Saturday, September 11, 2010

Four Guys On a Mountainside

Clear skies over Rapid City made for a promising day after two, sometimes wet drizzly ones. Up at 7 we were on the road in no time. First stop Mt. Rushmore.

Flags outside the memorial flew at half staff. A reminder that this is the 9th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Not far away, the Crazy Horse monument is being built. It has been a work in progress since the 1940's.

Ken remembers coming here a a kid, only the mountain looked much different then. The face was completed in the late 1990's. If you ever come this way, we suggest you save yourself the $10 a person entrance fee and take your pictures from the street. They'll just try to milk you for more money when you get in to go up the mountain on a bus. It makes us wonder who's really crazy here... The tourist or the Indian warrior.

Just down the road from Crazy Horse, The town of Custer is home to a quasi-prehistoric landmark. The Flintstones campground and amusement park was closed for the season, but looks like another place you can keep money in your pocket avoiding.

How's this for you? We stumbled across a massive mammoth graveyard.

A developer in the seventies stumbled on it while clearing the site. It's now run by a non-profit and is an active archeological dig. It's now called "Mammoth Site", clearly they are getting points for originality. The big guys were trapped in a massive sink whole...repeatedly...over hundreds of years. Get this, to date all the finds have been of teenage male mammoths. You can read into that whatever you'd like.

We continued South on a back country highway crossing the Nebraska stateline.

Our destination? Chimney Rock. A geologic spire that was a icon for pioneers traveling West. Most did it on foot, with cart loads of supplies that would ultimately get dumped along the way as the trip proved more difficult than many anticipated.

And those were the lucky ones. Many died before they could cross this milestone.

Family was the reason behind Carhenge, located near Alliance, Nebraska.

YouTube Video

The artist was an engineer who grew up on here. He went to school near Stonehenge, in the United Kingdom. When his parents passed away he inherited the land. Missing his family, he devised Carhenge as a way to entice everyone back for a huge family reunion.

A funny think happened on our way to the badlands. In our haste to beat the sun, a shortcut seemed obvious. Note to self, partially paved road in Indian country means dirt. Needless to say about 15 miles in there was no turning back. We stopped to asks some Indians for directions which only resulted in them piling into the car and following us back. We like to think of it as a modern example of cowboys and indians. Only these weren't on horseback. These were modern Indians, they drove a suburban and were drunk.

The shortcut brought us to the Badlands from South in time to see the Sun set over the torn landscape. It was followed by a painted sky that matched the day.

A long late drive puts us in Mitchell, SD for the night. More driving tomorrow to Chicago.

Location:Quince St,Mitchell,United States

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