Saturday, June 27, 2009

Having a Blast

Jim and I took our walk yesterday morning, did a little cleaning and hung around the campground during the day. Mark and Dortha both had a few things they needed to get done, like washing their motor home inside and out, while they were getting settled in.

Around 4:00 it was time to gather ourselves together and head up to the office porch for our usual afternoon happy hour.

I think Mark and Jim were ready!

Larry'd already got his boots off and was enjoying a break while he was waiting for happy hour to get going:

Around 5:00, Clayton arrived with his chuck wagon, dutch ovens and all the food. He starts from scratch and gets the meal put together and seved in about an hour. We had steak, potatoes, beans and peach cobbler. Everything but the steak is prepared in the dutch ovens, the steaks are grilled over the open fire. I think this was the best meal of the 3 we've had prepared by him.

Yesterday was June 26, a significant day in this area for 2 reasons. First, it is Ruth's birthday, and second, it is the anniversary of the Battle of The Little Bighorn. Now, you might be wondering, who is Ruth and what significance does her birthday have? Ruth is the widow of Korczak Ziolkowski, the sculptor who worked on Mount Rushmore and initiated the idea and the reality of the Crazy Horse Memorial. She continues to be very involved with the work on the sculpture, which will be the largest in the world when it is completed. The memorial does not accept any federal funding, although Korczak, as he's known, was twice offered $10 million by the government. He felt the intent of the memorial would have been compromised by government intervention and declined the offer. All of the funding for this massive work is provided by donations, fundraisers, and entrance fees.

These two events are celebrated at Crazy Horse Memorial with free entrance to the regular evening laser light show, followed by a ceremonial blast of dynamite. Mark and Dortha decided to go with us, and ended up driving. We left right after dinner and got up to the memorial a couple of hours before the scheduled laser light show. Good thing we did, because, as it was, we were parked nearly a mile from the visitor's center. It was a chilly evening - we could have used heavier jackets and even a blanket or two!

We were able to get this picture of the Crazy Horse sculpture as it got dark. The sign attached to his arm says, "Happy B' Day Ruth". She turned 83 yesterday.

The light show finally got started a little after 9:30 and was pretty interesting. Just as it ended, the blast started. Wow, it was really loud. There were actually a series of blasts that went up and down the sculpture. It was impressive.

Mark did a really good job getting us out of the parking lot and back on the road after the event, even though there were a lot of people trying to get out. We got home before 11.

This morning I walked, but Jim didn't make it out to join me. He was still feeling the effects of sitting on a wooden curb for several hours last night.

Around noon, we all piled in Mark & Dortha's jeep and took a drive through Custer State Park. We headed towards the wildlife loop, and took a short detour to go up to the Mount Coolidge Lookout. Wow, what a view! From the observation deck, you can see Crazy Horse, Mount Rushmore, and much of the Black Hills area.

Here's Caden, posing on a rock, with the hills in the background:

Caden bringing Mop and Pop down from the observation deck:

On the loop, we saw a few pronghorn antelope, a few prarie dogs, and finally, just at the intersection of the loop road and the park's main road, a small herd of buffalo. On the way out of the park, we saw a few bighorn sheep.
When we got back, I fixed a King Ranch chicken casserole and salad for dinner. Dortha provided the dessert, strawberries over angel food cake. Yum! I'm really glad to have my meal prep partner back, we always seem to come up with such good meals, and have a good time doing it.

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