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Published: September 4th 2006
Robert was fascinated with these prehistoric predators
Day 27 - August 31, 2006
You never know when you might have an interesting experience, and this morning it was in the bathroom/shower facilities at Rafter J. Scott’s was first. He was already in the shower, when two teenage boys came in to clean the facility. They either didn’t notice that Scott was there or didn’t care. They proceeded to start the job. Then they plugged in their boombox. Scott has never heard Def Jam (or whoever the heck it was) played so loud. One was asking the other: “So what do we do?”
When Krysten and I ran into the bathroom, we were greeted by country music and two cheerful teenage boys. They had just connected a hose under the first sink, apparently to spray everything. One little problem though, the hose had not been properly secured and water was spewing everywhere. It was a mess. One teenager asked: Do you need to use the restroom?” (With just a bit of a twang.) Then, “Just be careful, it’s a little messy.” Cheerful foolishness is much more appealing than surly, attitude-wheeling foolishness.
We head back into Hill City to see the Black Hills Institute for Prehistoric Studies. This
is a free museum in downtown Hill City. If you are ever in the area, this is a must-see. This little bitty museum (compared to those in Houston, Detroit, and Chicago) makes most museums disappear completely. They exhibit a lot of the “real” stuff, as well as the casts displayed by most others. It was really interesting, especially the prehistoric crocodiles. Even Robert liked this one.
Scott and I ate (again) at Desperado’s (since we were still in town, why waste time somewhere else?) Meanwhile the kids made mac and cheese in the RV. It takes a lot of trust to let your kids play with propane in the RV while you go off somewhere else. (Like most moms, I’m a seasoned veteran at imagining disasters. Like most dads, Scott can’t imagine or believe it, even when he sees it.)
We swung by Crazy Horse Memorial. This is even more amazing than Mount Rushmore. Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski was invited by Lakota Chief Standing Bear to carve Crazy Horse out of the mountain in 1947. The first blast was in June, 1948. The entire head was revealed in June, 1998. This nonprofit group relies solely on private funding; this
Good view from inside these guys
is not state or federally funded. The Ziolkowski family is faithfully continuing this enormous project, no telling when this will be done. The entire carving will be 563 feet hight, 641 feet long, and will be three-dimensional. What a job. We bought a “piece” of Crazy Horse mountain for $1. The boys broke it open right away. It is granite, with a mix of imbedded minerals.
Wind Cave was next on the agenda. We didn’t have time to take a tour, (and already have been in some caves elsewhere, so we got Krysten’s stamp for her park passport, examined a few artifacts (deer and elk skin is bristly, not soft; and an example of Wind Cave’s famous boxwork) and left.
We headed for Mammoth Site. This is where some joker was bulldozing a site, getting ready to put up some housing development. One of his guys hit mammoth tusk, and stopped to take a look. (The paleontologists at the site still point to this “shaved tusk” as a symbol of what is wrong with “civilization”, but I think they should be grateful that he stopped to take a look. Most guys wouldn’t have bothered. And I’m sure the
Do NOT go in the water!
These guys are about 3 feet across.
developer didn’t gain very much at all.) In all, there are 55 mammoth remains (3 Woolly, and 52 Columbian) at the site. I didn’t know there were different types. Apparently, mammoth remains have been found pretty much everywhere except Africa, Australia, and a couple of other places (either too small to mention or remember). The Columbian mammoths are much larger than the Woolly’s. But Robert found the prehistoric bear much more interesting. At a mere 15 feet, 4 inches long, you couldn’t do much to escape this guy (even with your pointed rocks attached to sticks). I can’t imagine meeting a grizzly (11 feet, 9 inches), much less this bad boy. Robert can and did, and enjoyed thinking it thru.
On the recommendation of someone at Mammoth Site, we went to Victory Steakhouse in Edgemont, SD. This was not worth the time, but it was interesting and the food was even edible. This place was named in 1943, in the hopes that victory would soon come for the allies in WWII. It was a little run-down inside, as you can imagine. And don’t even bother with the salad bar. There was only one overworked waitress (she didn’t have time
to chat or bring drink refills). The iced tea was made from the dry Lipton Iced Tea mix. When the waitress didn’t understand why I didn’t like it, I knew we were in trouble. (Scott took my under-cooked steak back to the kitchen himself.) Of course, it is a shame that we will miss the Rooster “Ropeing” on Sept. 2.
We continued on the road. We saw a huge buck in the road, came a little too close to hitting him, and decided to stop in Torrington (WY) for the night. No one got any sleep. There were at least 7 trains (whistles included) and 1 rousing hailstorm. Krysten and Robert had a fun time of it in the RV. Scott, Austin, and I in the hotel weren’t much better off. Thank goodness we’re close to Denver.
Tot: 2.942s; Tpl: 0.053s; cc: 11; qc: 55; dbt: 0.0461s; 2; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb