Saturday, September 26, 2009
Into the Black Hills
"Traveling makes a man wiser, but less happy."
President Jefferson, I beg to differ. I couldn't be happier.
We awoke in our quaint little RV park and set out for the Black Hills.
It appears South Dakota saved all their trees and put them here. Whatever they lack in the rest of the state is made up for tenfold.
After climbing up and down and around several hills on steep, winding roads we came to the tiny valley town of Keystone, pop. 311.
A few hotels, cottages and a main street of souvenir and antique shops and restaurants to snag the tired tourist with a few dollars to burn. We browsed, but refrained from buying anything, even though Nikki did find this sweet hat.
Leaving Keystone you can see Mt. Rushmore as you wind your way up yet another hill. It's free to get in, but you pay to park. Damn feds.
The monument is massive, and a true testament to human ingenuity. And while it is amazing to see, you can only take so many pictures. So after an hour or so we hightailed it down the road.
On the lookout for public campsites, we passed one already closed for the season. The next seemed good, but we still needed firewood, so we continued on.
Then we came to the Crazy Horse Monument. This depiction of the famous American indian is hardly close to being finished, but the scope of it is pretty awesome, when seen from the road. Maybe when they finish we'll spend our money to get a closer look. No hard feelings, just being frugal.
Here you can see it in the distance. the face is completed and you can see a long flat plateau that will be his arm. The have stenciled on the rock the head of the horse on which he rides.
We eventually entered Custer, SD, named after the same Custer whose regiment was slaughtered at Little Bighorn by a superior force of American Indians.
Custer is also home to the Flinstones campground and amusement park. Too rich for our blood, though.
We continued on to the Jewel caves after coming across yet another campground closed for the season to find out all the tours were full for the day. To our dismay we also found out that there were no other public campgrounds available, and we would have to backtrack to the site we found before the Crazy Horse Monument.
So a half hour later we were set up in the campsite where we will finish out the weekend. After setting up we took a small hike around the surrounding area. It wasn't long before we came across some deer.
And then we came across a mysterious cave which I appropriately named Mountain Crotch cave.
We're not exactly sure what, if anything, lives down there, but as suggested by the plastic blue keg cup, I think it's probably a drunk.
Well, tomorrow we're going to take it easy, probably morph the Dod into full leisure mode. Then we'll head out Monday to see the Jewel caves, and then the Wind caves further south. For tonight it's tequila and hotdogs. God bless America.
"Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude."