The Crazy Horse Sculpture….. and Mt. Rushmore

We cut down off I-90 to the Black Hills of South Dakota. We couldn’t just drive by so we paid our entry fee and drove up the long road to the parking area, got out, took some photos and went into the huge visitor complex. After all, this project, The Crazy Horse Memorial, is the world’s largest mountain sculpture.

In 1939 the sculptor won first prize for his entry at the New York World’s Fair. The Lakota chief Standing Bear learned of this and wrote a letter ……”My fellow chiefs and I would like the white man to know the red man has great heroes also..” He invited Korczak Ziolkowski to the Black Hills to carve Crazy Horse. The first blast of rock occurred in 1948. It took off just 10 tons. Millions of tons have been removed since…..here it is today…

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The brochure I have says the horse head is 219 feet high…here is a close up of some equipment at the base…

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When Brad and I were there in 1977 I took this slide ….sorry about the color. I believe there was scaffolding below the face..

66 Crazy Horse monument started in 1948

Today the same view……

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Then…..

67 still a ways to go

Now…

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Will it ever be completed?

No trip to the Black Hills is complete without a visit to Mt. Rushmore…I love the view now as you walk up through  the memorial columns to each of the 50 states….

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But I loved this sign which was there in 1977…of course it is long gone…

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More of Wyoming

On the way north we stopped for two days at the little western town of Lander, Wyoming. The Sleeping Bear RV park is on a hill overlooking the city of about 7000 people…

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We were able to rent a small Jeep for one day and did a great loop ride up in the mountains. Near Lander the Popo Agie River flows down a gorge and actually goes underground for a short way before coming back up…..here is the cave where it disappearsIMG_3653

We took a hike up the gorge….

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Later,   the drive took us past this spectacular Red Canyon ……..

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We went into town for dinner and sat at picnic table outside with a local couple and their two kids. Hamburgers and salad.  Talking to this really nice couple gave us a great appreciation for the kind of people who live in this rugged place..

The wind finally allowed me to get the drone in the air yesterday morning but I was afraid to go too high, for fear it might get away….here are a couple of stills of the RV park…

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RV Park

Leaving Lander we drove on north in central Wyoming through the Wind River Canyon to Worland, there turned east through Ten Sleep into the Big Horn Mountains. More beautiful Wyoming..…

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The highway goes over the Powder River Pass at almost 9700 feet above sea level…..

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Starting down toward Buffalo we had a view of the Big Horns….

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Stayed at Deer Park RV park last night….heading for the Black Hills of South Dakota today…

Wyoming

We left Moab on Saturday and drove north to Vernal, Utah. Yesterday we drove from Vernal to Lander, Wyoming. The drive on US 191 out of Vernal goes north into the Uinta Mountain Range and is serious mountain driving with many 8 % grades. The old Allegro motor home really labors going up those very steep climbs. About 40 miles into the mountains you get to the beautiful Flaming Gorge…Here’s the Green River below the dam which was completed in the early 60’s…

Green River from Dam

And  a view of the dam……..

Flaming Gorge Dam

The resulting Flaming Gorge Reservoir is almost 90 miles long, extending north to Green River, Wyoming. John Wesley Powell named the gorge when he led a team on raft boats to explore the Green River and Colorado River right after the Civil War.

It is a beautiful place…

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Ronnie

Since we are heading for the Big Horn area in northern Wyoming, the drive yesterday took us to Lander by way of the South Pass just south of the Wind River Range here….

Wind River Range

When refueling yesterday a man at the next pump told us about the South Pass. I had never heard of it. It was the only natural pass across the Rocky Mountains. The pass was first discovered by white men in 1812 and the first wagon train came over this pass to the west in 1832. Today it is a National Landmark. The sign here says that more than 500,000 people going west had to converge here….from here they took the Oregon Trail, the Mormon Trail and other trails to California….when Ronnie and I stood there, looking out at this vast wild area we couldn’t imagine the courage those pioneers had to have…

South Pass

The South Pass is up there on the horizon a few miles in the distance….

More Moab, Utah

Today is July 4th. We were in Arches National Park two days ago and yesterday we drove a 4 X 4 following a guide on the Hell’s Revenge Trail. What a ride!

First, a tribute to Arches.I’ve been there 3 times, the last time was 4 years ago when we took the glider to Parowan, UT. When we were leaving the park two days ago Ronnie summed it up. You just  can’t remember how grand  the scenery is…. and how many different rock formations there are to see . The only way to believe it is to see it.The Windows arches may be the most photographed because they are very accessible:. Here are three photos of the North Window arch. The first walking up from the parking area:

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The next two are of Ronnie sitting under the arch:

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Yesterday we took the 4 X 4 ride on the Hell’s Revenge Trail. The trail is on a high mesa above Moab. These amazing machines are street legal in Utah so we followed the guide on the streets up to the trail which runs about 9 miles to the Colorado River overlook. The 4 X 4 trail is shared by a very famous bike trail called the Slickrock BikeTrail. According to our guide this trail is only for the most serious intrepid off road bicyclists. The trail is said to be the most famous trail in the world, ridden by over 100,000 cyclist from all over the world every year. While only 12 miles long it takes the toughest of riders as long as 4 hours to complete.

Here is the machine we drove and a couple photos in the parking lot before we got underway

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Right out of the blocks we had to climb up a narrow piece of the slick rock. It looked impossible. Our guide gave us a serious pep talk before we started up. You have to trust your 4 X 4. It will go up these slopes even thought you don’t think so. You have to follow the exact track I take. I wish I had a  photo of this climb. Ronnie and I were both hanging on tight with both hands, mine squeezing the steering wheel.

After a few minutes we stopped to see some dinosaur tracks:

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The most interesting stop was at the Abyss overlook where some crazy 4 wheelers were having a blast:

 

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Our three vehicles at the Colorado River overlook.

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This one with Ronnie shows the Lasal Range in the background. These mountains top out over 13,000 feet. We are going there today.

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Here are a couple scenes of the Colorado River below:

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I had the GoPro to video a lot of it but can’t put anything together quickly so this will have to do for the Hell’s Revenge ride. Once we got over the fear, we were laughing constantly as we negotiated steep up and down sections. What these vehicles do is just amazing.

Coming back down to town near the rental place we passed Milt’s Diner. We were starved after 3 hours of 4 wheeling so we both had classic cheeseburgers and a basket of fries from the 1950’s….

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Look who else was there. All the drivers and tour leaders who were out there at the same time as we were….

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Roger Federer is playing now in the Men’s Semi’s. After that we are off to the Lasal mountains. Fireworks here tonight. Tomorrow we head north to Green River. We may stay at a state park there tomorrow night.

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Moab, Utah

I wish I could take credit for this photo. However, I found it on Wikipedia. It’s a great panorama of Moab taken from one of the canyon rims that surround this little city.

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This morning the campground was a beehive of activity. Dozens of off- road Jeeps getting ready to churn up the desert…

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It was 66 degrees this morning about 7 AM when I took these campground photos.

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We drove south about 40 miles then west about 35 miles to get into the Needles section of Canyonlands National Park….miles of high walls and around every curve it got better

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Back in Moab we walked across this foot bridge over the Colorado River:

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By then the temperature was over 100…So it was time to try out the local Moab Brewery micro brew….

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I will have test results later….

Salida to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison

We left Salida yesterday morning…the campground there is very pretty. Some scenes from the campground in Salida are here:

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Leaving Salida continuing west on US 50 the highway continues to climb toward Monarch Pass….it was almost a relief when we ran into a slowdown going up….there was a really big wide load slowing things down. The gasoline engine really works going up long steep grades…

Drive to Monarch pass

At the top, over 11,000 feet, the wind was howling and it was chilly…

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Going on west there is some great scenery around Blue Mesa lake…

West of Gunison

We had to drive up another steep grade for 7 or 8 miles to get to the Black Canyon. This is a National Park and has about 12 places where you can walk out to see a view of the canyon. Ronnie had had enough of looking over railings straight down hundreds of feet. Here the canyon cuts through over 2000 feet down…

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Black Gorge 2

We went on to Montrose, CO where we are now on Saturday at a very lovely campground watching Wimbledon tennis. We plan to head to Moab, Utah tomorrow.