‘Friendship is a horizon which expands whenever we approach it.’ – E.R. Hazlip
This last week we’ve, mostly, stayed in South Dakota, as it was agreed we needed some more downtime and the RV needed some more repairs before we embark on our next push.
It was very interesting and I learned a lot about this infamous battle. (I’ve put a tip to get into these national parks below this letter) We went to a Ranger talk on it and it was really engaging and surprising. Based on the Indian accounts of the battle, Custer was not standing and firing his gun, instead, he ordered his men to shoot their horses and hide behind them. Then the Indians decided to volley arrows over the dead horses onto the soldiers – the battle lasted, possibly, only 5 mins for Custer’s part. The whole of the attack on the Indians lasted over a week and the Indians won the battle, but they lost the war with the killing of Custer. They were, then, forced onto reservations and their lives were never to be as they were.
So, we, then, started our drive to South Dakota where we still are, but there’s ton to see and do.
On our drive here, we saw an old western jail – tiny and in the middle of a park. (Unfortunately, can’t remember what town we went through, but you blink and you will miss the town.)
Mt. Rushmore was our first stop – quite the tourist attraction.
We got lucky with our timing and our weekend was filled with, once a year, events – a buffalo round-up
and a walk up to the Crazy Horse monument.
It’s a great drive and this was where they originally hoped to put up the monument they later put on Mt. Rushmore. The artist said God made the Needles too beautiful for man to destroy. I agree!
Hope you well! (Some extra Stories & photos below of my experiences which I wasn’t able to fit into the letter.)
When we were in Ranchester, the smallest town, we went to a restaurant there and entcountered the most amazing onion rings.
Also, while going for a walk in the evening with my parents, I noticed a man leaving his house to cross the street to the grocery store with his pistol?! This lady ain’t used to needing to pack my pistol to go to the corner store!
I suggest you buy an annual national park pass, if you are going to be traveling from state to state and going to national parks and national monuments. The pass will get you into both, places like the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone Park and Custer’s Last Stand.
2015 is the 50th anniversary of the Buffalo Round-Up, I believe it’s the only one in the US, at this time. Had no idea this happens, but it’s quite something to see. They vaccinate the buffalo, reduce the herd, as the park is limited in its space to support so many buffalo. They get branded, which you can watch, I chose not to, and they auction off the buffalo which they no longer need in the herd. There is a festival the whole weekend, cook offs, local artists work and music.
Crazy Horse Monument is 6 times larger than Mt Rushmore and they have the walk twice a year, in the spring and autumn. It’s approximately 6 miles and you go right up to the monument face. It’s a private enterprise, as the artist who created it wanted to make sure that this Indian moment never fell into the hands of a government led organisation. They support the first Indian College/University and have a huge museum of Indian artifacts, it’s worth a visit if you can make it. Also, when you go on the walk, it’s free to see all these things and you get a free pass to see the night-time light show. At other times of the year, it’s quite expensive to go in, but it’s an all day kinda place, as there is much to see.
Mt Rushmore costs nothing to go and see. You do not need to go to the actual place that the parks have in front of it to see it; there are many pull outs to get a good photo opp. While the entrance to the monument is free, the parking isn’t, that was $11 when we went, but it gives you a pass for a week, so you can go back and forth and see the night lighting and film, which we did.
Needles Highway – you can’t take a large vehicle up this highway, there are tunnels which an RV or trailer/tuck, would not be able to make it through, so detach your vehicle and drive it. Also, there is a beautiful lake – Sylvan Lake, where you can eat and just enjoy an incredible view of this beautiful area – it’s worth taking some time there.