Wednesday, September 10, 2008

South Dakota & Wyoming

We had a great 4 days in the Custer area. We visited Mt Rushmore National Monument twice. We did the day time audio tour, introductory video, and visit the museum and gift shop. Then we returned the next night to see the Memorial ceremony with light show, it was very well presented and honored our service members past and present and honored the veterans and the theme was "I AM AN AMERICAN".

We spent a couple of days visiting Custer State Park. Here we got to see wildlife like we have never seen before, bison, white tail and mule deer, wild horses, antelope, and prairie dogs.

We were held at bay along Wildlife Loop by 2 stray wild donkeys. They stood in the middle of the road and would not let us by. They were looking for handouts, when we tried to go by them one of them would move into the travel lane and the other would get closer to the car window, finally when they saw we would not give in the let us by and went to the next car in line. We were there for about 15 minutes playing this game.

We got to see Windcave National Park and went down into the caves and traveled about 1/2 mile of the 129 miles of know tunnels that have been explored over the years. At the lowest point we were about 240 feet below the surface.

Saturday we went to Keystone, SD, the Old and New town and while we were there we saw a parade to celebrate "Holy Terror Day" , a lot of fire trucks, and local horse drawn wagons, and cowboys and cowgirls. "Holy Terror Day" came about after a miner discovered a mine in Keystone and as it was customary back then to name the mine after the wife, so he name it "Holy Terror". We did get to see a celebrity "Carrie Ingals" from the show "Little House on the Prairie" was in the parade riding in one of the wagons. There was a cookout, ATV races, Jeep races and other activities. We only stayed long enough to see the parade, walk thru the Historical museum of the town and hit a few of the shops, most of the merchandise made in some other part of the world.

This sign caught my eye in the General Store in Keystone.

This picture represents 60 years of progress on the Crazy Horse Monument. The first blast occurred in June, 1948. Though they work on the monument daily, as you can see, there is a lot of work to be done.

This photo represents the finished product. At the rate they are going, I don't expect to see the finished product in my lifetime.

There was a local radio station sponsoring a can food drive for the local food pantry and that got you admission to "Crazy Horse Monument". That night they celebrated the 100th birthday of the sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski. This has been a family operation since he started the monument in 1948. They hold a nightly laser light show, but last night the added explosive blast show. They set off charges of explosive on the surface not embedded into the mountain. It was a great light show to celebrate the birthday. No mountain surface was removed just a light show. Pretty impressive.

We took several drives through the area, drove "Needles Highway" a road that if I would have taken the motorhome we would have had big problems, like making it a convertible. There were several tunnels cut thru the mountain and were only 8-9 feet wide and 9-10 feet high and many tight turns. It is called Needles as in one area there is a rock that is split on the top like the eye of a needle, the scenery up there was spectacular. Then we traveled up the Iron Mountain road thru Custer State Park, this road had 3 bridges on it that as you drive over them you can see Mt Rushmore from different angles. All of these roads were designed to give the optimum views of Mt Rushmore.

What a beautiful drive down route 14 thru Wyoming. We traveled to an elevation of about 7400 feet for about 10 miles encountering a snow storm. The motorhome and car were covered with snow. The trees and the ground were covered with about an inch. As we traveled back down to the 4400 ft elevation it turned to rain and mist.

We are now located just 30 miles east of the Yellowstone National Park at the Yellowstone Valley Inn and RV Park. The campsite is facing the mountains. We are having a great time traveling.

Colorado through Labor Day

The 2 weeks spent in CO (end of August thru Labor Day) went by so fast, it is unbelievable. We were parked at Wendy and Troy's house in Golden, Co., elevation around 8800 feet. The weather at first was questionable as we had snow hitting the windshield --only a sleet type snow for a couple of minutes. We did see snow on the mountain tops of Long Peak and Mt Evans and on the local news we saw that on Interstate 70 around the Eisenhower tunnel and Vail pass there was enough snow that the road crews had to do some plowing at the higher elevations.

We went out in the woods with Wendy and Troy with their Jeep, checked out the local area trails.

We did some hiking in the Golden Gate Canyon state park about a four mile hike.

Had to do the Coors brewery tour and get a couple of samples.

Troy's mother Elaine and father Larry were visiting as well for 4 or 5 days. Had a great time with them. Today we left Wendy's and headed to Loveland, Co to the RV America dealership to have some adjustment made to the new refrigerator that was installed out here. The dealership was great for service and friendliness. Even though they did not sell us our motorhome, they took care of the warranty service that was set up by our dealer in NH. We lucked out with Tiffin Motorhomes. After having the servicing done we headed north towards Wyoming. We stopped for the night at a state rest area along Interstate 25 in Guernsey, Wy. Beautiful sunset over the mountains, weather is beautiful, suppose to be around 40 in the morning. We are heading to South Dakota to see Mt Rushmore then travel west towards Yellowstone National Park by the weekend to spend maybe 4 -5 days there, then back to Santa Cruz, Ca to see the grandsons play Pop Warner football and Peyton our granddaughter to play soccer.