Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Buffalo Kind of Day

Today we hit Crazy Horse Monument first.  That was a highlight of the day.  We Americans didn't treat the native Indians fairly - or at least some of us did not.  They have one of the best introductory videos I've seen - why I even had tears in my eyes during the showing plus at least up to an hour later.  The sculptor was handpicked by the Indians and he came happily to do this project.  At one point he only had about $150 to his name, but money wasn't the object - it was the success of the project.  I want   to read up on this project when we get home since I like to know more of the background of people and situations and this one has my name written all over it. There are so many Indian artifacts in the museum - in fact, there are several buildings which are bursting and still more things need a place to be displayed properly. There is a building project underway constantly with an entire complex of buildings planned.  I was definitely impressed.  And it is done entirely from private funds - accepting no government money, even turning down huge grants to remain private.  Yep, I was highly impressed and it is definitely successful.  The sculptor died but his wife and 7 of their 10 children are continuing the work. 

We ate in the restaurant seated at a table at a window overlooking the monument.  Awesome.  There are years left of work to be done, but it's quite an impressive undertaking of a lasting tribute to the Indians.  With a donation we were able to get two of the small granite rocks which had been removed during the blasting process and will be put in a special place in our backyard when we get home.  

When we left this fantastic spot, we drove a few miles around some country roads til we arrived at Mount Rushmore.  Here is another fascinating piece of American history and creation.  It was different from the Crazy Horse complex, definitely smaller.  It is also incomplete.  This sculptor also died before completing the project.  But with Mount Rushmore, the work is by a single artist and it has been decided to keep it unfinished.  The museum houses many of the tools, initial drawings, models of ears, hands, noses, faces of the four presidents honored in this stone creation.  We bought tee shirts and baseball caps.  After all, what else are retirees supposed to wear!!

And yep, that's me standing to the right next to the first granite column.

While heading down the road to the motel where we made reservations was a sign in the Black Hills that there were buffaloes and warning people not to get close to them because they are wild animals and can be dangerous.  We saw some on the hill quite a distance away and we stopped and I took some pictures of these little dots on a faraway hill.  Then after another mile, we saw another group of them a bit closer so I snapped a few pictures of them too.  I commented that the next sighting would be even closer.  Oh my gracious!!!   Around the next curve was a buffalo walking RIGHT ALONG THE SIDE OF THE ROAD.   We slowed and drove slowly along beside him while I snapped pictures.  Yes, I could have reached out the car and petted him.  Really!  But I chose to keep my hands in the car and just snap pictures.  Never slowing, he walked along beside the car and kept an eye on me.  He didn't seem upset that I was taking pictures, but wonder what he was REALLY thinking!!  Yep, I kept talking calmly to him telling him what a beauty he was and how much I appreciated him posing like that.   

This shot was taken out my car window only a few feet from this AWESOME creature!!! 

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