Black Hills, August, 2011

For my 50th birthday, I gave myself a sort of reverse gift - I decided to take my brother & sister and their families and my parents to the Black Hills on vacation. I recall visiting there as a kid; one of the most important charitable organizations I have contributed to is the Crazy Horse Memorial. I have been contributing since 1998 (possibly earlier, but I have not spelunked my old records that seriously). In any case, CrazyHorse was the highly anticipated high point of the trip, as I had never visited there.
We camped in a pair of adjacent spots in Stockade South, Custer State Park. An interesting experience - I have been camping once as an adult in the past, and that was in a tent. "Camping" in an RV and/or Pop-Up with Air-Conditioning is kind of weird. Comfortable, but weird.

Other remarkable items


Photos from the trip

Nephews: playing Yu-gi-oh at our RV site in Chamberlain, SD.

Erik and Zander

Badlands, SD. Sun July 31

We left Eagan, MN Saturday, July 30 in the AM; spent the night in Chamberlain, SD. and visited both the Badlands and Wall Drug on Sunday, July 31. We arrived in the Badlands around 10AM, and it was merely 100 degrees Farenheit. By the time we arrived in Wall, SD. it was 104 (not quite noon). Various photos in the badlands (Wall Drug is not really worth photos, but is worth visiting every 20 years or so just to see how an effective "tourist trap" really operates. A few interesting bits of artwork, but mostly the items for sale were middle-quality and unoriginal "souvenirs".

Monday, Aug 1 - Photos from Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park

The climbers were ascending the north set of rocks as we hiked by. Various family members are fishing (well, at least pretending to fish). At the end of the sequence, while hiking around the lake, we came across an open area at the edge of the lake where there were rose petals. Someone had clearly had a wedding on the site - what a stunningly beautiful location to hold a wedding!


Crazy Horse - the pinnacle of the trip, Tues. Aug 2, 2011

Many thanks to Reed, Rollie, Jadwega, and Ruth for the amazing hospitality given to my family for our visit. We got a trip to "the top" (the plateau where Crazy Horse's arm & fingers are)
Grama Jane taking photos Grama Jane taking photos
The next couple of photos are are a gradual zoom-out. The lines and contours of the rock are fascinating (at least to me) This indentation is (I believe) from the smoothing/finishing torch. Unless I'm confused (possible) The green inverse "C" is an artifact of the photo, as I do not recall it existing. The torched surface is incredibly smooth.

Custer State Park, Wildlife loop - Aug 2, 2011

See buffalo. See buffalo meander. And then some congressional types. Yes, Asses. And pushier than San Francisco pan-handlers. Just like the imcompetent buffoons in Washington DC.
A couple of night-time photos of Stockade Lake. They did not come out well - the lake was quite beautiful in the moonrise

Mt. Coolidge and Wind Cave, Wed. Aug 3, 2011

Dick, Jane & I went to Wind Cave on Wed.
The car with the "BigFins" License Plate was rather cool to see. As we were entering the cave proper, there were two Ranger spelunkers along with us, who were going to map various areas. They are included in these photos.

Mt Rushmore, Thurs Aug 3, 2011

A national spectacle. Very different from the last time I visited in the 1970's. Much closer to the mountain itself, and much more schlocky. Not quite at the Wall Drug level, but other than being carvings of presidents, it was really pretty low-grade (in terms of quality). The sole "high point" was the opened sculptors' studio. Worth doing once every 50 years at most.

Friday, Aug 4 - Misc

Downdown Custer, SD, prior to the official start of Sturgis, 2011. Lots of bikes. Noisy. Interesting cloud formations, Mt. Coolidge, more pushy/obnoxious "wild" burros. The last photo is of a ferret in our camp-site. The base of the left rock, just "north" of the lighted plant. Various pronghorn antelope, but in the far distance to the point of being invisible to a camera.