Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Black Hills

“Take me back to the Black Hills…the Black Hills of Dakota” guess those of you of a certain age are now humming that tune. 

This is where we are as we write. The hills are gentle, covered in dark green trees, the scenery is beautiful and there are lots to see and do.
We are parked in Box Elder about 6 miles east of Rapid City. One of the reasons we’re here is that we wished to change our residency from California to South Dakota. We arrived here Tuesday, obtained our SD driver’s licenses on Wednesday, registered to vote and completed the documentation to register the car and RV in SD and picked up our number plates Friday; now we need to buy our cowboy hats and boots. Rapid City is just 10 minutes away where downtown there’s an avenue of all Past Presidents, cast in  bronze,  on the cross street corners of Main Street and St Joseph’s Street. Each statue shows a familiar pose or historical context to that President. Bill Clintons statue has him with a microphone in his hand; George Washington is in his General’s uniform; Dwight Eisenhower is in his Army uniform and George W Bush with his Scottie under his arm.   

We visited Mount Rushmore by day and by night – feels almost like a Cathedral, which in some respects it is. What an impressive project? And now I know the name of the man who took on the challenge of the project Gutzon Borglum – however, I know I will forget it once I cross the border into Minnesota. In between our visits to Mount Rushmore we drove to Hill City, a lovely Western Town and had dinner at the Alpine Inn – go there for the best Fillet Mignon you’ll have and desserts just to die for. Once again, this is a touristy town with gun fights in the streets, in fact the following day we learned on the local News that 3 spectators had been injured during a gun fight show and had to be hospitalized, 2 were released and one detained. I have seen so many gunfights now I just walk by wondering did people just dodge the bullets and walk on by in the old days
Near Mount Rushmore is the Crazy Horse Memorial which we also visited - now that’s a BIG project that will be 3 Dimensional and will take decades if not centuries to complete.

From here we also visited several other Black Hills towns; Sturgis, where they have a Harley Davidson Rally every year that can draw anywhere from 800,000 to 1,500,000 bikers to the area - all those Harleys, just imagine the noise; Deadwood which is quite a big town, the façades of the buildings are 1870s but inside they are gaming casinos and there are frequent gun fights on the streets to entertain the tourists, they have tried not to interfere with the style of the old buildings but the modern slot machines are an eye sore when you enter the hotels and bars; Spearfish a lovely town that has an old Opera House and a State University, just south west of the town lies a canyon which is 12 times older than the Grand Canyon called Spearfish Canyon with three spectacular waterfalls, Spearfish, Bridal Veil and Roughlock which we hiked to and drove to the others. Not as impressive as the Grand Canyon but a lovely drive.
We played our South Dakota game of golf yesterday at Meadowbrook Golf Club in Rapid City. In Wyoming I broke 100 but my usual game was played yesterday – 112 - too much water and not knowing the course.

Tom is watching Rory McIlroy a young Irish golfer win the US Open!  

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