Day 243 – Badlands and Black Hills
I started the morning at Crazy Horse Memorial. The $10 parking fee gets visitors into the
grounds and the museum, but getting closer to the incomplete monument requires
a $4 bus ride. I’m not much of a tour
bus rider, so in this particular instance, I think I could have just snapped a
photo of the monument from the highway and kept going.
The museum is very well done and I found the plans for the
project as well as the progress of the project interesting. I was just more
interested in a close up view of what will be the largest piece of sculpture in
the world. Perhaps I’ll come back on a
future first full weekend in June for a hike up the road…that sounded cool!
The museum displayed Indian art work and artifacts. It also included a variety of facts on the
monument and project. The Crazy Horse
Memorial will someday include a University and Medical Center in addition to
the museum to provide technological, scientific, and cultural opportunities for
the Native Americans. The sculptor,
Ziolkowski, began work on the Crazy Horse Memorial in 1947. His wife and family have continued work on the carving
since his death in 1982.
The structure will be 563 feet high and 641 feet long. The museum has included several photos of the
progress made over the years which I found fascinating. It also displayed a picture of the current
monument with a diagram of the final piece drawn over it to provide a good
visual. The most impressive part about
the project is that it is funded only by visitor fees. It does not receive any Federal or State
money. Kudos to them! That alone made me happy I visited, despite
not getting a close up view of Crazy Horse.
Speaking of Crazy Horse, the museum recounted the story at
Fort Robinson differently from the story I reported a few days ago from Fort
Robinson. The museum states that Crazy
Horse was a fine warrior and never surrendered.
At the age of 35, he was bayoneted, not on the battlefield, but under a
flag of truce at Fort Robinson.
After visiting the Crazy Horse Memorial, we continued on to
Deadwood, a town full of casinos! It is
also the town where Wild Bill Hickok, the one-time lawman and full-time
gambler, was killed by Jack McCall in 18756, less than a month after arriving. He was shot in the back of the head while
playing poker at a local saloon. It is
said that Hickok was clutching black pairs of aces and eights, this day known
as the dead man’s hand, when he was mortally wounded. He is buried in the Boot Hill section in the
town’s Mount Moriah Cemetery. Calamity Jane
(Martha Canary), who lived 53 years which was longer than most, is laid to rest
next to him. She claimed to be Hickok’s sweetheart,
though most historians claim this was a figment of the bull train worker’s and
wild west show performer’s imagination.
Petey and I piddled around, enjoyed a burger at Deadwood Dick’s
Saloon, took in the sights and followed the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway toward the
South Dakota/Wyoming border. The drive
through the Black Hills National Forest alongside a creek was just lovely. A sign pointing to Rough Lock Falls and the
film site for Dances with Wolves caught my attention, so I turned off onto the
dirt road and bounced three miles to the location. Sadly, I’ve never seen Dance With Wolves, but
one of the locals told me I was at the site of the last scene and that is was
very overgrown. I walked through the
tall grass to the creek and then turned to go to the falls a mile down the
way. The falls were just beautiful. Petey and I took the paved trail down the creek
and across the bridge to admire the water crashing over the ledge. Unfortunately, the bright sun interfered with
my amateur photography skills!
We spent the rest of the day traveling to Sundance, WY. I was expecting a cute mountain town. What a surprise. I think it was a total of four city
blocks. Businesses included a few gas
stations, a Best Western, Subway, Napa Auto Parts, a coffee shop, a yoga
studio, a bar, one restaurant, a bank, and of course a Harley Davidson
store. I think there was a Harley
Davidson store in every town I passed through today! I thought Sundance is where Robert Redford
owns a place and it is home to the Sundance Film Festival…very hard to imagine…do
I have that wrong!?! I camped out at the
Conoco with the truckers! I plan on
visiting the museum in the morning which has a display on the Sundance Kid. ETB