A Travellerspoint blog

RV Day 36

Jewel Cave National Monument

"Jewel Cave, where the twin worlds of surface and subterranean collide, a place of mystery and discovery exists. Sights foreign and strange abound, with grandeur cast in stone, beauty found in darkness, and enlightenment in silence." Lydia Poppen - Park Ranger.

Jewel Cave National Monument contains Jewel Cave, currently the third longest cave in the world, with just over 166 miles of mapped passageways. This cave was awesome; so many different colors and rock and mineral formations. Alyssa loved it and was chuffed that the ranger compared a lot of the formations to different types of food: bacon strip, popcorn, caramel etc.
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Posted by V3USA 06:13 Comments (0)

RV Day 33

Custer State Park

Custer State Park is a state park and wildlife reserve in the Black Hills of southwestern South Dakota, USA. The park is South Dakota's largest and first state park, named after Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer. We drove the Wildlife Loop and we absolutely loved it. We have become used to beautiful scenery, but we were still in awe of the various landscapes that comprise Custer. From the granite spires and rock outcroppings, to the short grass prairie, Custer has it all. The bison, pronghorn, white tail deer, and burrows are an added bonus. Of course, the main attraction is the 1,300 head of buffalo and we got to see some including some little ones.

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Posted by V3USA 06:13 Comments (0)

RV Day 34

Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial

The Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore near Keystone and we decided to see the Crazy Horse Memorial first before dropping in on ‘the Presidents’. Sculpted by Danish-American Gutzon Borglum and his son, Lincoln Borglum, Mount Rushmore features 60-foot sculptures of the heads of four United States presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. This is something that you look at and have to just sit and stare at it. Even Alyssa enjoyed this one. The memorial is beautiful and makes you ask: Why? Regardless, it is truly fascinating to see in person.
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Like we said before, we saw Crazy Horse before we saw Mount Rushmore. I think if you are going to see both these monuments in one day, you should see Mount Rushmore first and then Crazy Horse and make sure you sit in on the 14 minute presentation on Crazy Horse to find out that the heads of the four Presidents actually fit in the head of Crazy Horse.

The Crazy Horse Memorial is a mountain monument under construction on privately held land in the Black Hills, in Custer County, South Dakota. It depicts Crazy Horse, an Oglala Lakota warrior, riding a horse and pointing into the distance to the Black Hills and saying, "My lands are where my dead lie buried." The memorial was commissioned by Henry Standing Bear, a Lakota elder, to be sculpted by Korczak Ziolkowski. It is operated by the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation, a private non-profit organization.

The memorial consists of the mountain carving (monument), the Indian Museum of North America, and the Native American Cultural Center. The monument is being carved out of Thunderhead Mountain on land considered sacred by some Oglala Lakota, between Custer and Hill City, roughly 27 km from Mount Rushmore. The sculpture's final dimensions are planned to be 641 feet (195 m) wide and 563 feet (172 m) high. The head of Crazy Horse will be 87 feet (27 m) high; by comparison, the heads of the four U.S. Presidents at Mount Rushmore are each 60 feet (18 m) high.

The monument has been in progress since 1948 and is far from completion. If completed, it may become the world's largest sculpture, as well as the first non-religious statue to hold this record since 1967.
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Posted by V3USA 06:10 Comments (0)

RV Days 24 - 25

Moab Utah

Moab is considered the Mountain bike capital of the world, so we clearly needed to organise a ride since we ended up staying for 9 nights and our good friend Cappy visited from Albuquerque with a couple of bikes, Specialised Camper and Fat Boy.

Our first ride was on the Moab brand trails, about 15 minutes drive North of Moab. The trail here are mainly beginner and intermediate so after arranging rental bikes for Ronnie and Alyssa, we headed to the tracks. Here we alternated some rides with Alyssa. We rode several of the bike trails that have different levels of riding in just a few miles. We all enjoyed them immensely. In fact Ronnie would have ridden more if not for a minor crash and cut knee.

On 25th April, Cappy and I ventured to Slickrock, perhaps the most popular mountain bike trail in the world, boasting over 100,000 visitors per year.

The word "slickrock" was derived from early settlers whose metal-shod horses found the expanses of barren rock slick to cross. Mountain bikers find just the opposite is true because the naked sandstone is as "slick" as coarse sandpaper. This unique medium is perfect for traction and allows the steep inclines and declines to be handled with relevant confidence. It is actually quite amazing how much traction your bike can achieve when ridden across an almost 45 degree angle. It takes some confidence before allowing the bike to direct you. The trail is well over 9 miles in length and our ride took about 2 1/2 hours. The time is required for a couple of reasons. Firstly, there is a lot of ascents and descents and your elevation is over 4,000 feet so your lungs notice this combination. Secondly, the views are amazing. Constantly are you looking into canyons and Arches National Park with the snow capped La Sal Mountains always in the background.

In hindsight, it would have been great to have hired the bikes for the duration of our stay and gone riding every afternoon. But this might be something Ronnie and I can do on another adventure.
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Posted by V3USA 18:56 Comments (0)

RV Day 35

Badlands National Park

They call it the Wall, extending a hundred miles through the dry plains of South Dakota. The Badlands is known as the best place in the world to study the effects of erosion. Layers of mud, sand and gravel for over 30 Million years have created fossils of many different prehistoric animals such as camels, crocodiles, sabre toothed cats and three toed horses as well as dinosaurs.

This area was once a portion of a giant salt water lake that drained after volcanic activity pushed the sea floor up. The hills are made of sedimentary rocks and clay rich soils and continues to erode away today as each season takes its toll. It has been described as one of the strangest and most spectacular landscapes on North America and we concur. The extremes of peaks, gullies and buttes surrounded by wide open prairies is somewhat strange, almost like they should not co exist. I guess that is one of its beauties.

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Posted by V3USA 18:41 Comments (0)

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