Sunday, September 7, 2014

Custer, Chapter Two

It has been raining outside…one of the frequent afternoon showers we experience this time of year.  This one is accompanied by rumblings of thunder and a chilly north wind.  Kota is hiding under the table, convinced that the thunder means danger.  Rue is barking at the back door.  She can hear the patter of the raindrops and is convinced if she were outside she could catch one!

On one of our several trips to Rapid City, we took time to visit the Museum of Geology at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.  The museum is not large, but its collection of fossil and mineral specimens is outstanding.  

The museum originated with the donation of a collection of fossils, rocks and minerals donated to the Dakota School of Mines in 1885.  Although there are specimens from throughout the world, the real stars of the exhibit were found and collected in South Dakota and surrounding states.  Specimens from the Black Hills as well as from the High Plains include a Brontothere, shown in the first image above, the extinct relative of horses, tapirs and rhinoceroses, which was found in the Badlands.  There is also a triceratops skull, and the fossil remains of an ancient sea creature.

We had a great time at the Museum, and hope to return before we leave the area.

One of our other outings included a trip some 10 miles down the road to Pringle, home of the Hitchrail Bar and Restaurant.  

On Wednesdays the special is one of their fantastic hamburgers, complete with fries, for $5.00.  John let me take a picture of his before he dived in, and you can see what was left after we finished!

Another day we visited the Crazy Horse Memorial a few miles outside of Custer.  

Work on the memorial began in 1947 when sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski was recruited and commissioned by Henry Standing Bear, an elder in the Lakota tribe, to carve an image of Oglala Lakota Warrior Crazy Horse.  The monument, years from being finished, will depict Crazy Horse riding a horse and pointing into the distance.  It is being carved out of Thunderhead Mountain, and has been funded by fees and donations.  No State of Federal money has ever been used for the project.  

We enjoyed the excellent museum on the site, as well as a native dance presentation by a distant relative of Crazy Horse.

For several days last week we enjoyed the company of two very neat couples from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  We shared stories around the campfire and renewed our interest in visiting the states bordering the Great Lakes.  We were sad to say goodbye to Carolyn and Tom and their "pack," Walker and two tiny white toy poodles, 

and to Dean and Mary Lou and their Pebbles.  

Tom and Dean are brothers, and both couples enjoy RVing, especially "boondocking" in interesting places they find.  We hope not only to visit them next year in the "UP" but to camp in some of the boondocking sites they told us about.  Travel safe, Friends.

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