Day One - Wyoming, Black Hills, Crazy Horse and Rushmore at Night
We took off in the morning, delivered our dogs to our DIL's house, then headed back towards the house because a couple things had been forgotten. That was ok, because we had to head back this way to start the trip. We contemplated dropping the dogs off the night before, but he worked and I had a show, so this just seemed the best solution. The first thing we laughed about was the electronic highway signs in Utah and Wyoming that day. They read: Buckle Up Buttercup. Cute.
We stopped for breakfast in Evanston, meandered our way through Wyoming, including a stop at the famous Little America stop. We got there just as a bunch of youth landed there having been on a "trek". (It's common in the summer around here for the youth to go on a short reenactment of the Mormon pioneers coming to Utah, finding out what it's like to pull a handcart, wear period clothes in the hot summer sun, etc.) It was busy, we waited patiently for restrooms, bought a couple of food items, then headed back out on the road. (Ignore the dirty windshield. If I'd have stopped to take EVERY picture we wanted, we would still be trying to get home!) As we traveled along we saw lots of antelope and we stopped to get a decent picture of at least one. We also laughed at a horse, standing next to an open garage with his head inside. "What ya doin', mom?" (Passed by too quick to get a pic.)
Internet was very spotty... little did I know! When we stopped for gas still just outside of S. Dakota, we figured we could be in Rapid City by end of day, so I started looking for a hotel room. We didn't plan this trip "down to the last detail" because we wanted some flexibility. I signed onto the chamber website and reserved a room, and we took off. Due to the internet being bad, I couldn't ever sign in to check the confirmation. Crossed fingers.
It was interesting as we started moving into the Black Hills just how different the landscape would become. We saw several places where there had been fires in the past. I haven't researched to find out when they were through this area, but you could tell it had been a couple of years. It's amazing how the scars of a fire leave their own beauty behind.
We had thought about stopping at the Wind Caves in this area, but it was very apparent we weren't going to have the time, so that became the first "casualty". No problem, though. Crazy Horse Monument became our first "official" stop. The people who work at this park are very proud of it. Talking to them was a big part of the experience. This is not a national park, and is completely funded by the donations they get, and the entry earnings, etc from visitors.
We got there in time to take the last bus tour to the base of the monument. Our bus driver/guide was knowledgeable, had a great sense of humor and made the trip worth taking. We learned that the "crown" you see on the top of the head of Crazy Horse is used for "pointing", one of the methods used to know where to carve. Of course laser mapping is being used more and more but they will still use the pointing method from time to time.
|Where this rectangular scaffold is around the white slab of rock is where his finger will be pointing.|
They have placed a stone at the base that has the same "finish"
on it that the whole sculpture has/will have at the end, so you can
feel what it is like.
|Our tour guide giving some great information|
We noticed on the map we were given that they had a memorial to the events of Sept. 11, 2001. It looks like they have carved granite from the area in the shape of the towers, to frame a memorial plaque and mount what may be a piece of the trade center. (There was no information on that so I'm not sure, it's just what it looks like.)
This beautiful sculpture of horses was nearby.
There is an interesting gate on the property. It doesn't go anywhere, you can walk all the way around it, but it has artwork of animals all over it. I collect beavers, the hubs collects foxes so I had to take pictures of these. I think the fox feels a little outnumbered.
I do seed beading, and I design a few seed bead patterns every now and again. When I walked into this room, I was immediately covetous of this collection. Oh. My.
|The explanation of where the beads came from|
|Beautiful bead work|
|Crazy Horse lit at night|
So this is the only picture I got of the whole sculpture, in very low light. And the only pic of the laser show that came out clear, lol!
After the laser show was over we found each other and made our way to the car and on to Mount Rushmore. We both really wanted to see this monument lit up at night. Though the hubs had been to Rushmore, he had never seen it at night. At this point, my phone was getting NO internet, though the hubs phone, the same model I have, would manage to get it whenever signal strength for phone service was good. We were worried about confirmation at the hotel, so we didn't stay too long at Rushmore. I'm so glad we went!! My camera didn't really capture the beauty of the sculpture all lit up. There were very few people there, it was late enough that there was no one at the gate to charge for parking. It was worth the extra time.
Though we had a bit of a scare when the lady in front of us at the hotel check in had messed up reservations, ours had gone through and we stopped for the night, sometime around 11:20. I tried getting T-Mobile to reset my phone, but it didn't work for long and we found out the next day there is a tech issue with their towers and 4G, so I "get" to go into a store and get my SIM card replaced. Made for an interesting trip during the day, but, hey!! I was having fun!