Sunday, August 1, 2010

On the Road Again

I love road trips, I love to travel, and I hate where I live. With that in mind, we planned a huge 8 state road trip for this summer. Starting in Minnesota (blech, ew gross) and going first into South Dakota.

I have a love/hate relationship with South Dakota. I think it's an interesting state, with lots of geological wonders, fun towns, and several relatives (so I spent plenty of time here growing up). But, I dislike the history, the conflict and the bloodshed the Black Hills brought to the Native American tribes. Going to Mount Rushmore, the gold mines, and the like brings that very closely to mind, as does driving by the Pine Ridge Indian reservation on the edge of the badlands. But, that said, there is a lot to be learned here too.

Corn Palace in Mitchel SD - this is redecorated every year, and every time I drive through, I have to stop.

Pretty horses in a field

Missouri River Banks

Abandoned farm

Wall Drug

Hills on the way to Mt Rushmore

Mistletoe where my Aunt Pam works, a year round Christmas store, kind of like Elmo Saves Christmas with collectibles.

Mount Rushmore. This is what most people think of when they think of this area. Unfortunately to me, I think of the conflict, and that it was a slap in the face to the Native American tribes when this was put on land that they owned by treaty, which was later stripped from them once gold was found in the area. The fact that Borglum was a KKK member, and chose 4 presidents who while great men, were responsible for ordering military moves that led to many Native American deaths, also hangs over it. So in short, while I appreciate the artwork, I wonder at the thought process, and can't help but think about the bad things too. I compromise by going, but at the same time, not buying merchandise and not spending a lot of time there.

I do like the state flags leading to it, this is new since the last time I visited.

What the mountain will look like when finished, with the actual behind it.

Down the road a ways from Mount Rushmore, is another controversial, but beautiful monument. Commissioned in the 40's by 4 tribal leaders, to show that Native Americans had great men too, Crazy Horse is slowly emerging from the rock, to point to the land, where his people lie buried. This monument, which when finished will be the largest in the world, has been built with no federal funding, and mainly by one family. The original carver, who used to climb over 700 steps on his way to blast the mountain by himself, left the project to his kids, who are carrying it on. Eventually there will be a college, a museum (the one there currently is already amazing) and many other things.

We ended up watching the laser light show, and staying for several hours, before driving to Spearfish to collapse into bed. Total time on the road, 18 hours, 9 to get to South Dakota, 9 sight seeing. Dogs, and people very tired. Drop spindle stayed in the car.

Quote of the day: "This hotel room has a bathroom!" Cory - who evidently thought a Howard Johnson was roughing it.

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