Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Jenn's Big Summer Adventure: Part 6 - Custer State Park & Crazy Horse, South Dakota

Wednesday (8/31) morning at Custer, I awoke and made tea and enjoyed the company of my own personal squirrel and bunny rabbit who seemed to always be hanging out around my little deck. OK, it helped that I put out some squishy flatbread on the grill - and it was hilarious watching the squirrel try to drag it off the grill - I could have wrapped him up in a piece of that flatbread if I caught him, that's how small he was!

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I spent a couple hours examining maps and storing data in my brain, making notes and reservations at Yellowstone for the rest of my trip.

Then, I went off to perfect my skills of exploring the dirt roads off the Custer SP Wildlife loop, avoiding being trampled by bison and sneaking up on antelopes in neutral.

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Beautiful skies & pleasant dirt roads - all to myself (well, and the antelopes & bison)

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Today's pleasant surprise: burros! Friendly as housecats, coming up and begging from people in cars. A momma and her baby decided I was pleasant enough to hug both of them and came right up and each one stuck a head under my arms (I am not kidding!).

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Did someone say they were handing out cheese-n-peanut butter crackers down here? NOTE: the burros do NOT run as fast as the antelopes, and they are much less skittish.

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As anyone who is friends with new mothers knows - nursing is okay, any time, anywhere - it's perfectly natural. You just might not want to do it in the middle of the road with traffic coming in both directions. Or, maybe you do - I guess that's a super power!

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What? NO snacks?


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OK, let's go check with this other human!

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Someone wants a nap!

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I turned back up the dirt roads and headed north, stopping for more awesome antelopes, before heading down to Rapid City.

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Look! It's a very rare PAY PHONE! And a nice view.
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I enjoyed some lovely views of Mt Rushmore and enjoyed going through the stone tunnels on 16A a second time around.

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Rapid City was utterly forgettable - it was so ridiculously hot, it was about 110 degrees (I am not kidding). It was so hot, that even the grasshoppers were trying to hitch rides on my panniers back up into the mountains. At least Cabela's was nice and air conditioned! Oh - yeah - I went to Cabela's - AGAIN! I think this is the 4th or 5th Cabela's I visited on this trip. I bought a sleeping bag - so I could ship my 55 degree sleep sack back home.

Finally, I cruised along the north side of Custer State Park and ended up at Crazy Horse Monument just before closing, where I enjoyed a short film about the project and lovely views:

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This is what it is supposed to eventually look like
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The museum exhibits there are extensive and overwhelming. Fortunately, Mrs K's ginger kitty, Gracie, graciously offered to guard my motorcycle jacket.

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Gracie - on the job!
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Definitely a lap-kitty:
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Dark clouds were gathering and I dodged fat rain drops as I headed down the hill to Custer (the town) to get more beer at the lovely local Dakotamart, returning at dusk via a lovely dirt road called Lower French Creek. There were a lot of residences and plenty of nice woods - I even got to see more bison just hanging out with horses! Bison were hanging out in the camp again - so I just enjoyed my beer and waited for them to stop blocking the path to the bathhouse so I could have a shower.


Day 7: 140 miles



Driving All Around Custer SP

2 comments:

The Local Tourist said...

Hello,

I am happy to see you had an unforgettable vacation to Rapid City. It sounds like to made it here right as we were reaching our hottest days of summer :-) Rapid City typically is a mild 80 degrees in the summer months. I hope you did get to enjoy some our wonderful city and come back to visit soon.

Jenn said...

Thanks for visiting - you just noticed my typo! I meant "utterly forgettable" - between the heat, the featureless flat city & the road construction, I was happy to get to Cabela's and back out. I enjoyed my visit in Custer State Park and would not have gone into Rapid City except that I needed to buy a warmer sleeping bag.

Cities were not on my agenda this summer! American cities aren't that interesting as they are largely homogeneous, differing mostly in what's available in restaurants.