 60 miles from here, so I wanted to go to see it. We started off and then discovered that the Vore Buffalo Jump was just 2 miles off the road at the Wyoming Visitor's Center. This is a sinkhole, a very large and deep sinkhole, the Native Americans used to kill buffalo to provide meat for their families over the winter. It is a sad thing to think about, the animals being killed by the thousands, but these people revered the buffalo and used every part of the animal for food, clothing, and shelter. It is estimated, according to our guide, that 15-20,000 buffalo may have met their demise here. The Indians would drive the buffalo across the ground and steer them toward the sinkhole. They would be nearly stampeding when they reached the precipice and would fall to their deaths below. There would be more people waiting at the bottom of the pit and they would start butchering the animals immediately. Any that were not killed by the fall were finished off quickly. They are digging at the site and uncovering the bones. There are multiple layers of bones from years and years of use. This jump was discovered when they were building I-90 through the area. They planned to fill in the sinkhole and pave over the top, but when they were digging, they started finding bones and so the road was eventually diverted a few hundred yards away and the site is being excavated.

From there we got back on the interstate and drove to the road that leads to Devil's Tower. This is a massive rock tower that rises 867 feet from its base and stands 1,267 feet above the river. The diameter of its base is 1,000 feet. Fifty million years ago molten magma was forced into sedimentary rocks above it and cooled underground. As it coooled it contracted and fractured into columns. Over millons of years, erosion of the sedimentary rock exposed Devils Tower. It is impressive. In 1906 President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed Devils Tower the first national monument.

When we left there, we continued driving on the loop back to our road. The scenery was spectacular. What I like most is that there are people here, but it is not crowded. The hills are nothing short of spectacular and I hope we come back sometime.

Till next time. . .


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