Friday, July 31, 2015

The Black Hills

We headed west from the Badlands and into the Black Hills where we spent a few days seeing and doing as much as possible. After the time in the boatyard and thousands of miles of corn we were gung ho for more sightseeing. Our visit to the Black Hills more than made up for it.

We made a stop in Rapid City to get new dancing shoes for Ginger. And since it took so long it gave us time to find used bikes for the kids on craigslist. They were so excited! 

Our timing couldn't have been better since it was the last day of the Days of '76 Rodeo in Deadwood. 

The Rodeo was the real thing with many competitions.  

During the show the emcee was asking if anyone in the crowd was from one state or another. He'd receive lots of loud cheers when he mentioned Montana, Illinois etc. But when he asked if anyone was from New York, a lone "woo hoo!" came out of Andy's mouth. Of course that drew the attention of the rodeo clown and, after much anticipation during timed competitions that determined Andy's fate, he ended up having to dance in front of the entire stadium. If you've ever seen Andy dance you know he laid it on thick. The crowd went absolutely crazy once he started smacking his butt. Dang liberal New Yorkers.

There were a few reenactments of the shooting of Wild Bill Hickock. It was really fun and the horses are amazing to watch. 

The clown was pretty funny and we couldn't believe how docile this horse was.

Downtown Deadwood and another reeneactment. We had a drink at the original saloon where he was shot and enjoyed browsing the antiques and learning a little snippet of history.

Our campsite in the Black Hills. It was nice and cool in the shade of the trees and very quiet. It was our first campsite where we didn't have any "hook-ups." That means no electricity, water or sewer. But after living on a boat, conserving water and tank space are second nature. And then you have a chance to be in the woods rather than in an RV park. We used the generator to make coffee in the morning and charge the battery. 

We drove the Needles Highway which is amazing.

Sometimes we weren't sure Fred was going to fit through the openings. Everyone has to take turns. I had to shut my eyes a couple times when the drop off was scary.

We visited the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs which is an archaeological dig of well preserved bones of mammoths who had likely slipped and fallen into a hot spring and couldn't climb out of the steep sides. 


Fully intact skull.

On our way back to the campsite we drove the Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park. First we sighted these pronghorn. 

Then we got right up close to these wild burros who were unphased by our presence. 

We had the classic "stuck behind a herd of bison" experience. Here's a baby. 

The huge herd was on the move crossing the road to a different meadow and there was no going anywhere until they were all across. Every last one of them,

Caught in the act! Even wild mommies don't get to poop in peace.

Some of the males were massive and the noises they made were so gross. We saw a couple big bison fights break out. 

It was a very long day but we made it to Mt. Rushmore in time to get a family photo. 

There it is kids! Now let's go home. We're exhausted. 

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