Friday, August 26, 2011

Custer State Park Loop
We're off to see as much of the Custer State Park area and the Peter Norbeck National Scenic Byway. The roads wind through some of the most spectacular scenery in the Black Hills and covers 1.2 million acres. .

This magnificent sculpture is made up of 100's of small sculptures and graces the entryway into the town of Hill City .
This is the only self sculpture that Gutzum Borglum did of himself and his son Lincoln. Borglum is the artist who designed and made the Mount Rushmore carvings. When Borglum past away his son finished his work.
Borglum is also known for this life size bronze work of President Lincoln.

The faces of Mount Rushmore were in view throughout our day.
Korczak Zioldowski, a New England sculture created this carving of Crazy Horse. It is 641 feet long and 563 feet high. The 90 foot face was completed in 1996. Korczak's family is now continuing the carving which is to have Crazy horse astride his horse and pointing to his ancestral lands. This is being funded through visitor admissions and donations without government support.

As we drove through these winding roads, we passed picturesque lakes, towering granite needle rock and six picture perfect tunnels.
Amazing spirals along the way.
Will we fit????? Never in the motorhome Some of these tunnels are only 9 feet wide.
Along the way we spotted antelope grazing.

The scenery never stopped amazing us. Of course Dick got to drive the hairpin turns, spiral pigtail bridges and mile high overlooks. I got to sight see.
The Bison ruled the road. I had never heard the grunt of these guys but as they passed right next to our car, we did get an earful. Nearly 1300 of these mammoth animals, one of the largest herds anywhere roam this park.

Little did we know these beggars had a plan. While many of the burros block the roadway, one or two would saunter up to our window to beg for food. Smart guys know we visitors are suckers for this smile.

Dick enjoyed feeding his friends.

And more of the big guys taking over the road. What a sight. Yes, they do have the right of way.

I couldn't capture it, but as we travel through the tunnels we could see Mount Rushmore. Can't imagine how this massive carving was accomplished during a time of national challenge and hardship..the Great Depression of 1930's. It was interesting to me how the shadows changed and the view would be totally different.
THe old bridges were amazing.
A stop in Keystone on our way home and Dick found a job combining his love of bikes with his need to do some mowing.
One near disaster this week when a rogue wind blew through the park and caught our awning. Boomer friends to the rescue. Looks like government work with 4 men watching and one doing the work. Wonder where they learned that. End result great minds came up with a plan and got us back together. On to Gillette tomorrow.
Rush no More Campground, Sturgis South Dakota Great night with our camp hosts preparing a steak dinner. Yummy
Friends enjoying good eats, food, wine and stories. Judy and Luke outside couple; Becky and Lonnie inside couple.
Tables outside and in with friends busy sharing their day. Nick, Sherrie, Jack and Chuck.

Another quote that just said take me...enjoy life!
We're ready for a bike ride. The George Mickelson Trail :109 miles through bubbling streams, water falls, mines, old railroad buildings, tunnels, green pastures with cattle, area where George Custer shot a grizzly bear and amazing scenery in every direction. No, we didn't do the whole trail...just about 20 glorious miles. The trail is named for George Mickelson, a South Dakota governor who supported its beginning. The trail was a transportation route that was transformed into the Rails to Trails byways. About 100 of the old railroad trestles are still in place. All have been restored along with 4 hard rock tunnels.

Getting ready for the tunnel
The creek kept running. Gosh I learned that by observing the direction the creek was running I could tell if the path was uphill or down. Amazing discovery.
Our fearless leaders. Thank you Jan and Chuck for planning and leading this wonderful bike ride. We loved every minute....even uphill.
These tunnels were amazing. Check out the architecture.
See the land shark entering the tunnel......
Scenery continues
Little birds waiting for mom to bring dinner.
This old time fire engine is not really upside down...Its hanging from the ceiling at the Fire Engine bar in downtown Rapid City.
Dinosaur Park. Had to return...I came here as a child and have many fond memories of this park with seven life size dinosaur replicas.....wait to see the comparison from 60 years ago....I'll post when we get home and I can find the old pics.

Have to wait till I get home to have my grandsons identify the dinosaurs.

Travel is so much fun but oh I do miss you little Violet and all of my grandchildren.
Roughlock Falls
Its hike day, our Boomer group is at Roughlock Falls outside of Spearfish along Spearfish Creek. An amazing wonderful area to hike. We saw clear water tumbling over limestone cliffs. Birch, Aspen and Pine trees surrounded us as well as lots of greenery and chokecherries. The final scene from Dance with Wolves was shot here. I can certainly see why this area was chosen.

I'm a sucker for quotes. Loved this one and several others that were posted on our hike.

Some of our hikers. Betty and Duane are in the middle of the group. Thank you Betty for planning this hike and giving us an opportunity to explore this gorgeous area.

Spearfish falls. Can you feel the spray cooling us.

Boomer friends give hugs, plan activities, create the best happy hours, provide yummy potlucks, tell of their adventures, share advice, lend a helping hand, and love life and so much more. . We are so fortunate to have these friends....Jan and Chuck Moore.

A special spot along the hike.

Jan and I played twins today...very patriotic twins.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mount Rushmore
No trip to South Dakota would be complete without a trip to visit Mount Rushmore. This visit brought back lots of memories of my childhood vacations to this spot.

The Avenue of Flags displays flags of all 50 states, one district and the territories and commonwealths of the US. The columns of the Borglum Court frame this colorful exhibit with the presidents in the background.

Four hundred men and women helped create Mount Rushmore. Carvers climbed 700 stairs to the top of the mountain to carve our presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln. The monument stands as an internationally recognized symbol of freedom, patriotism and democracy.

These are the original models Gutzon Borglum made. His studio was quite a great display of some of the work that went into the 14 years it took to carve this mountain.

Its hard to really get a handle on the actual size of these carvings. Each face is 60 feet tall. Each eye is 11 feet wide. Washington's nose is 21 feet long. Washington's mouth is 18 feet wide.

We thoroughly enjoyed the day , the ranger talks, visit to the sculptors studio, and the museum.

Great lunch spot

Another must visit spot in South Dakota. We were here right after the big rally. Still lots of motorcycles in town so we got to hear the roar of the engines.

Time for beers in the Knuckle saloon. It was pretty quiet with most of the riders gone.

Dick enjoyed wandering through the areas filled with old time equipment .