Saturday, July 28, 2007

South Dakota part III !!!!

Last entry here, don't get me wrong, I've got 500 + pictures, but I don't want to be like Uncle Ernie and the slide machine at Christmas!! Anyway, here is Jesscera feeding the burros in Custer State Park. There are 2 burrow packs in Custer, descendants of the burros used in the 30's and before to haul people and equipment up to Harney peak. They are quite popular with tourists, as they are the only animals in the park that you can legally feed.... mind you, park policy discourages this by advising you are feeding them "at your own risk" but the way the burros swarm cars they know which side of the bread is buttered!!!
Weds morning was spent with Jesscera frolicking in the waterpark, and I went shopping!! I hit all the bead shops I could find, found great bagels ( the place made their own cream cheese, unbelievably yummy!! ) and hit some antique and art galleries. that afternoon was tour 2. We got to ride the 1880 train (which the oldest part seems to be a steam engine built in 1913 but who's counting?) hit a real gold mine (the above picture, which is the only picture of all 3 of us, mental note on next vacation, hand off the camera more!) and panned for gold flakes. We also visited keystone and hill city briefly, and finally ended up at Mt Rushmore again, this time for the lighting ceremony.

Interesting note about Weds... the weather. Hill city had a freak hailstone storm, we luckily missed it but got to see the damage and stones, some of them as large as a golf balls. This was after an hour of melting! We had fog and rain up on Mt. Rushmore, but miraculously it cleared up just in time for the lighting ceremony.
Thurs it was time to leave our lovely hotel and drive to hot springs. On the way we stopped in Hill City again, checked out the very kewl if *tiny* museum there, which had the largest nautilus we have every seen !! Most of them were gemstone quality, this picture shows the opal in this specimen pretty well, but keep in mind the darn thing was almost 2 FEET ACROSS! really kewl little museum. Here is Jesscera looking through her namesake's. We wandered into Custer State park again, and hit Needles highway, the other main twisty scenic narrow road. Roger said ( the tour guy from Tues) that "scenic highway" is a swear word in South Dakota! I think he's right, or should be! LOL!!

Doesn't that look like fun?? Funny we didn't scare the other cars like the bus did!
Here is Jesscera and Jerry on one of the needle's formations. We also hit a couple of rock shops, got some kewl stones for wire wrapping ( wooo hooo!) and Jesscera and Jerry got some geodes. I had a strong desire to buy rose quartz's rough to put in the yard.. nearly every business out there had boulder sized rock of the stuff, and it's really pretty that way!! Jerry refused to let me haul home 150 lbs of it. I believe it's the state stone, if it's not it should be, and it's a darker pink than what I normally see. I wished I'd bought more of it than the few chunks I got.
We stopped by Jewel Cave, but we missed the last tour, so we bought books and got back on the road to Hot Springs. Jerry has already stated if we go to SD again we are to allot 1 full day to the cave. If you go to SD and like caves, I would recommend Jewel Cave as the top pick, judging by the books we bought!
Hot Springs is the home of the Mammoth Site, which is a most excellent paleontology site. It is a active site, they are actually digging up bones in front of you. Kewlest of all They have a Jr. paleo program, and so Fri we went to the site, and Jesscera got to dig up bones.

Now OK, the bones in the kid's dig are fakes, but they are cast directly from real finds at the site, and I'm proud to say Jesscera uncovered a tusk. The program only lasts 1-1/2 hrs, so she so couldn't completely expose it.. it's 2 big, probably would of been taller than she is!.

Fri we drove to Mitchell, and Sat we were going to check out the doll museum, the discovery museum and the corn palace. However they had a parade and rodeo going on, and we made a family decision to just get the heck out of dodge. To be honest, we all had such a good time on the trip, but it was time to go home. So we did!!
I hope you all enjoyed the travelogue, and seriously if your Christmas actives are little light and you want slides, just call Uncle Kat !! LOL

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Socks said...
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