Thursday, August 11, 2011

South Dakota, Crazy Horse Museum



2011-06-26 15.13.32 Without a doubt this is one of the best museums that I have been in that is dedicated to the history of native American Indians.

Furthermore, this museum and the dedication of the people that operate it shows that great things can really be accomplished without help from the government.




Inside the museum is a movie theatre that gives a decent presentation about the history of the project and the work in progress.




2011-06-26 15.18.49 Indian artifacts, along with Korcaz's various works are well displayed throughout the museum.








2011-06-26 15.12.23 Crazy Horse



When the work is completed here, it will be an awesome and well deserved tribute to the American Indians. My hat is off to all who are making this project and dream a success.



2011-06-26 15.23.42 If you get the chance be sure to visit Crazy Horse Memorial. It will be time and money well spent.

Don’t forget to take a piece of the mountain home with you even if you love your mother-in-law.









South Dakota, Crazy Horse Memorial


After my visit to Mt. Rushmore, I am a bit apprehensive about visiting Crazy Horse. My expectations are low but that quickly changes at the entrance booth. There is only a $10 admission fee with free reentry for a laser light show and blasting.


2011-06-26 13.54.36 A nightly blasting happens once a year, weather permitting and tonight happens to be the night.






A short walk from parking and I am on a bus for a close up tour of Crazy Horse. The tour is $4 which I am happy to pay since all funding for this project comes from visitors and private donations. No public, state or federal money is being used or accepted to fund this monumental task.



2011-06-26 14.15.01 Our bus tour is informative and gives us a good knowledge base about Crazy Horse.

Did you know it will take another 80-100 years or more to complete this monument?

Or that once completed it will be much grander than Mt. Rushmore?





2011-06-26 14.22.23 At our only stop on the tour is a slab of granite the material from which the monument is being sculpture.

Although it has a tough composition it still must be treated with heat to slow down decay from the elements especially ice.







So how much wood would a wood chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood?

Apparently, not much based on the skills of the ones running around Crazy Horse who spend most of their time chucking grass not wood.

Our tour drives by Korcaz's tomb which interestingly has a door knocker on the inside. Korcaz designed it himself along with building his own coffin. Apparently, he told his family he would knock if he wasn't have too much fun and wanted to be let out. I have to appreciate a man with a sense of humor even I death.

Somewhat carrying on this tradition, our bus driver invites us to take a piece of the mountain home with us as a souvenir. Inside the museum there are pieces of blast rock which are free for the taking. According to the driver the rocks are just heavy enough that he used them for his mother-in-law's life jacket.





Wednesday, August 10, 2011

South Dakota, A Bird's Eye-View



2011-06-26 13.45.08 I am on my way from Mt. Rushmore to Crazy Horse Memorial, which is less than twenty miles away, when a roadside sign grabs my attention.

A quick u-turn and I discover that for $49 I could set myself up for about 6 minutes of elevated fun.




I sign up at Black Hills Aerial Adventures and wait with excitement as a thumping sound rises above the noise of the nearby highway. As if suspended by an invisible cable, a Robinson R44 descends from the sky and smoothly lands less than a hundred feet away. I am told to wait as passengers are being assisted from the helipad.



2011-06-26 13.41.45 Fortunate for me, the next time the R44 is airborne I will be the only passenger.

Sitting next to the pilot, I have the most awesome views.

With professional confidence she flies us along a route that she has done hundreds of time before.



From about 500 feet above the ground, the beauty of the Black Hills expands in all directions as far as the eye can see. I am given a brief history of the area and some unknown to me landmarks are highlighted.

Our tour takes us as close as possible to Crazy Horse Memorial before we begin a circle back to our landing spot. The 6 minutes goes by too fast but it was money well spent for some fantastic views that could only be experienced with a set of wings.




Tuesday, August 9, 2011

South Dakota, Mt Rushmore



It is a beautiful summer day with clear blue skies as I leave Rapid City Airport. I am on my way down Highway 16W to the town of Keystone in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Keystone is known as the gateway to Mt. Rushmore.



2011-06-26 11.51.13 About twenty miles down the road I arrive in Keystone and it looks like a good place for lunch break.

A main street lined with shops and restaurants provides a good opportunity for a stroll before I settle down for a tasty pulled pork sandwich.





2011-06-26 12.17.26

It is not long after leaving Keystone that America's First President comes into view.









2011-06-26 12.31.14 George Washington. Awesome!




2011-06-26 12.41.31 Thinking a close up view would be more amazing, I pay an $11 entrance fee to park but I am a bit disappointed.







2011-06-26 12.49.18 By George, I think I like you more from a distance.

Had I been able to take in a Park Ranger lead hike maybe the $11 entrance fee would have been more worthwhile.





Back on the road I get another impressive glimpse of Mt. Rushmore. This time, I think I see a bit of resemblance between old George and myself.

Wow, he was actually one handsome dude!