Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The Wildlife Loop at Custer State Park

The Friendly Burros

These burros blocked the road and wouldn't let the cars by until we paid a toll of carrots! They were rather insistent.

We were afraid we wouldn't see any bison. Not to worry.

The Lakota name for bison is Tatanka. The Lakota tribe is the first known inhabitants of this area.

Here's some immature Bighorn Sheep.

Good viewing today.

Quick quiz- how did the Black Hills get it's name?

When the native Lakota tribe first came here hundreds of years ago, they saw hills covered with Ponderosa pines. The trunk of the ponderosa is black and the hills looked dark. The Lakotas called it Paha Sapa. ( Hills of Black)

We spotted some interesting stuff in town too.

There is a brewery here in the town of Custer called Mt. Rushmore.

They also have a restaurant.

We spotted this bar seating at a gift shop/watering hole.

Novel, Eh?

Mt. Rushmore/ Crazy Horse Memorial

This is yesterday's post actually. I didn't have access then.

Per usual on this trip, lots of construction going on. The main entryway to Mt. Rushmore visitor center is lined with every flag from the 50 states and then some. Here's what it looks like now.

In fact, not only the Walk of Flags, but the visitor center is also off limits, and there is no lighting ceremony at night right now. The lighting of the figures at night is supposed to be the highlight of the trip. Also, the best views were off limits, so I can't say I'm proud of these pics.

But we enjoyed it none the less.

This is peering through the rocks-

Crazy Horse isn't far from there, so we swung by that also. They have a long way to go, but you can see progress over the last 70 years. This is the world's largest mountain carving.

They do have a terrific visitor center where we saw a native Lakota woman perform an interpretive traditional hoop dance.

 And a real Indian!

Afterward we went back to the campsite and had wine and chocolate per Janet's advice.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Custer State Park, South Dakota

We were able to score a great camp site right in the middle of the park, even though all the online info said everything was full. We're so happy!!

We went for a short drive today to explore the area, one of the spots being the town of Custer. They have quite a few buffalo statues spread around.

I should mention we saw a number of real buffalo as we were driving through Wind Cave National Park.

We drove down a road named Needles Highway. The needles referred to the beautiful and unique rock formations.

Apparently they let people climb these things. Look closely at the top of the right hand needle.

The road is very twisty and narrow, with some cool tunnels to drive through.

As you can see, they tend to be rather narrow. I'm touching the wall here, and Sue could touch the other wall at the same time.

The name of this tunnel is the Needle. Since we couldn't open the doors, Sue had to shoot this through the windshield. Not to mention traffic restraints.

We had lunch at a local brewery (huh) and I paired my food with a local favorite beer. It was very mellow and smooth. I highly recommend it.

 This next picture is for Bill. I found this in the Men's Room. I know how much you enjoy this sort of thing.

Our campsite has no reception, so I may not post regularly while we're here.


Saturday, September 14, 2019

Wyoming came and went

We did spend one night in Glendo, Wy, Population 204. We had a great campsite; clean, quiet, secluded, and free! Plus, there was free firewood for the taking. Gotta love that action.

We really detest RV parks. You pay a fortune, park right next to some strangers (literally 10' away), and get nothing more than hookups really. I certainly don't call it camping, but as JSL says "Any port in a storm".

Did I mention all that is $75/night? Yikes! Well, that was Colorado Springs and it's usually slim pickings around a city. Did you know Colo Sprs has a population of almost 500,000? Denver is only 600,000.

Here's a tip- stay away from the I 25 corridor between Colo Sprs and Ft. Collins. Nothing but city-scape and traffic the entire way. Oh, except for the 50 miles of active road construction.

However, cross into Wyoming and you come across a lovely little town of 60,000 called Cheyenne, which happens to be the state capital. What a breath of fresh air!

So now we are in Hot Springs, S. Dakota. Just another layover for one night. Camping spots around Mt. Rushmore are in great demand, and we couldn't find a spot on a Saturday night. We're keeping our fingers crossed for a Sunday entry.

Hot Sprs. is known for, well, the hot springs. Also, they have some beautiful, old, very large buildings made of sandstone. Check out this old schoolhouse.

Tomorrow, the real fun begins.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

14,115 feet closer to the sun

I have to tell you, I was a little light-headed. I think part of the problem was that we got to the top so quickly we didn't have a chance to acclimate. Here's what it looks like at the top of Pike's Peak.

Basically, lots of construction and rocks. Plus a view of forever. Supposedly, in a year they will complete a 30 million dollar all new and improved visitor center (gift shop). We'll have to come back. Because of construction you can't drive to the top right now, but have to be shuttled from mile 16 to mile 20 at the peak.

On the way to the peak there were some cool sights.

Sorry Gary, we didn't see Sasquatch. Although yesterday in Historic Manitou Springs we saw what very well could have been Big Foot walking across Main St. Unfortunately, we didn't have our camera ready. I'm telling you though, if we had seen this creature in the wild, I would be a believer.

Tomorrow, Glendo, Wy. I know what you must be thinking. Glendo! Why can't I go there??  Perhaps one day you'll be so lucky.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods is a National Natural Landmark located by Colorado Springs. The garden refers not only to flora, but also to rocks. Like a rock garden you might have in your backyard. In fact, some people here actually have it in their back yard. Unlike in California, these city planners must be very cooperative with developers. There literally are houses built so close to the Landmark that some of the formations are within their yards.

So sod Mon.

But the Garden is spectacular with many miles of dirt trails, and a road that has a walking/biking path throughout the entire area.

Here is the Siamese Twins Formation with Sue in the foreground.

Here is the view that Sue was taking a picture of that highlights Pikes Peak as seen through the keyhole in the Twins.

We arrived at the Garden about 8 in the morning, when the sun was coloring the rocks with it's morning red glow.

Just a stunning area, everywhere you look on the Central Garden Trail.

There was some fauna too.

Our 27th anniversary is in a week, but by then we'll be out in the boonies again we think, so we celebrated last night with a fine dining experience at the Mona Lisa Fondue Restaurant in Manitou Springs. (That's actually where we are staying right now)

It was a wonderful venue in an old hotel which had many small rooms of three or four tables that kept the noise level very low and made for a very intimate setting. Like the title suggests, we had a cheese fondue course and also a chocolate fondue course.

The only downside was that they brought the entree to your table uncooked and a small grill was supplied. We were pretty busy for a while trying to cook everything and still enjoy the food while it was hot.

No Jan, she didn't do all the cooking. As you know, I'm quite the grill master!

Tonight, dinner with our friend Jim who is in town for 90 days pulling National Guard duty. Or as he calls it, paid vacation.

Tomorrow, Pikes Peak. Maybe instead of driving up there, we'll just hike it instead.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Pagosa Springs, Colorado

This is a smaller town, although in this state the town sign only gives elevation and not population, so it's hard to say exactly. Seems like the size of Atown.

They are known for the natural hot springs bubbling up all around the river. In fact, Guiness recorded the Mother Spring at 1002' deep; the deepest known hot spring in the world. Here's a picture of Mama. The hot spring I mean.

Some enterprising soul with funding built a huge, beautiful Spa Resort with all the amenities right on the river. All the spas (dozens of them) are on different levels, exposed to the public and cascades to the river below. This picture doesn't do it justice.

It makes me think of what the right person (Mike Z?) could have accomplished in Paso Robles many years ago. There are many springs springing up all around in this area. Of course they all come along with the requisite sulfur odor.

We're staying at an RV park tonight, which is something we rarely do. We prefer to dry camp at campgrounds. Pretty much like Brian and Janet.  In an RV Park the sites tend to be larger, closer together, and more expensive. But we do have wifi. Hey Gordon, when was the last time you had faster internet at an RV site than you do at home?

Tomorrow, Colorado Springs. You don't suppose they have natural hot springs too?