Sunday, August 13, 2006

Buffalo as far as the eye can see!

Saturday 12th August started out a rather dull, overcast and cool (70F)day with a forecast of rain later!! Thought this might coax the buffalo out from the trees where they were probably hiding in yesterdays 100F temperatures. Rode back into the Black Hills along Iron Mountain Road and down into Custer State Park. Along the way stopped to chat to a park warden who said buffalo had been seen this morning to the west of the park on SD Highway 85. Headed off in that direction but along the way was distracted by sightings of deer, wild horses and wild turkeys, all of which required a lengthy photo session. Eventually turned onto Highway 85 and within 3 miles came to an abrupt halt as the road was blocked by hundreds of buffalo. Some crossing the road very casually and slowly. Others just standing in the middle of the road defying you to run them over in front of the ever watchful park wardens. What a magnificent sight. They were dotted over the land on either side of the road and looked just like a scene from an American Western film.

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Just sat at the side of the road and marvelled at the sight. Could almost imagine I was back in the early pioneering days of the 1860s.

Flushed with success decided to push my luck and head for Needles Highway, another narrow twisting road that passes through an eerie landscape of natural granite pillars 60-100 feet tall.

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Then the rain started and the temperature dropped to 60F! Luckily I had my lightweight one-piece waterproof overalls with me so continued my journey dry on the inside at least. The landscape was breathtaking, even in the rain, and eventually the road passed through another short, very narrow tunnel into the middle of a circular cluster of these granite needles called "The eye of the needle".

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By this time I was feeling hungry so continued a few miles along the road to the amusingly named Hill City, a small one street town with a population of 708. However, it did have an amazing 1950s style diner called the Route 16 Diner and they serve a really tasty selection of burgers and pizzas (but no Pizza Express points or Pinot Grigio).

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Then the sun came out and I returned to the campsite via the Crazy Horse Monument of which very little can be said as it's a long way from being finished despite having been started in 1948.

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However, it is a much more ambitious project than Mount Rushmore and is the result of the vision and determination of two men, sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski and Chief Henry Standing Bear, to show that "... the red man also had heroes". Ziolkowski began the project single-handed and without any federal funding. He has since died, but his family carry on the work he started with public subscriptions. They are determined to complete the memorial without federal funding and have even turned down an offer of $10million.

What a fun filled day. I need a beer.


Anonymous Sandy said...

This really does sound like the trip of a lifetime! Fancy seeing wild turkeys!! What a strange image that conjures. Not to mention all those buffalo... Knocks the New Forest Highland Cattle on the road into Sway into a cocked hat!
You were very brave to tackle the narrow hill roads, but I suppose they were fully constructed & lacked the gravel experience of the satnav sight-seeing tour, so were a walk in the park for you?
Take care Terry, & ride safe (& of course no beers until After your Harley is parked up for the night...)
Love & stuff

11:38 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, Looks as if you are having a great time. Ride safe brother, see you when you get back.

5:23 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pictures are great. Really add to your travelogue.
The only way to appreciate Crazy Horse is to pay the fee to enter and then see the film of the whole process. It is privately funded. He did not want the government to get involved. It is a family affair that is doing it. To me it is a wonder of determination by a private family.

Things should quiet down a little now with fewr cycles. So glad you are enjoying your dream. Hope Ann is enjoying it also. MD

12:58 am  
Anonymous Sandy said...

You've obviously worked out how to use your fancy new camera to good effect - the photographs are splendid!
Ride safe, biker-boy
Hugs & kisses
love Sandy(x)(x)(x)

6:23 pm  
Anonymous Big Aggie said...

A big hug for you for remembering the date! What a card!! You must be careful when using your pogo stick in similar circumstances or there could be a serious injury.

Who is the bird?

Come back soon and we'll get the kettle on.


6:02 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You seem to be having the trip of your life Buz. Take care.
Love Fiona XX

8:42 am  
Anonymous Herbert said...

Visions of Tery on a pogo stick - the mind boggles. It almost matches the idea of the pilgrim on his ass.

2:08 pm  

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