Deadwood - Oacoma
Miles Driven: 301.8
Gas Price: 1.99
And on to Day Four.
We left Deadwood behind and headed south on the "scenic route" to drive to the Crazy Horse Memorial. The road was lovely, winding through the Black Hills and their pine woods. The Memorial itself was commissioned by the Lakota to commemorate one of their greatest war leaders, but is designed as a Native American memorial to honour all tribes.
The statue is huge. Huge. The trouble is, it's being carved by only a small number of people and is taking a LONG TIME. e.g. it was begun in the 1940s, and so far only Crazy Horse's face is finished. The whole statue will be three dimensional, and will probably take at least another 150 years to finish. Possibly longer. However the webpage gives the whole story, including sizes etc and is worth seeing: http://www.crazyhorse.org/
The antique car club was there in force, with many old "roadsters" about the place.
After quite a while at the Crazy Horse Memorial (they had a good video about the blasting and carving etc) we headed on over to Mount Rushmore, about 15 miles away. Much to Jason's disgust, my first comment was "Damn, it's small!". This was not an insult directed at the American nation, however, more the fact that (a) I'd only really seen pictures of Mt Rushmore in closeup, and (b) we'd just been at Crazy Horse, whereas the entire Mt Rushmore lineup of Presidential Heads can fit inside of Crazy Horse's head. So it looked small, alright!?!?
A nice touch at Mt Rushmore was that all the workers got their names displayed on a marble tablet. Must have had a good union representative ;) Some more Mt Rushmore info is at: http://www.travelsd.com/parks/rushmore/
The highlight of Mt Rushmore was meeting 'Abraham Lincoln'. We were a bit worried he'd think posing with a Kiwi was beneath his Presidential dignity, but happily we were mistaken. He was a bit taken aback at first, but came through in the end with a truly magnificent performance ;) (And yes, that IS a real person - an Abraham Lincoln impersonator, not a wax figure) :)
So on from Mt Rushmore, heading to Wall, South Dakota. Wall is the home of the famous "Wall Drug", the drugstore (chemist to some of you) which has been established there since the 1930s. The owner first became known for providing "Free Ice Water!" from a well sunk on the site. From there it seems to have expanded into the American centre of kitsch. It was magnificent ;) Check them out at: http://www.walldrug.com/
Colin had a splendid time with a myriad of animatronic friends, as well as a few stuffed ones. There was a 25c fee to make the stuffed chickens and rabbits dance and play musical instruments. Well worth the money ;) The stuffed animals were quite interesting - we particularly liked the way the stuffed bison was on a little trolley. No doubt having your stuffed buffalo on wheels makes it a lot easier to take to parties etc.
The red shirt doesn't work as well when every person you meet also has red, uh, clothing though!
After Wall Drug, we headed across the interstate and to the Badlands, as mentioned/seen in many a Western. Unfortunately by this time it was getting rather gloomy, due to thick cloud cover. You can find more information at: http://www.nps.gov/badl/ for the geological explanation, better pictures, etc.
That weather made for an interesting end to the day. Yup, that's sarcasm. After leaving the Badlands, we got back on the interstate heading East, hoping to make Oacoma (yes, because it has a Holiday Inn!). On the way, however, we met a HUGE thunderstorm, complete with torrential rain and frequent lightning. The drive took quite a bit longer than expected, and we didn't get in until 9-30pm (not helped by hitting the Central time zone, and gaining an hour!). However life is now again good, as the entire hotel has a wireless high-speed network for internet access, and hence this update for the past two days is being posted :) Tomorrow we start to head north.
Still tornado-free, but the weather is ominous,