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Road Trip Day 2: South Dakota, Wyoming to Montana highlight Crazy Horse by Ann Treacy
September 20, 2022, 2:58 am
Filed under: Montana, South Dakota, Wyoming

We Spent the night in Wall, South Dakota. So we started our adventures at Wall Drug. It’s a huge old timey cowboy looking tourist shopping mall. They get two million visitors a year. (Population of SD is less than one million!) Sadly (or not) we left before it opened but we saw it and the 60 for brontosaurus.

[Added Sep 20: We are ourselves at our weakest moments. We might not be our best selves but it’s the self that someone sees and we have to remember that. With that it’s with thanks to a friend for reminding me of that. We went to Mount Rushmore the other day. I should have better framed it historically especially with our visit to Crazy Horse. Mount Rushmore as art and craft is impressive. What isn’t impressive is that it’s built on stolen Lakota Land. What isn’t impressive is that the men they chose to highlight are not the best of our history. By giving the land back, the US can be our best selves.]

Then a quick trip to the Black Hills. Mount Rushmore was much more impressive that I was expecting. It is of course the sculpture of heads of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. I suppose you could spend hours there. We didn’t but that doesn’t mean we didn’t like it. It was bigger than I expend so easy to access. (Fee was $5 parking since we were with grandpa.) The heads are about 60 feet tall. It was a father-son project by Gutzon Borglum and his son Lincoln; built between 1927-1941. Amazing.

Next stop – the Crazy Horse Memorial, which is a work in progress. Crazy Horse was a famously successful Lakota warrior. He fought Custer at the Battle of Rosebud, the last battle before the Battle of Little Big Horn, which led to Custer’s demise. Crazy Horse was killed after being captured by a military guard while allegedly resisting imprisonment.

The statue is impressive but like waiting for Godot the end has not come; it is unfinished. It was nice to see the model and the real sculpture at once. Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski was invited by Chief Henry Standing Bear based on his work at the World’s Fair in 1939. Apparently, they have an annual hike to the top the first weekend of June. It might be cool to a picture of yourself up by the nose when the sculpture is completed – but you might have to save that photo in a time capsule.

We also saw the Portraits of the Custer Survivors by David Humphreys Miller, who apparently moved from Ohio at age 16 to learn more about Native culture. He ended up painting the amazing images. He also learned the languages of all the warriors he painted from the Battle of Little Big Horn. It’s inspiring.

We drive through Wyoming. It was my (and Aine’s) first time there. It’s beautiful, stark and windy. We drove through the badlands to Montana, which is also amazing for a few folks from the Great Plains. Seeing the mountains in the horizon makes things seems contained, yet exciting somehow. It’s like being in a Twilight Zone where you’re chasing a horizon you never reach or maybe like that one where the dolls are stuck in a trash barrel and are striving to get out. Maybe I’m over thinking it.


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