Thursday, August 19, 2010

like a bad habit

I cannot just leave this dang blog alone for a whole week. So. We arrived a day ahead of schedule because Mapquest and the GPS had different conclusions about how long it would take to travel 828 miles. We swung by the Corn Palace before checking into our lodging in Rapid City. Today we did the faces of South Dakota.

Mount Rushmore was as grand as I remember it from my childhood visit. We ate at the cafeteria on site (great food--you cannot go wrong eating at national monuments) and saw license plates from all over North America. Putting a particular poignancy to our visit was a Naturalization ceremony that afternoon. We recognized the future citizens by the fact that they were dressed to the nines for their special occasion. I kind of choked up at the idea of these people becoming citizens. FYI: Thomas Jefferson is my favorite of the four presidents up there.

We hit Crazy Horse next. It has changed quite a bit since my last visit in 1978 (or thereabouts). Much more commercial. The armpit and face are more defined. They barely got a caterpillar through the armpit when I last saw it and the face wasn't even started yet. When I went last time you really had to use your imagination to see the face and horse head in the mountain. And today I confess to not having any love for Indian (Native American? They say "Indian" here but if you were to travel to Oneida Nation north of where I live they'd get their dander up, so what to say?) art. The beads, designs, colors, all of it does NOTHING for me at all. Consequently, I found the Crazy Horse museum one giant yawn. I have no interest in seeing more beaded eagle/turtle/wolf necklaces, thankyouverymuch. We left carrying a couple of rocks blasted off the side of the mountain. Whew. Sorry, folks, but taste in art is subjective and this Western stuff is NOT my cup of tea.

Nor are the Great Plains. We drove through some of the most desolate, empty, wide open land to get here. Not for millions of dollars would I want to live here. It creeps me out, all this vast flat nothingness of plains before the mountains begin. I much prefer my forests of trees.

There appears to be some devastation of the pine trees around here, not sure. Huge swaths of land in the Black Hills National Forest/Park were either brown or cut down for some reason or another. Beetles? That's my guess.

And we ended our first day at Bear Country U.S.A. where we saw the bears getting fed (shovelfuls of bread) and lost Mr. G. We found him at the far end of the park making friends with a bear cub. We escaped that tourist trap with a coffee mug for Mr. D.

Now, after running Team Testosterone totally ragged at South Dakota's largest indoor water park (a shadow of what we're accustomed to, living near the Wisconsin Dells), we're waiting for dinner to be delivered and bedtime...my legs are so tired from walking hither and thither and yon all day. Tomorrow: horseback riding, a wild west show, caves and Reptile World. As they say in the Wild West, "Hold your horses! We're in for a wild ride!"
Yee haw!

16 comments:

  1. Sounds like a fun time---minus the yawn fest ;)

    When Jim asked my dad for my hand (awww, how sweet), my dad invited Jim to come with him on a trip to Fargo in his semi...in DECEMBER! Jim said he was scared to death that my dad would dump him off on the side of the road, never to be seen again...thankfully he made it back (with a new found love of The Three Stooges and chewing tobacco...nipped both righ away!)

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  2. I don't think I'd like living in the great plains either, although the Little House books make them seem so wonderful. I'm dying to poke around in South Dakota some day.

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  3. It sounds like a classic American road trip.

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  4. As someone who grew up on the rez, I too have no love for any of that art, nor the Western stuff. My edge of Nebraska is still barely "midwestern", but DOTR is from Western Nebraska, went to college for one year in Chadron and prefers our forest here as well. Yet it always surprises me that there are so many people here that are enamoured with Western stuff and their dreams are filled with "getting away from it all" by buying a cabin in Wyoming or Montana.

    If you have time, check out Evans Plunge...we took our kids there and DOTR remembers going to it when he was a kid. It's a natural spring, the water is really warm and you swim all year round. And too bad you just missed Sturgis....that would've kept TT busy counting the motorcycles. Thousands of them on the roads everywhere around that area. You may still see some residual biker traffic now. Enjoy!!!!!

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  5. Sounds like a great trip. Sorry I keep missing your calls.
    Have fun and buy some great trinkets

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  6. I love that part of the world. People don't believe me about the corn palace -- but it really does exist!

    Love the badlands. Glad you guys are having a good time.

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  7. Oh my gosh. That sounds like the best vacation. Although tiring. Keep having fun!!!

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  8. What great memories for your kids! We lived for years in Arizona, and Native American art never did anything for either my husband (who's even 1/4 Native American!) or me. I can admire the effort it took to create it, but that's about it.

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  9. Weird; I’m just now realizing my in-laws took my kids to the Dakotas but I’ve never been!

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  10. I took a trip to SD with my parents in the last 90s. I was moved out of their house already and they decided we needed one last family vacation. I'd like to take my boys sometime. I haven't heard about the water park out there.

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  11. I can't wait to take my boys on this type of trip. I enjoy hearing about what you are doing and if your boys like it so I can learn from a pro of how to entertain young boys. :-)

    Also, I was thinking of you this past week because my cousin who is 4 months old started having seizures (7 in one day) and ended up in ICU for a few days...no brain tumor or bleeding found thank God. They started medication and are trying to find the right dose and it seems to be working. Doesn't one of you sons have seizures?? The doctors are saying she may grow out of it. It was a very scary couple of days.

    Carolyn

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  12. Coffee cups are my favorite souvenir. I keep favorites at school; they remind me of fun and relaxing times as I'm sitting at my desk. Not that teaching isn't fun and relaxing... sometimes... maybe... oh, geez, my classroom isn't ready yet...

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  13. Oh sounds like fun is coming up. I LOVE caves, reptile world and riding horses - used to have two of our own until my daughter went to high school. Then it took too much time. Kids or large pets - they both take time and lots of it. :)

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  14. I have to admit that the intricacy of beaded artwork is entirely appealing in its level of detail. Right there with you on the not-so-much with the wide open spaces though. Sounds like fun--- glad you decided to give us a peek into the vacation!

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  15. Sounds amazing! Have fun horseback riding
    xoxo
    SC

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  16. I traveled there as a child, but have no memories of it. Must not have been too impressed. The Great Plains have a charm of their own but that was wasted on the 7 year old that I was then.

    Your vacation sounds like a whole lot of fun, though!

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Spill it, reader.