Thursday, August 1, 2013

South Dakota, Here we come! (Part 1 of 2)

In mid-July, my husband, my step-daughter and I ventured off up north to make a very quick scenic circle in the Black Hills of South Dakota. It is a beautiful area where there are a surprisingly number of things to do and see besides the most apparent one - Mount Rushmore. 

Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, for some highlights of our three-day tour!

(Part 1 of 2)

Breakfast - Northeast Wyoming - July 15, 2013

I apologize for the blurriness. While this was a "Hit and run" shot, no people were injured in the taking of this photograph. If you look closely you will notice that, not only is there a Jackalope ( on the wall, the deer next to it is smiling. (?)

Jewel Cave, South Dakota

Yes, I do understand that this is a photo of a restroom (loo) but there IS a reason I took this. Way back when I was but a pre-teen, my family visited the area and decided to visit beautiful Jewel Cave. After purchasing our tickets, we hunkered down to wait out the hour for the next tour of the cave. With ample time on our hands, my sister and I raced down to the restroom (this is not "The" restroom, but it IS the site where said restroom was situated) and, competitive as we were, I was first through the door. For some (extremely) odd reason, there were approximately six different locks on the inside of the door. Of course I had to lock each and every one of them against maruading sisters. When I went to unlock the door, I could not get the bolt-locks, key-locks, pin-locks, etc. open. Quiet desperation overtook me as I twisted, turned, pulled and flipped them every way I could and, failing that, I started to beat on the door. My sister, unfortunately, had gotten tired of waiting and returned to the bench up the hill and, after what seemed like hours, my mother urged her to find out where I was. She returned to find the sound of frantic staccato thuds emitting from the other side of the door and, panicked, she raced back up to tell my parents that I was stuck in the restoom. In what seemed like a great idea, they asked the Park Ranger for help and he was soon on the outside of the door instructing me, step by step, the correct order and appropriate push/pull finesse which was needed to open the door. To my surprise, and complete humiliation, the large crowd outside erupted into applause when I finally came out. 

Such warm memories...

The general destination on our three-day foray to South Dakota was Mount Rushmore. As we neared the massive faces on the granite cliffside, I carefully navigated the left-hand turn in front of traffic to take my place in line to enter the parking lot. At the same time, my husband and step-daughter were agreeing "Yep. There it it. We saw it. We don't have to go in." (GAH!!!) Since I was in the driver's seat and it would have taken a lot of maneuvering to exit the entrance line (had I even decided to) AND this was the big thing I drove over 400 miles to see, we went inside. Because I said so.

After almost NOT seeing this view, I was adament in taking many, many pictures. Which all look basically the same. Even though I had already seen it when I was ten years old but they hadn't. 

So there!

Thank goodness I remembered this little treat...Bear Country, USA where you get to drive through an "open" wildlife preserve. Among over 100 bear residents, there are large fenced areas where pronghorn, bobcats, mountain lions, reindeer, wolves, coyotes, bighorn sheep, buffalo, elk, and many other animals roam. 

Please note the white van to the left of the rock where two beautiful wolves were sunning themselves. Inside was a family which included three children whose arms we could see reaching out and pointing to all of the animals. One was even on his dad's lap while driving through the preserve as was apparent in his side mirror.

In case you were wondering, yes, we were all cautioned to keep our doors and windows closed. 

I am not being insensitive when I quote someone in our car (it wasn't me, btw) who muttered "A certain candidate for the Darwin Award."

What we actually mistook for a bear but was a interesting charred area at the bottom of a tree. 

Next, Part 2 of the Circle Tour! 

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