Thursday, October 7, 2010

South Dakota

Aside from listening to the last two innings of Roy Halladay’s no-hitter live on the radio, the drive to South Dakota from Colorado was as boring as you might imagine it was. I found the campground that my friend from Rocky told me to go to, and wow, had he undersold it. From my tent, I saw three bison and two dozen deer, and heard elk, coyotes and mountain lions. The stars were more incredible than I have seen on this trip so far. They were so bright that you couldn’t make out any constellations after about nine o’clock because all of the other stars were just as bright. The Milky Way looked like a solid white ribbon in the middle of it all.

This morning I woke up in time to see the sunrise and headed for the various National Monuments in the area (I want to make it to a sports bar to watch the Braves game tonight). My first stop was the not so famous, largest sculpture/carving in the world…the Crazy Horse monument. To give you some perspective, the head, which took fifty years to carve is larger than the entirety of Mt. Rushmore. The statue, when completed will be taller than the Washington Monument. If it is ever completed (the only revenue for the project comes from visitors to the carving and only about two dozen people are working on it), it will be the center for a Native American cultural center, which will boast a Native American university and medical center. Although, Crazy Horse was Lakota, the park stresses that it wants this to be a universal symbol for all American Indians. I hope but am not optimistic that it will be completed in my lifetime.

The second stop today was Mt. Rushmore. I was disappointed to find that the cafeteria from North by Northwest was bulldozed about fifteen years ago. Other than that, it was Mt. Rushmore…pretty cool I guess.

My final stop was Devil’s Tower Wyoming from Close Encounters of a Third Kind fame. You can see it from probably twenty miles down the road. It is way cool. Apparently it used to be the cone of a volcano, who knew? In any case, I’m headed back to South Dakota to watch the game and find a place to lay my head for the night, and then off to the UP. Cheers.

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