Then comes the magic. In the middle of these seemingly endless plains, there arises a magnificent stone structure, a giant bluff, or other geologic masterwork. I haven't figured out how, through exposure to the elements over millions of years, some stone towers/bluffs/hillsides remain while others do not. In any case, we saw some interesting topography at the Scottsbluff National Monument
and again at Chimney Rock, which is a most amazing sight in the middle of a whole lot of nothing.
Oh, but there might be snakes. Probably not on the day we visited, though, since it was cold.
The next day we headed out for Rapid City, SD. This was a busy day of sightseeing, as it turned out. Again, we drove on long, straight roads that were mostly empty and admired the prairies and ranches. We had a surprise on one road, however, when we came upon a cattle drive happening right on the highway. Cows, dogs, horses, cowboys, and ATVs. Herding the cows to a new pasture somewhere down the road apiece. We were the only car coming, so they told us to go ahead, "just honk at them and they'll move." Well they didn't and finally one of the kids on an ATV drove ahead of us and got those cows to move.
Back to the usual.
The next stop was one of my favorites. We visited the unfinished Crazy Horse Monument. The visitor's center is very nice and it was great to learn about the project and the family of the artist who is carrying on his legacy and plan. How it looks:
How it will look if it's ever finished:
Mt. Rushmore came next. It was nice but to tell you the truth, I liked Crazy Horse better. I liked the story behind it and the fact that it's much bigger. When you view Mt. Rushmore second, I think it really pales in comparison. But it was sunny by then and we ate lunch there in the cafeteria that was featured in the Hitchcock film, North by Northwest. That was fun.
Rapid City turned out to be a very nice town. When we left, we drove by a historic district full of cute, well preserved homes. From there we headed to Gillette, WY. Along the way, we stopped at Devil's Tower. If you saw the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, you know Devil's Tower. It was one of the most enjoyable hours I've spent. The tower itself is awe-inspiring, but the National Monument (which I think was the first designated as such in the US in 1906) was really nice. There was a small visitor's center and a couple of trails that you could take to walk around the tower and see it from all sides. You were walking through essentially unspoiled forest and it was lovely. There were climbers there going up the tower and it was fun to see them, too.
Enough for today. I'll pick up the story next time. But first, here's my car knitting. Handspun socks!
Note: I looked for Rocky Raccoon in the Black Hills but there was no sign of him.