Archive for the 'South Dakota' Category

Return to the Badlands

South Dakota 1 Comment »

9/16/2014 – Left Keystone, headed to my new workamping position and decided a trip back to the Badlands was in order.

Me at The Badlands

Me at The Badlands

After securing a campsite, I left Peaches in the rig and headed out to check out some of the areas of the Badlands I didn’t get to earlier in the summer.

I started with a short hike on the Cliff Shelf Nature Trail

I started with a short hike on the Cliff Shelf Nature Trail

Cliff Shelf Nature Trail, it wasn't all this beautiful new trail.

Cliff Shelf Nature Trail, it wasn’t all this beautiful new trail.

Cliff Shelf Nature Trail

Cliff Shelf Nature Trail

View from the Cliff Shelf Nature Trail

View from the Cliff Shelf Nature Trail

View from the Cliff Shelf Nature Trail

View from the Cliff Shelf Nature Trail

Badlands View

Badlands View

I drove outside Badlands NP to visit the Prairie Homestead Historic Site

I drove outside Badlands NP to visit the Prairie Homestead Historic Site

There's a typical sod house built by many of the homesteaders here.

There’s a typical sod house built by many of the homesteaders here.

Problems they had with water and wells.

Problems they had with water and wells.

They aren't kidding.

They aren’t kidding.

Prairie dogs here were almost all white.

Prairie dogs here were almost all white.

I was greeted by a chicken when I drove up - and many others on the grounds.

I was greeted by a chicken when I drove up – and many others on the grounds.

The Homestead Act

The Homestead Act

I bet lots didn't make it the 5 years.

I bet lots didn’t make it the 5 years.

The Homesteaders here

The Homesteaders here

Their sod house.

Their sod house.

Mode of transportation

Mode of transportation

Inside the house

Inside the house

Inside - bedroom - notice the window.

Inside – bedroom – notice the window.

Inside living area

Inside living area

Inside living area

Inside living area

Root Cellar Info

Root Cellar Info

Root Cellar

Root Cellar

Inside the Root Cellar

Inside the Root Cellar

Remember the bedroom window?

Remember the bedroom window?

The bedroom is almost entirely undergound - the window is dug out, with shutters.

The bedroom is almost entirely undergound – the window is dug out, with shutters.

View showing front, with side underground.

View showing front, with side underground.

I love the prairie dogs.

I love the prairie dogs.

Who'd have thought it?

Who’d have thought it?

It's a two seater - don't think I'd share lol

It’s a two seater – don’t think I’d share lol

The acreage farmed.

The acreage farmed.

Prairie dogs have big butts.

Prairie dogs have big butts.

Hey, I resemble that remark!

Hey, I resemble that remark!

The chicken coop - and chickens came running.

The chicken coop – and chickens came running.

I'm guessing it must have been time to eat soon.

I’m guessing it must have been time to eat soon.

Inside the coop - these aren't real.

Inside the coop – these aren’t real.

The chickens that were still coming.

The chickens that were still coming.

Colorful and, I guess, hungry.

Colorful and, I guess, hungry.

Pretty friendly, also.

Pretty friendly, also.

Car in the barn.

Car in the barn.

Close-up of the cute placard.

Close-up of the cute placard.

Where there's a will, there's a way.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

I think they thought I'd have food, also - all headed straight to me.

I think they thought I’d have food, also – all headed straight to me.

Back to the Badlands.

Back to the Badlands.

Flowers do grow here.

Flowers do grow here.

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands Wall Info

The Badlands Wall Info

The Badlands

The Badlands

Me at The Badlands

Me at The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

The Badlands

Sun setting

Sun setting

That back porch was the drop for their smart car, raised to use as a deck now.

That back porch was the drop for their smart car, raised to use as a deck now.

My rig - looking into the Badlands.

My rig – looking into the Badlands.

Looking west into the sunset.

Looking west into the sunset.

Looking west into the sunset.

Looking west into the sunset.

Morning and flowers are blooming.

Morning and flowers are blooming.

And this bird is LOUDLY singing.

And this bird is LOUDLY singing.

Birds of the Badlands.

Birds of the Badlands.

Birds discovered this faucet drips.

Birds discovered this faucet drips.

And makes a good bird bath

And makes a good bird bath

I'm so pretty ... oh so pretty.

I’m so pretty … oh so pretty.

Another view of my rig - shortly before leaving.

Another view of my rig – shortly before leaving.

It was an awesome afternoon, evening and morning in The Badlands. I know everyone doesn’t like the landscape – it completely amazes me – I love it.

A Lazy Day

South Dakota 1 Comment »

9/8/2014, Keystone, SD

I started out the day today with a to-do list which I totally ignored. That might explain why I don’t make those lists. I did get a few things accomplished, but mainly was lazy. Lazed about inside, lazed about outside. I did decide to go looking for some of the birds I’ve been seeing lately. The ones I went looking for (woodpeckers, mountain bluebirds, blue jays, to mention just a few) pretty much didn’t want their pictures taken. But it wasn’t a total waste.

Peaches says any time she can roll in the grass and prance in the creek is good.

Peaches says any time she can roll in the grass and prance in the creek is good.

This was supposed to be a frog - he dove.  But I tried.

This was supposed to be a frog – he dove. But I tried.

I actually saw a few frogs swimming in the creek. But every time I grabbed the camera they must have seen me and dove under. I guess I’m scary!

These flowers were on the rocks along the creek.

These flowers were on the rocks along the creek.

Dragon flies don't like to hold still.

Dragon flies don’t like to hold still.

OK, finally a bird.

OK, finally a bird.

Not the ones I was looking for, but pretty and I'll take any of them!

Not the ones I was looking for, but pretty and I’ll take any of them!

Looking up at my site - and my neighbors'.

Looking up at my site – and my neighbors’.

I'm so pretty, oh so pretty!

I’m so pretty, oh so pretty!

I made a point to go outside tonight to look at the last of three months of Super Moons this summer. I’m not good at night pictures, but following are a few I took tonight.

Supermoon 2014

Supermoon 2014

Supermoon 2014

Supermoon 2014

Supermoon 2014

Supermoon 2014

Supermoon 2014

Supermoon 2014

I did get a couple things accomplished today – but hey, we all deserve to just relax sometimes, right? And I did make a batch of my “healthy” cookies. Highly recommend them:

Sinless Cookies

2 ripe bananas
1 cup quick oats
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
heaping Tablespoon Peanut Butter (I use a little extra)

Mix all ingredients together (I mix all but the chocolate chips, then add them in after the rest is well mixed.)
Plop onto a cookie sheet, then flatten.
Bake @ 350 degrees for 15 minutes

A friend has made them using raisins instead of the chocolate chips – and those were good also.

Custer State Park – Again

South Dakota 2 Comments »

8/25/2014 – Peaches and I revisit Custer State Park. Yep, one of my favorite places! I’m late in posting this – but this will be my last total circle of the park before leaving the area, most likely. And what a wonderful day it was.

(I, again, forgot to resize the pictures for on the page – so they are not centered and you need to click on them to see the entire image, in most cases!)

Viewpoint on Iron Mountain Rd.

Viewpoint on Iron Mountain Rd.

Same viewpoint also looks toward Mt. Rushmore.

Same viewpoint also looks toward Mt. Rushmore.

The donkeys tried to get Peaches to feed them!

The donkeys tried to get Peaches to feed them!

She would have preferred they keep their distance.

She would have preferred they keep their distance.

Peaches and I took a couple short hikes.

Peaches and I took a couple short hikes.

This was one of them.

This was one of them.

Peaches was happy!

Peaches was happy!

Heading back.

Heading back.

Peaches liked this feather.

Peaches liked this feather.

100_6798 (Custom)

100_6799 (Custom)

Namesake for the Hole in the Wall Picnic Area

Namesake for the Hole in the Wall Picnic Area

Cathedral Spires on Needles Highway

Cathedral Spires on Needles Highway

As usual, pictures speak a million (ok, a thousand) words. I cut through a corner of the park this past week again – but doubt I’ll even do that again in the next few days. So much I need to get done before I leave – amazing how fast the summer goes!

1880 Train

South Dakota 3 Comments »

8/11/2014 – A Ride on the 1880 Train between Keystone and Hill City

Ah, changed some settings on my blog and noticed after publishing this that all pictures are posting at a larger size than I intended – therefore some are being cut off – so to see the full image (expecially on the info ones) please click on the image for the full view. Sorry!

Tom Pedersen, a friend from high school days, was able to come visit for a few days. Unfortunately, I had to work most of them – it was the middle of our busiest time (Sturgis) so he mainly had to fend for himself. But he stayed until I had a day off and we took advantage of it to the the round trip 1880 Train ride.

It's on the National Register of Historic Places

It’s on the National Register of Historic Places

Looking down the tracks.

Looking down the tracks.

Here she comes!

Here she comes!

Engine car disconnects and passes us to get water.

Engine car disconnects and passes us to get water.

We select an open air car.

We select an open air car.

Inside our car.

Inside our car.

Tom watching the engine car coming back past us to re-hook.

Tom watching the engine car coming back past us to re-hook.

On our way and Tom's watching the scenery.

On our way and Tom’s watching the scenery.

Collecting our tickets - we had the BEST workers on our trip out!

Collecting our tickets – we had the BEST workers on our trip out!

Nice location for a farm, eh?

Nice location for a farm, eh?

Just a beautiful day.

Just a beautiful day.

Entering Hill City - part of the museum.

Entering Hill City – part of the museum.

The State RR Museum

The State RR Museum

I was afraid Tom wouldn't be coming back with me!

I was afraid Tom wouldn’t be coming back with me!

We had lunch at the famous Alpine Inn (where I had dinner with Robbie and Bobbie when they were in town). Unlike the limited dinner menu, they have a wide variety of German foods for lunch. We filled up (sorry, pics were blurry) and headed on out to explore more of Hill City.

Tyrannosaurus Rex Info

Tyrannosaurus Rex Info

Tom demonstrating Rex's size.

Tom demonstrating Rex’s size.

Tom, who I was sure would visit the RR Museum, elected to visit this one instead.

Tom, who I was sure would visit the RR Museum, elected to visit this one instead.

While Tom visited the museum, I headed to the clinic and made a doctor’s appt for a routine check-up – then wandered on my own.

Hill City 1880 Train Station

Hill City 1880 Train Station

Water Tank Info

Water Tank Info

The Chicago girl in me comes out - had to take a picture of this car.

The Chicago girl in me comes out – had to take a picture of this car.

Steam Locomotive Info

Steam Locomotive Info

Demonstration of one of the major uses of this train "in the day".

Demonstration of one of the major uses of this train “in the day”.

Hill City Depot Info

Hill City Depot Info

The route was also a telegraph route -  remember Morse code?

The route was also a telegraph route – remember Morse code?

Signals - the 1880 train today relies on hand signals.

Signals – the 1880 train today relies on hand signals.

Tom and I caught back up at the station for the return ride.

The 1880 Train coming into the Hill City Station

The 1880 Train coming into the Hill City Station

Passing the train maintenance shop.

Passing the train maintenance shop.

Rounding a curve, yes hands are to stay IN the train!

Rounding a curve, yes hands are to stay IN the train!

Someones get away location.

Someones get away location.

Harney Peak in the background.

Harney Peak in the background.

Harney Peak (the one you couldn’t remember the name of, Liz) is distinguished in it’s own right – it is the highest natural point and summit in SD and the Black Hills, but there’s more. It’s the highest peak east of the Rockies in the US. At 7,242 feet I also read somewhere that it’s the highest point from the Rockies to the Alps!

We passed old telegraph poles - and I bet Tom remembers what this building was for?

We passed old telegraph poles – and I bet Tom remembers what this building was for?

A spur to, most likely, one of the old mines.

A spur to, most likely, one of the old mines.

I can certainly see why people settled here - past and present.

I can certainly see why people settled here – past and present.

Scenery

Scenery

This car was racing from crossing to crossing to take pictures of the train.

This car was racing from crossing to crossing to take pictures of the train.

A fun summer slide in a yard.

A fun summer slide in a yard.

Time to let of steam - from the side.

Time to let of steam – from the side.

Time to let of steam - from the side.

Time to let of steam – from the side.

Lafferty Gulch road which led to the Dan Patch Mine

Lafferty Gulch road which led to the Dan Patch Mine

Lafferty Gulch road which led to the Dan Patch Mine

Lafferty Gulch road which led to the Dan Patch Mine

Heading into the station in Keystone.

Heading into the station in Keystone.

The engine car again disconnects and heads up to refill it's water

The engine car again disconnects and heads up to refill it’s water

Engine car connecting to water tower

Engine car connecting to water tower

Engine car connecting to water tower

Engine car connecting to water tower

Connected and Filling

Connected and Filling

I’m so glad Tom was able to stay for one of my days off and we could take the train adventure. The Black Hills are an awesome place to visit – and I think Tom would like to work on the train!

Devils Tower Day Trip

South Dakota 2 Comments »

7/21/2014 – A Day Trip to Devils Tower (and more) with Chris

Devils Tower

Devils Tower

Chris and I talked at work on Saturday and decided to take this trip. Then I checked the weather and it looked like possible thunderstorms all day – told her we’d play it by ear. By Sunday night, the storms were all vanished from the weather reports and other than hot, the day was a go. Peaches, unfortunately, couldn’t come with – as she’s not allowed on the trails at Devils Tower and it would be way too hot to wait in the car (would reach and exceed 90 degrees).

After looking for bighorn sheep unsuccessfully and filling the tank with gas, our first stop was Pactola Lake. I just love this man-made lake run by the NFS. One day I need to check out the cg’s (two) for possible stays another time.

Pactola Lake

Pactola Lake

Baltimore/Bullocks Oriole Hybrid?

Baltimore/Bullocks Oriole Hybrid?

I’m not sure on that bird – and he turned as I took the picture. I think it’s a mix – as they interbreed here and that’s not uncommon.

Off through Deadwood and on to Devils Tower where I promise you’ll see pictures of Devils Tower from every angle, lol …

Devils Tower in the distance.

Devils Tower in the distance.

Devils Tower in the distance.

Devils Tower in the distance.

Wyoming rock along the road at this viewpoint.

Wyoming rock along the road at this viewpoint.

Wyoming rock along the road at this viewpoint.

Wyoming rock along the road at this viewpoint.

Just before entering Devil’s Tower, we stopped for lunch – a family owned restaurant. Good food, excellent ice cream. No pictures!

Devils Tower Origins

Devils Tower Origins

Kiowa Legend of Devils Tower

Kiowa Legend of Devils Tower

Devils Tower - the 1st National Monument

Devils Tower – the 1st National Monument

Devils Tower is considered sacred by many.

Devils Tower is considered sacred by many.

There is another sign asking people to please respect the Indian prayer cloths that will be seen throughout the Monument.

Fallen Rocks

Fallen Rocks

Devils Tower

Devils Tower

Chris in front of Devils Tower

Chris in front of Devils Tower

Me in front of Devils Tower

Me in front of Devils Tower

Devils Tower

Devils Tower

100_6383 (Custom)

Beautiful view looking away from Devils Tower to the rolling farmlands.

Beautiful view looking away from Devils Tower to the rolling farmlands.

Devils Tower

Devils Tower

Another Devils Tower legend.

Another Devils Tower legend.

Looking away again.

Looking away again.

Chris taking a picture of Devils Tower

Chris taking a picture of Devils Tower

Indian Prayer cloths are found through the area.

Indian Prayer cloths are found through the area.

Indian Prayer Cloths

Indian Prayer Cloths

Devils Tower

Devils Tower

Look closely - do you see any people?

Look closely – do you see any people?

How about now?

How about now?

Devils Tower is climbed by many every summer – with the exception of June when it is closed to climbing due to Indian rituals and beliefs. On this day, in this heat, we only saw these two climbers. While I followed the 2nd climber up this entire section in pictues., you are lucky I’ll only post a couple of them.

Climbing on Devils Tower

Climbing on Devils Tower

Climbing on Devils Tower

Climbing on Devils Tower

Climbing on Devils Tower

Climbing on Devils Tower

Success to the next ledge.

Success to the next ledge.

I have utmost respect for the climbers. No, I will not follow them here or anywhere else I can think of!

Looking away from the tower once again.

Looking away from the tower once again.

Prayer cloth on burned tree.

Prayer cloth on burned tree.

River running through the valley.

River running through the valley.

Another Devils Tower view.

Another Devils Tower view.

I wonder if there are bats in the cave?

I wonder if there are bats in the cave?

Closer cave look.

Closer cave look.

All Cracked Up

All Cracked Up

A fallen column

A fallen column

Fallen Column - none have fallen in the history of the national monument!

Fallen Column – none have fallen in the history of the national monument!

Part of the path around the Tower.

Part of the path around the Tower.

One of the areas the climbers can use to access Devils Tower.

One of the areas the climbers can use to access Devils Tower.

Devils Tower

Devils Tower

Chris relaxing a moment.

Chris relaxing a moment.

Indian Prayer Cloth

Indian Prayer Cloth

Info on the top of the Tower.

Info on the top of the Tower.

Devils Tower

Devils Tower

Devils Tower

Devils Tower

Collapsing Tower?

Collapsing Tower?

It might be difficult to read the above, but it ascertains what I said in another picture heading – that no columns have fallen since 1906!

On the way out we stopped to look at the prairie dogs.

Prairie Dog

Prairie Dog

Prairie Dog

Prairie Dog

Both on the way to Devils Tower, then when I passed on the way, on the return, I intended to stop at the Vore Buffalo Jump. Missed the exit on the return also! Ah, well – we had so much to see and do – and decided to take the scenic drive through Spearfish Canyon – so very worth it. Spearfish Canyon is way older than the Grand Canyon! It’s believed to be 62 million years of age – which is 12 times older than the Grand Canyon! Amazing, eh? It’s absolutely gorgeous and this will be my second trip here this summer.

Bridal Veil Falls - Spearfish Canyon

Bridal Veil Falls – Spearfish Canyon

Our 2nd stop was to be the Spearfish Falls – but the path to it was closed. No reason given, just blocked and locked! So we headed over to Roughlock Falls – which is a gorgeous area and I discovered I had missed part of the falls the first time. Wow, what a miss! Never listen to others who tell you the rest of the trail is heading just to the trailhead. Roughlock Falls is an area to come back with a picnic lunch and simply enjoy the water, the birds, the beauty – and they keep it beautiful in many ways … such as …

I’m so glad I made it back to Devils Tower – loved it my first time, love it just as much now – and will again next time.

Awesome picnic tables at Roughlock Falls

Awesome picnic tables at Roughlock Falls

Roughlock Falls Area

Roughlock Falls Area

Roughlock Falls

Roughlock Falls

Roughlock Falls

Roughlock Falls

Roughlock Falls

Roughlock Falls

Water Speedwell

Water Speedwell

These were like small islands in the water of these very pretty blue flowers.

Water Speedwell

Water Speedwell

Chris taking pictures of Roughlock Falls

Chris taking pictures of Roughlock Falls

"Study nature, love nature,.stay close to nature. It will never fail you."  ~Frank Lloyd Wright

“Study nature, love nature,.stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” ~Frank Lloyd Wright

Flowers along the path.

Flowers along the path.

After Roughlock Falls, we stopped by a dam I wanted to check out after my last trip.

Dam along the road.

Dam along the road.

From like a mirror, to crazy wild!

From like a mirror, to crazy wild!

Used to open close it?

Used to open close it?

Path to water blocked.

Path to water blocked.

Images in the water.

Images in the water.

Trying to get the mountain and mirror image.

Trying to get the mountain and mirror image.

Sun was moving - but here is the mountain.

Sun was moving – but here is the mountain.

And the mirror image in the water.

And the mirror image in the water.

Then we headed back – the day was getting late, darkness would be coming about when we arrived home.

Time to ignore the gps.

Time to ignore the gps.

Back through Deadwood

Back through Deadwood

Not sure why these trees are dead?

Not sure why these trees are dead?

Like the clouds

Like the clouds

Notice the cloud that looks like it's own Devils Tower?

Notice the cloud that looks like it’s own Devils Tower?

We got some rain and hail on the way back.

We got some rain and hail on the way back.

It was another awesome day in the Black Hills. There is so very much to do in this area, and I feel I’m barely scratching the surface! I arrived home to a dog who wanted attention and lots of it. She knows the difference of me going to work and going out and about. She wants to come with on the out-and-about trips, but it wasn’t to be for this one. She got to suffer in the air conditioning – poor girl. And I’m home with her today – she’s good as gold. She’s such a good girl.

Liz Visiting – Day Two

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7/17/2014

Today Liz and I had the tickets we purchased the previous day for the Brule show at night. We played our other doingsfor the day by ear – deciding more based on the weather if we should hike or kayak. Since the heat predicted wasn’t happening, and there was some cloud cover, we decided on a hike.

We reached and parked at the trailhead for the Cathedral Spires trail and saw this:

Climbing a spire at the trailhead.

Climbing a spire at the trailhead.

Young man in SHORTS?

Young man in SHORTS?

100_6146 (Custom)

Reaching the top.

Reaching the top.

Success

Success

He was very happy with his success.

He was very happy with his success.

Time for us to start our hike.

Time for us to start our hike.

The Cathedral Spires trail is rated as strenuous. I’ve wanted to do this trail, but while I’ll do the easy and moderate on my own, feel like I’m better off having a traveling mate when I do one with this rating.

Thistle, Liz and Peaches leading the way.

Thistle, Liz and Peaches leading the way.

The views the entire day were awe-inspiring.

Thistle and Peaches ignore each other, but really do like each other.

Thistle and Peaches ignore each other, but really do like each other.

Up and over rocks.

Up and over rocks.

Most of the trail wasn’t too bad. Lots of high steps (my thigh muscles are still feeling some of those) – and places where I’d put a hand down even when using the walking stick, but overall, not as bad as I was expecting. That said, there was a point when if I hadn’t had a hiking companion, I probably would have turned back. I’m always glad to do things with Liz, doubly glad on this occasion!

Close to the end of the trail.

Close to the end of the trail.

The arrow pointed this way!

The arrow pointed this way!

We all went in and looked and while Liz and I were trying to figure out how to get over that slippery tall rock, Peaches decided to try to jump on it and over. She didn’t make it and slid down – luckily unhurt! At that point we knew we had to look for an alternative.

Luckily there was a path around.

Luckily there was a path around.

Before we got to that trail around, a couple came from one side and told us about it. But I have confidence Liz and I would have found it.

We end up in a field surrounded by the spires.

We end up in a field surrounded by the spires.

Spires were all around us. Because we had had some elevation gain and we amid them, instead of them feeling as tall and towering to me as previously, they seemed a bit shorter. Hard to explain. But magnificent.

Peaches liked the field.

Peaches liked the field.

Peaches enjoyed the hike tremendously.

Peaches enjoyed the hike tremendously.

See the rock balanced in the spires?

See the rock balanced in the spires?

Heading back down.

Heading back down.

Beauty is everywhere around us.

Beauty is everywhere around us.

Can you see anything on that distant spire?

Can you see anything on that distant spire?

How about now?

How about now?

Goats are so agile.

Goats are so agile.

How handsome he is!

How handsome he is!

Another balanced rock.

Another balanced rock.

Thistle in bloom.

Thistle in bloom.

Peaches and Thistle were thrilled with this creek we traversed both directions.

Peaches and Thistle were thrilled with this creek we traversed both directions.

Bad bird picture!

Bad bird picture!

I love the images I see in some formations.

I love the images I see in some formations.

Gentle flower in bloom.

Gentle flower in bloom.

Cathedral Spires is a Registered Natural Landmark within Custer State Park.

Cathedral Spires is a Registered Natural Landmark within Custer State Park.

We headed further into Custer State Park in search of a place to purchase and have a picnic lunch. We had elected the place we intended to head to, but learned that an accident had the road that way blocked. We lucked out – in that two of the lodges (including the one we intended to go to) are always very, very busy. For some reason, the one we stopped at was less so – tranquil, few people – perfect for us.

Goose family at the same lake we choose to picnic near.

Goose family at the same lake we choose to picnic near.

Obviously perfect for the geese, too!

Legion Lake Resort

Legion Lake Resort

Legion Lake Resort

Legion Lake Resort

I think this blackbird hoped we'd feed him - he stayed close.

I think this blackbird hoped we’d feed him – he stayed close.

We not only purchased an excellent lunch to eat outside looking over the lake, but I purchased a new walking stick. I used Liz’s 2nd one on this trip, and know it’s time for me to replace my one that broke. Then our lunch – then time for a drive.

We drove out of the park and through part of the town of Custer. Then we drove past …

We drove past Crazy Horse.

We drove past Crazy Horse.

Both of us have been there before. Both of us agree that since our last visits (10 and approximately 15 years previous) there is no obvious change in the monument. No need to go in. A comment was made to me that they don’t want to finish the monument – they make more money this way. I’d simply like to see SOME change. And I don’t buy their claim of not enough funds because they don’t take government money. They have collected millions over the years. Just sayin’.

We headed back for a bit to Liz’s rig. I had brought food to fix for our dinner, but neither of us were hungry – so, we just relaxed (the dogs passed out lol) and had some time to chat together until we left for Hill City and the Brule Show.

Indian decorated bison statue on the Brule concert grounds.

Indian decorated bison statue on the Brule concert grounds.

Fire oven for the cooking of pizzas.

Fire oven for the cooking of pizzas.

Yes, that means that we had to have pizza!

Oops, we've been eating already!

Oops, we’ve been eating already!

We had purchased bleacher seating (the furthest back) on the recommendation of the person we purchased from. He’s correct that it’s a small venue and not a bad seat. Just in front of the bleachers were some picnic tables for those in bleacher seating – and we elected to sit at one – closest to the sound man and center of the stage. Excellent view and sound.

Brule is an experience – not just the music. The band plays some traditional and some slightly not as traditional Native American music. The dancers are more traditional. Each song is explained, as to what it is about and what the dancers are about in that song.

Brule

Brule

Both percussionists and flutist.

Both percussionists and flutist.

Brule founder

Brule founder

Guitarist

Guitarist

Brule with two of the dancers.

Brule with two of the dancers.

Dancer

Dancer

One song is dedicated to our soldiers and “wounded warriers”. There were two dancers – the Wounded Warrier and the Eagle Dancer. It was wonderful.

Eagle Dancer

Eagle Dancer

Wounded Warrier

Wounded Warrier

Wounded Warrier

Wounded Warrier

Eagle and Wounded Warrier

Eagle and Wounded Warrier

Buffalo

Buffalo

The founder of Brule was adopted at birth and raised in a white family in Minnesota. He only became part of his Indian family as an adult and formed Brule to share the music and to try to bring more understanding between the groups.

I took a few short videos, but haven’t gone through them. When I do, I will possibly add a link to one or two to this post. I loved seeing Brule and may possibly return before the summer’s end.

What a wonderful two days with Liz. I’m still exhausted lol. Good thing my working 7 days in a row to have those 2 days off came before these days – as now I only have to work 3 days, then have 2 off to catch my breath. I do know that I also tested Liz – as I kept her up past her bedtime both nights!

For any of you who haven’t come to this area – I’ve only touched on some of the things here to do and see … it’s so beautiful and there’s so much here. Our country has so very much to see and I doubt I’ll ever get to see it all! But I’m going to keep trying!

Liz Visiting – Day One

South Dakota 3 Comments »

Wednesday, 7/16/2014 – Liz visits and we become tourists.

Liz arrived to her campsite (Horsethief – an NFS campground just about 2 miles the opposite side of Mt. Rushmore as I’m that distance the other direction) on Tuesday. I had to work, but she stopped in the store and visited, as well as did a load of laundry and we made arrangements for Liz and Thistle to come to my rv on Wed morning. We started our day walking to the tram. A warning – today’s going to be very much about Mt. Rushmore – with side visits and fun thrown in.

Heading to the Rushmore Tram

Heading to the Rushmore Tram

We're on the tram going up, left are the slides.

We’re on the tram going up, left are the slides.

Someone's coming down the slides.

Someone’s coming down the slides.

We can see Mt. Rushmore.

We can see Mt. Rushmore.

Reaching the top.

Reaching the top.

Who'd of thought I'd be asked to join these great men?

Who’d of thought I’d be asked to join these great men?

Liz was invited, also.

Liz was invited, also.

Very pretty up here.

Very pretty up here.

We purchased grilled hamburgers and sat viewing Mt. Rushmore.

We purchased grilled hamburgers and sat viewing Mt. Rushmore.

Looking down over Keystone.

Looking down over Keystone.

Can you find my rig?

Can you find my rig?

Liz picked it out from up here quickly by the color.

There I am, 2nd from the right.

There I am, 2nd from the right.

We elected to take the slide, rather than the tram, down.

We elected to take the slide, rather than the tram, down.

Liz in line for the left slide.

Liz in line for the left slide.

Here's why the left!

Here’s why the left!

The line for the left was quite a bit longer than the one for the right.

And off Liz goes.

And off Liz goes.

I paused enough to get a quick pic headed down - my feet barely showing.

I paused enough to get a quick pic headed down – my feet barely showing.

You have total control of your speed. I will admit, I may do this again, and try going a bit faster. Liz was ahead of me – so while I have a shot of her taking off – I believe she has one of me coming in. I’ll add that later after she blogs and I “steal” it.

Liz and I walked over to see the baby cliff swallows.

Liz and I walked over to see the baby cliff swallows.

We all know about Liz’s picture talent – I’m sure she has some close-ups of these cuties.

We headed into Keystone with intentions of going to the museum, then heading for the historic walking tour of Old Keystone.

Liz holds Abraham Lincoln's hand.

Liz holds Abraham Lincoln’s hand.

This statue is a replica of the seated Lincoln statue done by Borglum (the artist of Mt. Rushmore) that resides in Newark, NJ.

I moved in a little closer.

I moved in a little closer.

This replica sits outside the entrance to the Rushmore Borglum Museum in Keystone.

Gutzom Borglum Info

Gutzom Borglum Info

Rushmore Borglum Museum we tour.

Rushmore Borglum Museum we tour.

The tour was very, very interesting. Learned a lot. Pictures were not allowed. But well worth the tour and movie they show to get a history before going to Mt. Rushmore (or between trips like me, haha).

Pictures weren't allowed, but I snuck this one - a replica of the eye of Lincoln on the memorial.

Pictures weren’t allowed, but I snuck this one – a replica of the eye of Lincoln on the memorial.

Seeing the eye of Lincoln replica, it’s even harder for me to imagine the detail work Borglum had to create to get the look of real faces – in the proportions that the monument is. I’m totally amazed.

After the museum, we walked through “new” Keystone.

Walking through Keystone, I love this - she shakes and quivers if you touch her or the tray.

Walking through Keystone, I love this – she shakes and quivers if you touch her or the tray.

Gotta love it.

Gotta love it.

We didn’t make it to the old section and that walking tour, but decided to get the dogs and head to Hill City for a bit. On the way back to get the pups and a car …

Liz in the big chair.

Liz in the big chair.

Liz leaned back - I sat prim and proper lol

Liz leaned back – I sat prim and proper lol

What's a blog post without a bird pics?

What’s a blog post without a bird pics?

We took the scenic “Old City Road” that pretty much follows the 1880 train (which runs between Hill City and Keystone) – and crossed the tracks lots of time. I keep saying I’m going to count, but always lose track. We walk around Hill City a bit.

Sculpture in Hill City

Sculpture in Hill City

Sculpture in Hill City

Sculpture in Hill City

Liz rides a chain saw bull.

Liz rides a chain saw bull.

We purchased tickets for Brule.

We purchased tickets for Brule.

I’ll be keeping Liz up late two nights in a row! Tonight the lighting of Mt. Rushmore, tomorrow – Brule!

Hill City Bison Sculpture

Hill City Bison Sculpture

Harney Peak

Harney Peak

Harney Peak

Harney Peak

We head back to my rig where Liz and Thistle leave for home – we have a short break – then I’ll come pick Liz up to head to Mt. Rushmore. I told her where to watch for goats on the ride. When I headed to pick her up – I saw both antelope and goats on the road. Liz hustled out the door – we didn’t find the antelope, saw one mule deer, though – then, yep, the goats were still there. Two Mamas with one baby each.

Baby Goat

Baby Goat

A Mama and Baby Goat

A Mama and Baby Goat

Time to visit Mt. Rushmore – see it during daylight hours, walk the trail around (which I’d never done) and then wait for dusk and the lighting ceremony (also a first for me, too.)

Mt. Rushmore and the hall of flags.

Mt. Rushmore and the hall of flags.

Teepees along the trail.

I loved walking the trail and seeing the Presidents from the different angles.

Different views of the presidents.

Different views of the presidents.

Washington through a rock formation.

Washington through a rock formation.

Different views of the presidents.

Different views of the presidents.

Different views of the presidents.

Different views of the presidents.

Different views of the presidents.

Different views of the presidents.

Different views of the presidents.

The amphitheater will be in for the lighting ceremony.

The amphitheater will be in for the lighting ceremony.

At one point of the trail, you reach Borglum’s studio. It had closed shortly before this for the day. I’ll probably go back to see it better inside. The doors were open and I could see the working replica for what we see today – much more detail on it. I have to wonder if the detail – mainly in clothes, would have been finished had Borglum not died. No matter – it’s awesome just as it is. I believe Liz took some pictures through the open door – check out her blog when she gets it updated.

Chronology of building Mt. Rushmore.

Chronology of building Mt. Rushmore.

Borglum's thoughts and Coolidge's dedication.

Borglum’s thoughts and Coolidge’s dedication.

Mt. Rushmore

Mt. Rushmore

Time for ice cream before the lighting ceremony? Of course.

Time for ice cream before the lighting ceremony? Of course.

We enjoyed our ice cream in the amphitheater waiting for the lighting ceremony. The ceremony started and is much, much more than just the lighting. The solemnity of the single man on stage giving his speech/information – to this packed house of hundreds of people, where you could hear a pin drop as everyone, adults and children were silent listening – made it’s impact.

The crowd, the mountain, the speaker.

The crowd, the mountain, the speaker.

Along with the speech, we were shown a movie depicting information on the Presidents chosen to be in the Memorial. Quotes from some of them sent chills down my spine. Towards the end America the Beautiful was playing and I was crying. That was followed by us being asked to rise to sing our National Anthem – during which the monument started to light up.

Lights come on very gradually.

Lights come on very gradually.

Looks like some colored lights must be in there?

Looks like some colored lights must be in there?

This was followed by …

All veterans invlted on stage.

All veterans invlted on stage.

Some of them lower the flag.

Some of them lower the flag.

Folding of the flag.

Folding of the flag.

Folding of the flag.

Folding of the flag.

Each member of our armed forces was asked to give their name and branch of service.

Mt. Rushmore aglow.

Mt. Rushmore aglow.

I didn’t know what to expect of the lighting ceremony. It was so much more than I had envisioned and so very worthwhile (yes, as mentioned, it brought me to tears). I’m so glad that we went and there’s a good chance I’ll do so again before I leave here in September.

I drove Liz back to her cg – where she got home long after she’s normally sleeping – and headed back to my rig – where I walked Peaches, and said my “goodnight” to the “heads” as normal. By the time we finished our walk, the lights on Mt. Rushmore were off.

It was a wonderful day with Liz – and there’s another to come …

Horsethief Lake

South Dakota 2 Comments »

7/8/2014 – Horsethief Lake and a treat

Peaches and I sometimes take a drive to go for hikes – and have done so a few times to the day use area of Horsethief Lake. Today we walked on into the cg – as Liz will be staying there next week and I decided to check out her campsite.

On the trail along Horsethief Lake

On the trail along Horsethief Lake

Fishing platforms

Fishing platforms

As usual Peaches leads the way.

As usual Peaches leads the way.

Horsethief Lake

Horsethief Lake

I see lots of blackbirds up here – quickly recognizing the red-winged, then I discovered I could sometimes pick out the tri-color – today I also believe I picked out an immature yellow-headed – but I’m no expert.

I believe this is an immature Yellow-headed Blackbird

I believe this is an immature Yellow-headed Blackbird

My friend Liz is visiting next week and reserved a site at the cg here (Horsethief Lake is a NFS campground, also). So today, Peaches and I ignored the sign to the cg from the day use area that said for people staying in the cg only – and went to check it out and find Liz’s site.

Liz's site next week

Liz’s site next week

All reservations are on the poles.

All reservations are on the poles.

Yes, Liz, you actually are listed twice since you added a night. I took a picture of both your listings – but figured one was enough here. Walking down the road from your site Peaches and I discovered a narrow trail that leads …

Peaches says, Liz this would be the closest place you could walk your kayak to.

Peaches says, Liz this would be the closest place you could walk your kayak to.

Black bird - think a tricolored - could be red-winged, though.

Black bird – think a tricolored – could be red-winged, though.

Peaches liked that we walked through the cg - not just the day use area.

Peaches liked that we walked through the cg – not just the day use area.

Only a few sites are on the water.

Only a few sites are on the water.

Looking across the lake.

Looking across the lake.

Keystone is about 2 miles on one side of Mt. Rushmore. Horsethief Lake is about the same distance on the other. Leaving Horsethief Lake – before getting to Mt. Rushmore’s entrance, there was a traffic jam …

Goats in the road!

Goats in the road!

Baby goat, too - and people were getting too close.

Baby goat, too – and people were getting too close.

Luckily one of the cars stopped was a ranger. She had to get out at one point to stop people from getting too close.

Goats crossing.

Goats crossing.

Here comes another

Here comes another

Unfortunately, some people ignored her – until …

People got too close again and this young one turned and ran back the other way.

People got too close again and this young one turned and ran back the other way.

The ranger told me the young one that ran back would be okay – but it would have been happier to stay with the others. Hopefully it would come back and get across to them later.

What a great afternoon.

Keystone

South Dakota 1 Comment »

OK, I’ve been here a couple months now – taking pictures off and on – so here are some of them:

My site for the season

My site for the season

Where I'm working.

Where I’m working.

Then, just a tad down the way is Dahl’s Chainsaw Carvings. They are so good. Turns out they are two brothers originally from MN who went to Alaska to learn their craft. They learned it in Seldovia, an island off Homer which I visited on my original Alaska trip in 2009! They were surprised when I asked if they trained there. I’d love to have several of their pieces. But so far I’ve only purchased one – sent it to my sister in WI – will have to visit occasionally. Following are some pictures of their work – more will be further down in the post.

100_4756a (Custom)

100_4757 (Custom)

100_4759a (Custom)

100_4760a (Custom)

100_4761 (Custom)

Looking down the street of "new" Keystone

Looking down the street of “new” Keystone

Teddy's Deli has great sandwiches and homemade potato chips

Teddy’s Deli has great sandwiches and homemade potato chips

Chain saw carvings are in or near most businesses.

Chain saw carvings are in or near most businesses.

We have one of the Dahl’s bears in the store – holding some of their brochures.

Keystone has a complimentary rv dump.

Keystone has a complimentary rv dump.

Another look at "new" Keystone

Another look at “new” Keystone

New Keystone is what most people spend time in. Old Keystone is around the corner – and I’ve been there, also – will save it for another post.

Another business

Another business

At the creek in front of a business.

At the creek in front of a business.

At the creek in front of a business.

At the creek in front of a business.

Yep, this is the way to the old cemetery.

Yep, this is the way to the old cemetery.

Peaches leads the way.

Peaches leads the way.

Mountain View Cemetery

Mountain View Cemetery

Mountain View Cemetery info

Mountain View Cemetery info

Stones within stones as grave markers

Stones within stones as grave markers

Mt Rushmore from the cemetery - it was a hazy day!

Mt Rushmore from the cemetery – it was a hazy day!

I didn’t take pictures of the bridge on the way in – or should I say the missing bridge. So I turned around and took them when leaving.

The bridge was out on cemetery road.

The bridge was out on cemetery road.

100_4807 (Custom)

It says road closed, but there was a route around.

It says road closed, but there was a route around.

Notice my use of the word “was”. I’m so used to road construction taking forever – and you saw this bridge was totally GONE. Well, I should take a picture, because it is completely done – road reopened using it – bypass dug back out for the creek. I’m impressed.

Back to the chainsaw work - these were commissioned.

Back to the chainsaw work – these were commissioned.

Pictures he is working from.

Pictures he is working from.

Pictures he is working from.

Pictures he is working from.

Mt Rushmore view from where I'm parked.

Mt Rushmore view from where I’m parked.

I’ve seen some neat birds – like the mountain bluebirds that come around my site. But disappear if I grab my camera!

local birds

local birds

local birds

local birds

mule deer in my yard

mule deer in my yard

mule deer in my yard

mule deer in my yard

right outside my window

right outside my window

Marmots visit, also.

Marmots visit, also.

sometimes the deer come by in groups

sometimes the deer come by in groups

This one is often here by itself.

This one is often here by itself.

The two brothers making similar chainsaw carvings.

The two brothers making similar chainsaw carvings.

An eagle in the making.

An eagle in the making.

Peaches in the creek

Peaches in the creek

local birds

local birds

local bird

local bird

Marmot

Marmot

Marmot

Marmot

local bird

local bird

I have been so enjoying watching the cliff swallows. They rarely want to sit still for me to take pictures – but I have seen how really pretty the males are with the blue on their wings, that glows in the sun. Maybe I’ll get lucky yet – but when they sit still long enough, I’ve never had my camera with. I’ve been watching them at nests on the side of a local motel since I first got here. I rarely have my camera but took it the other day hoping to get pictures of the young. The sun was causing glare (wrong time of day for me to do this) and the babies didn’t stick their heads out for me – but several times I watched mom’s take food in – and caught pics of them.

cliff swallow nests

cliff swallow nests

Cliff swallow at nest.

Cliff swallow at nest.

Cliff swallow at nest.

Cliff swallow at nest.

cliff swallow nests

cliff swallow nests

I’m enjoying Keystone – and this is just a small portion of it … hopefully I’ll take my camera and get pics of old Keystone and more and post on that later.

Custer State Park

South Dakota 2 Comments »

7/3/2014 – Visiting Custer State Park with a friend

OK, I have been to Custer SP several times already, and will be doing another post with lots more pictures – but am so far behind that I decided a quick post tonight of today’s visit is in order. I visited with a woman from a FB solo woman rver’s group I belong to. She was in the area to change her address to SD and sign up with Americas Mailbox (same place I use). We discovered how close we were and she drove out with Savannah (her dog) and then we jumped in my car (Peaches, too) and did a tour to see the wildlife.

Donkeys weren't near the road.

Donkeys weren’t near the road.

Funny, looking at my previous pictures I had already seen donkeys with babies – which I thought I hadn’t… not sure if my memory has always been this bad or if age really is setting in – but Georgia and our dogs had a great day. And the wildlife (after the buffalo had a slow start) cooperated.

As we (and many others) stood there one donkey decided to head over to visit us. Then, a Mom and her young came, also.

Georgia feeding the donkeys

Georgia feeding the donkeys

One of the young.

One of the young.

I asked someone there to take a picture of us with the donkeys. As everyone started to get out of the way (without being asked, btw – and a Mom was having the children move) the woman taking the picture said “All done”…. As you can see, more of the children than the donkey(s) in the picture. All is good. She got us and a donkey!

Georgia and I - and donkey - and other people's kids.

Georgia and I – and donkey – and other people’s kids.

Just grabbed a picture off FB Georgia (thanks, Georgia!) took of me with one of the donkeys:

Me with a young Donkey at Custer SP

Me with a young Donkey at Custer SP

I watched carefully to not pass the prairie dog area – luckily I was watching today.

Prairie dogs were in their field.

Prairie dogs were in their field.

We had seen a field with antelope in the distance early on – same with buffalo. Tuesday I had passed hundreds of buffalo in the early part of the drive. Not today … but then, after I had said that we were going through an area I often saw antelope in – and passed it – there was a sole antelope – who graciously posed for us.

This antelope posed for us.

This antelope posed for us.

Tuesday I missed the donkeys and prairie dogs because so many buffalo were on the road that I didn’t take the intended turn. That was no problem today because the only buffalo we had seen were a ways back in one field, mainly napping. So, I decided after doing much of the wildlife loop to cut back and come back on the road we came out on – we left Custer SP (just barely) and lo and behold … where none had been before …

Finally a few buffalo

Finally a few buffalo

Some were cooling off in the water.

Some were cooling off in the water.

Buffalo crossed the road singly.

Buffalo crossed the road singly.

Sometimes leading the way.

Sometimes leading the way.

I know, I know – I just said leading – which sometimes happened – more often I felt they were telling me to turn around.

Adults and young alike.

Adults and young alike.

A few looked like they thought we were in the way.

A few looked like they thought we were in the way.

Did I say just a few buffalo?

Did I say just a few buffalo?

OK, things then got a tad interesting … First there was a driver in a truck behind me that must not have been thrilled with the buffalo, as he was tailgating me – and I mean sometimes only bare inches between us – when I had buffalo in front and other cars in front of them. It’s not like he could go anywhere. But then things got more interesting … I promise my window was quickly shut lol (and forgive me for some of the pictures out the dirty front window. When I tried to clean it – I discovered I’m out of windshield washer fluid. Oops.

One thought my car was a scratching post.

One thought my car was a scratching post.

At first I thought the buffalo was interested in us – which was a little scary to think about. But after just a moment it was obvious the buffalo had found a way to scratch itself. My mirror was moving in and out, in and out.

I thought the mirror might break off - scratch, scratch, scratch.

I thought the mirror might break off – scratch, scratch, scratch.

Well, hello there - reminds me of a bear experience in Alaska!

Well, hello there – reminds me of a bear experience in Alaska!

I had a little forward area to move and thought the only way to stop this buffalo from scratching it’s itch was to try to inch forward, carefully – and it worked.

Slowly getting to move further.

Slowly getting to move further.

Then, motorcycles coming from both directions worked in tandem – revving – and the buffalo scattered. To be honest, I would have been very uncomfortable to be on a motorcycle with the buffalo I see most trips through here. But it was interesting to see them scatter off the road – although I’m glad it didn’t happen sooner.

We headed back to Keystone … time to eat. Stopped and when I got out of the car, I laughed.

Ok, that dirt is from the scratching buffalo lol

Ok, that dirt is from the scratching buffalo lol

Back in Keystone we selected Whistleberries to eat.

Back in Keystone we selected Whistleberries to eat.

OMG, so much food - excellent food.

OMG, so much food – excellent food.

The food was great, the animals were beautiful and cooperative, and meeting a new friend in person – priceless.