Day 202 Rapid City SD
Oct 31, 2008
|Day 202 Friday 31st October Rapid City SD
Today is Halloween here in the US. We have really enjoyed seeing all their decorations along the road side, in private homes and of course in all the businesses you pass along the way, it’s very colourful. I guess it’s a bit like their Christmas decorations, at times they can overdo it, compared to what we do at home, but it is wonderful to see.
We left our tranquil surroundings of the State Park this morning, said goodbye to the wandering deer and headed up the road to Crazy Horse. Firstly the road that runs past the State Park closed just a mile or so up the hill, we only needed another 4 miles to reach the junction we required, to take another route to get back to that same junction we had to drive for another hour. Oh well it was a nice drive anyway and were able to get a second look at the herd of Bison and Antelope we saw yesterday.
Crazy Horse is just a few miles north of the township of Custer and the drive getting there was just beautiful, particularly one section where we were able to drive around Stockade Lake. This lake was so still and I got some wonderful reflections shots – we also stopped for morning tea here, and Steve dropped in a line, but the fish had “left the building” I guess, and headed south for the winter… ha ha.
Crazy Horse Memorial honours the warrior who helped defeat Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn. The sculptor, Korczak Ziolkowski, who also worked on the Mt Rushmore monument, was asked to design a similar monument for the American Indians. They believed if the ‘white’ Americans could honour their hero’s, so should the Indians honour one of their Heros.
Korczak, born in Boston or Polish descent, married Ruth and had 10 children. Korczak commenced his work alone, on the mountain in June1948. He had $174 left to his name and refused any Government funding, which is still the case today.
During the 60 year period since then, only the face of Crazy Horse has been completed, which was unveiled and dedicated on June 3rd 1998. The rest of his body and his horse have yet to be done, at this rate it will take another 50-70 years to complete. Korczak died in 1982 and 7 of his 10 children are assisting his wife Ruth with the current construction.
When comparing the size of Mt Rushmore whose faces are approx 60’ in height, Crazy Horse, when completed will be enormous. The face alone is 87 ½ feet high, equal to a nine story building. We were actually more impressed with Mt Rushmore.
Leaving this area we drove north to Rapid City as Steve wanted to take a look at the Air and Space Museum which is located next to Ellsworth AFB. There are some 28 aircraft and missiles on display.
Steve wrote: I saw the Minuteman missile silo which played a significant part in the Cold War defence system of the 1960’s. The silo, built underground was in the shape of a cylinder with outer walls/shell that were 4’ thick of reinforced concrete and steel; the inner rooms were suspended on spring so as to reduce the impact should the silo be hit by an enemy bomb.
I saw a B-1B Bomber, a replacement for the B52 bomber which was also there. It was amusing to see an F-111 as a museum exhibit (first off the production line in 1960) as the plane is still an important part of the Australian Air Force. When Australia retires these planes, they will have been flying for about 60 years. It begs the question; what the does the USAF have now that is public knowledge and what does it have that isn’t public knowledge.
Unfortunately I didn’t see any of the current aircraft, although we did see a military aircraft during the day and heard one take-off or landing when I was inside the museum.
Tonite we are back at our favourite camping spot at Uncle Wallys.