Saturday, May 16, 2015

Cody thru Big Horn, Wyoming to South Dakota

Buffalo Bill Reservoir
Cody and the Wild West . . .
Cody Wyoming was a neat little town. Passing thru we found Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Old Trail Town, Stampede grounds, a couple of nice gun shops we visited and a house atop a hill that would make for a scary gobblin movie backdrop.
World Famous Cody Stampede Grounds

Large and weird house atop a hill
Big Horns . . .
I've never seen such a frightening ride as the Big Horn Mountain Range provides. Straight up and straight down. It was so steep and scary that I forgot all about trying to get any photos. I just held on for dear life and literally prayed.
Big Horn Mountain Range

Beginning the ascent up Big Horn

Top of the World at Big Horn

Grassy fields on top of Big Horn

Overlooking valley below

Red roads abound in Wyoming

Gillette, Wyoming, a much needed generator repair stopover. . .
After spending a night at a Wal-Mart in Gillette, Wyoming we lucked up and found a Cummins dealer in Gillette to adjust the Onan. Seems the altitude was playing a part in it's problems that we've been dealing with since we left the state of Washington. These folks were wonderful. They took care of us within a half hour and they had two weeks of work in the yard waiting on them and they only charged a small fraction.

South Dakota Granite Stone Monuments . . .
A short drive thru Sturgis, SD to see where all the motorcycle action is. Course no action going on here this day, just business as usual. It was a cloudy, rainy day for this small little one motorcycle town.
One Eyed Jacks in Sturgis
The Knuckle Saloon in Sturgis

Crooked Creek Campground in Hill City, SD
Hill City, SD next to Mount Rushmore was our next stopover. Pulling into Crooked Creek Campground, a Good Sams park, was a great idea. Here was another clean campground with very few campers. The place had a rustic look to it and super nice folks operating the camp. Again we managed to get some much needed laundry out of the way in very clean facilities. In between the rains we managed to do a little touring of the National Museum of Woodcarving in Custer and also see the Crazy Horse and Rushmore Monuments.

Woodcarving scene by Dr Niblack
The Woodcarving Museum was rather pricey and misadvertised as showcasing woodcarvings from many different carvers across the country. In actuality it was not really a National Museum, but a museum created to show the work of Dr. Niblack. Wood carvings here use animation. Dr. Niblack was a pioneer in the field, animating his carving scenes before anyone else had the idea. That's why Walt Disney hired him to help create the animation of Disneyland. Niblack started doing this work in 1947, a few years before Disneyland opened. Some of the animated carving scenes are not working, but most are and to see this pioneering work still operate was a real treat.
Woodcarving Museum Character by Dr Niblack

Full size furniture carved by Dr Niblack

Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore was quite a walk from the parking lot up to the top of the viewing platform. It certainly was a beautiful site seeing the sculptures of four Presidents,  (left to right) George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln represented during the first 130 years of the history of the US.  I asked one of the guides why they were not in consecutive order and was told that originally Lincoln was supposed to be to the left of Roosevelt but the sculpture would not fit right. The had to switch Lincoln and Roosevelt around.

Mount Rushmore
Road outside Mt Rushmore

Another view outside Mt Rushmore
Entrance to Crazy Horse Monument
Crazy Horse Memorial was our favorite memorial. You could fit all of Mount Rushmore in Crazy Horse's head alone. This was a huge work that is no where near completion. It is being constructed on privately held land in the Black Hills in South Dakota by a family. Depicting Crazy Horse, an Oglala  Lakota  warrior, riding a horse and pointing into the distance to the "land where his people are buried".  The memorial was commissioned by Henry Standing Bear, a Lakota elder, to be sculpted by Korczak Ziolkowski. Ziolkowski died a few years ago and his family continues his work without any help from the government. It is operated by the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation, a private non-profit organization. The museum is the most extensive collection of American Indian artifacts that I have ever seen. This was much more educational to me than the Mount Rushmore Memorial.
View of Statue Model and Crazy Horse from inside Museum

Me and the Crazy Horse Model

The museum here has the most extensive collection of American Indian artifacts that I have ever seen. This was much more educational to me than the Mount Rushmore Memorial.
Museum interior

Portrait of the Sculptors wife, Mrs. Korczak Ziolkowski

Portrait of Korczak Ziolkowski, the Sculptor
 Such a beautiful area of our country and another place to return to for a slower pace to explore.

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