Its all just rocks, but what rocks!

Trip Start Mar 12, 2011
Trip End Dec 15, 2011

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Flag of United States  , South Dakota
Monday, October 31, 2011

As we were setting off this morning we saw our next door neighbour, a Korean, boiling rice on a gas cooker outside his room. Memories of our travels in Russia etc where we had to cook our own food. Such nostalgia!

Our aim today was to see the Need;es, Crazy Horse and Mt rushmore, so we set off in that direction. Passed the turnoff we meant to take, so tried to locate a minor road at the next exit which would link back. However the map didnt help as it only showed one road and there were several, and the sat nav showed several, but as we zoopmed out they all disappeared so we couldnt tell which was the one we wanted. After going back and forth we cut our losses and went back the way we had come to the missed junction. Wasted time, but fun!

Passed Pactola lake on the way, which was a very attractive lake, can imagine that in season its paacked out with holiday makers. Just having the lake without any human detractions was lovely.

Eventually got to Crazy Horse. Apparently its not a well visited place compared to Mt Rushmore, but the statue, which is by no means finished, is considerably bigger than Mt R.  Crazy Horse's face is about as tall as the Presidents heads, so the whole thing will be about 10 times as big. And its all done privately, they were offered govt funding but turned it down, as they didnt believe the govt would want it finished. There's a whole visitors area, showing details of the indians and the broken promises that were made to them, their culture etc, Korczak's (the sculpture) house and other works and loads of things. I thought we would spend a short while there, but it could have easily absorbed a lot longer than we gave it. However, its been going for about 50 years so far, and one has to wonder whether it will ever get finished!

We were going to go on to the Needles Eye , but we saw a sign in the restrooms saying that eedles Highway was closed. This was the only indication we had anywhere, even passing the turnoff, so we queried it and were told, yest it is closed. However he told us to go down the Custer Park Wildlife drive and stop at Mt Coolidge Viewpoint, and we would get great views of both Mt R and the Needles. So we went there, and the viewpoint is closed! Could have walked it, but its 1.5 miles each way, up steep hills, so we gave up. Went along the wildlike drive, and in the fiirst half we saw absolutely nothing at all, so we were feeling very annoyed. However, then we saw quite a few herds of buffalo and some deer, and a herd of dumb donkeys. So honour was satisfied.
Proceeded towards Mt R, along a VERY winding road. Dozens of hairpin bends, most of which were so tight we could hardly get round them in one go. Martin had to work very hard. Couple of one lane tunnels, and teo pigtail bridges, where the road went round 360 degrees and across a wooden bridge to get anywhere. Quite an experience.
Eventually got to Mt R And went to the Presidents. Very impressive, and again there was an interesting visitors centre showing how it was all created. What we couldnt understand iss how, in the early 20th Century, they cold visit all the mountains to decide which one was suitable for such a big operation!

Anyway, with all the rocks we saw today, we didnt maanage to make a lot of progress towards NY, so here we are in Rapid City. Went to the recommended place to eat, and on the beer list was a "Pile of Dirt" Porter, so I couldnt resist. Unfortunately no bottle, so I cant share the picture with you.

Mileage 167, Max Alt was 6034, climbed 12910 ft altogether. Tim M, do you need an explanation!!?

Martin's mountain moment:

Korczak Ziolkowski was a self taught sculpter (?) who became committed to the project in 1938 and also tookup the cause of the Native American Indian.He had 10 children,7 of whom remain involved in the scheme,as does his widow.
I can understand his reluctance to get hijacked by State or Corporate money,however tempting.There must have been a collective amnesia on the part of the establishment to the fate of the Native American and the temptation to drown out the image of an individual who is remembered for inflicting a famous defeat on an American icon (General George Custer,failed man manager) must have been great. Even more so when he met his death by assassination whilst under truce - stabbed in the back.
Anyway for my money - which was more than it was to see Mount Rushmore - it was well worth seeing.
And the Needles - didn't get to see them as area was being treated for pine tree infestation.
I'm beginning to think that our prolonged escape from the bad weather is soon to come to an end.Weather was exceptionally hot today and tonight is warm also.But precipitation is in sight.
The last two weeks have been an absolute treat but I'm feeling a little jaded now as I think we are out of the pretty and into the city.
Who knows anything about Chicago? Sears building (or whatever its called now) and Annish Kapoor's sculpture  are all I know - but I think there's an interesting waterfront.I don't think we're going to get a game in for Roger's birthday. Answers on a postcard please.I think we'll try to get an out of town motel on the end of a railway or tram connection.We'll see.
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Polly on

No trick or treaters yesterday, even with pumpkin in the window. We received your postcard today from Salt Lake City today, thank you. I do love a postcard. Will get my chisel out at the weekend, maybe do some duck sculpture.

sara on

I'd like to know which presidents are the presidents please? I think I recognise Lincoln but not the others
and i'm with tim, Roger- i don't understand the numbers- how can the first number be smaller than the second one? a handy guide for dunces would be great please

martin- sorry i took daniel out when you called- went out for nice tea in freezing pub- 3 tops not enough layers.

Jan & Dave on

Crazy Horse looks the same as when we were there! Happy Birthday Roger.

Alison on

I too received a postcard yesterday from slc beautiful rock formations thank you Martin. Shame about your freezing night out Sara was it colder than the homestead in Biddenham? HOw was the food?Look forward to your duck sculptures Polly and don`t you boys read the comments , there are a few unanswered questions here. Chaos still mounting on the religious side outside St Pauls cathedral and Germany and France are still trying to save euro. Am off now to try and save Cathlic school federation from falling into the dust. Cheerio.

David on

Re: Anyone know anything about Chicago?............It's certainly known for its distinctive heritage of Blues music which was 'Delta style' guitar with alot of amplified harp. (Home of Chess records, signed so many of my very favorite blues artists, Sonny Boy Williamson, Big Bill Broonzy, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Howlin WolF, Etta James and many many more.)
Anyway...If it was me, I've always wanted to visit the windy city (as I believe its sometimes known) can't go far wrong by getting along to a music joints, park up stanley, order some beers, listen to some guitar and harmonica,....and take some time to enjoy another element to great road trip.
Take it easy guys, & safe travels.

Tim (Matthews) on

Yes please Roger...

argieuk on

Start at 3000 ft.
Climb 100ft, then drop 100ft 50 times
Your max was 3100ft
You climbed 5000ft
You also dropped 5000ft, but who cares?

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