Crazysister at the Big Heads

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Big Heads ... Finally !

The internet was not working at the Custer, South Dakota KOA ... so I am sorry that this post is coming in a little late.

During our last episode we were at the Devil's Tower KOA - admiring the scenery and being hypnotized by the flickering fire right beside the camp site. I knew that I was going to jinx us... when the sun rose the next morning, we made our daily 5:00am stroll to the bath house in noticibly chillier temperature, and we discovered a unique shower arrangement from all of the previous KOAs. The showers were around back; each with a separate little room. Now, this would have been very nice except for the fact that they were not exactly clean, and they appeared to be oversized bug zappers. Spiders and other insects don't usually bother me... but cold water does. So, the hallowed ranking of #1 KOA was not going to fall on the Devil's Tower. To make matters worse, the restaurant had the worst service of any place. Miss Wendy's biscuit was passed around the table so everyone could get an opportunity to try to cut it... We all failed!
Oh well, at least the scenery was nice.

We traveled to Custer KOA in South Dakota. Uncle Bud, Jeanie, Crazysister, and Nathan took an alternate route and landed in Deadwood. Let’s just say that with all of the excitement that happens there… they got delayed a couple of hours. Deadwood is the place that Wild Bill Hickock was killed. In case you are unfamiliar with the story… a young man trying to make a name for himself – shot Wild Bill in the back while he was playing poker. Hickock happened to have a hand of aces and eights… today this type of combination in poker is known as “dead man’s hand.”

Anyway, while they were exploring Deadwood, Katie, Miss Wendy, Grayson and I were looking around Custer. Nice town… but reminded me of ocean blvd. in Myrtle Beach in 1980… lots of musty, damp stores selling trinkets advertised as Native American but made in China.

After we set up camp, we all piled into the excursion and headed for the Big Heads, also known as Mt. Rushmore! Remember folks, originally, this was the entire reason for this trip (Crazysister wanted to see the Big Heads). We made our way up the mountain… paid our $10 parking fee (but hey, park entrance is free). The nice lady said that Uncle Bud could not use his gold pass to park free… but that our $10 would allow us to visit again anytime the rest of this year ! I don’t think that she was amused that we all burst out laughing! She had no clue what it took to get us there!!! Once we made our way through the entrance… this became a kind of sentimental experience for our group. Tears were shed as we stood there in front of this massive mountain. Crazysister called the only sister that had the good sense not to come along, Glenda, so she could share in the moment, and I believe that Miss Wendy called Scooter. We stood and marveled at the monument for a while. Everyone except for Uncle Bud, Jeanie, and me went on the hike around the base. Grayson did manage to kick his hacky sak over the walkway and needed assistance from a park ranger to retrieve it! … we were hoping for a minute that it was lost forever…but to no avail…

We left Mt. Rushmore and headed over to the Crazy Horse memorial. This memorial is still under construction, and no government money is accepted to help complete it … so admission here was slightly different. The sign said $10 a person … but we lucked out because car loads were only $27… What a bargain. . they could have made $80. Once we arrived to the visitor’s center, we learned that if we wanted to actually go to the base of the monument you had to pay $4 more each for a 1 mile bus ride, and they would NOT allow anyone to walk. We decided our current view would be sufficient. We watched an insightful movie about the memorial and Crazy Horse and toured the museum. Did you know that the monument is modeled after a ‘generic’ Native American? There were never any known pictures taken of Crazy Horse. Some pictures have been published, but Native American elders have all denied those pictures as being accurate. So, the Crazy Horse Memorial is not really even of Crazy Horse … crazy – I know !

Afer a couple of hours of sleep, we were all back in the excursion for our 6:30 am trek through Custer State Park to see the wildlife. We saw many deer of different types, a prairie dog town, and a moving herd of literally hundreds of buffalo (maybe close to 300 in all).

It has been very dreary in South Dakota today. We crossed the entire state in the rain. The temperature never got higher than 60, and road construction was a pain… do you know the stretch of I-40 in Catawba County from Fairgrove Church Road to Claremont ? This was it exactly … only 1 lane for like 100 miles. Tonight we are staying in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. This KOA is a lot newer and very nice. The bathrooms even smell all flowery… a big change. Tomorrow our goal is to be on the road by 7:00 am and try to get as close to Springfield, Missouri as possible. Springfield is home to the biggest Bass Pro Shop in the country (like 17 acres worth – I have heard). Springfield also happens to be near Mansfield, Missouri. Mansfield is home to the Rocky Ridge Farm of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Almanzo Wilder. It is the place she wrote the books, and it has a museum that we will tour. We will also visit the graves of Laura and Almanzo… this is Katie’s version of a visit to Graceland for Elvis lovers.

Cue the Jerry Reed song…. East Bound and Down … loaded up and truckin’ … we gonna do what they say can’t be done… we got a long way to go and a short time to get there… we’re east bound just watch old big heads bunch !


sherrysummer said...

"Little House on the Prairie" Day is here! Enjoy and take lots of photos...then you can write the "Wild West Days" with "The Big Heads and Beyond" next episode! Glad Crazysister called Glenda from Mt. Rushmore! I know she has to miss you guys! Take care, enjoy and...Hugs for Kate Kate...Katie's Nana

Nancy said...

Greetings! Remind me to share a children's book I have about the "mother herd" of buffalo, They Came from the Bronx" by Neil Waldman.

Thor said...

You only had one picture of one head!!! What happened there?? LOL!

Sounds like a blast!