Having a “blast” and Sturgis too!

We have spent the past week listening to the roar of motorcycles, all over the Black Hills.  The 74th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is in full swing this week, and we have enjoyed meeting riders from around the world who are visiting Crazy Horse during their stay.  We also decided to take a few hours on our day off and visit the city of Sturgis.  They say attendance is down this year, estimating 200,000 – 450,000 riders are attending this years rally.  Since 2015 will be the 75th anniversary of the rally, they believe many riders are waiting until next year to attend.  And if you are planning on bringing your family to the Black Hills next summer, you may want to avoid the first two weeks in August, as they are expecting one million riders next year!

During the week of the Sturgis Rally, Crazy Horse had several additional blasts on the mountain for our guests.  You can view the blast from Monday, August 4th, by clicking HERE.  The video clip will show just how small 750 tons of granite is, compared to the overall size of the mountain.  We had thousands of visitors attending the blast on Monday.  I work in the Indian Room gift shop, which sells items such as jewelry, pottery, paintings, and craft items hand-made by Native Americans.  This week our visitors have been mostly male, and I have really come to appreciate how quick and efficient men are as shoppers!

I had one male guest try on one ring, and he said “I’ll take it”.  I was explaining to him that women usually need to look through all the ring trays, then ask their family/friends what they think.  It can take 15-30 minutes for women to shop for a ring.  He laughed, turned to his friend and asked “Does this ring make me look fat?!!!”

We also had a visit last week from our good friends Mike and Sue, whom we have known since college.  Their daughter Jordan had a cheerleading camp on the Eastern side of the state, so they ventured west for a few days.  It was a lot of fun catching up with them. Hopefully we can see them more often on our travels!  Go Jackrabbits!

Sue, Dan and Mike

Sue, Dan and Mike

I did have another unusual visitor this week.  It is not everyday that a couple comes in with their pet parrot, “Miss Bubba”!

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Many of the “hard-core” bikers, are busy shopping for gifts for their grandchildren!  It has really been a fun week of work.  A lot of our visitors have commented that they never heard about our place, and were so thankful they stopped by.  They were also thankful that Crazy Horse didn’t raise their prices like many of the other attractions have done during the rally.  It is only $5.00 per rider, and many have been so overwhelmed during their visit, that they have made additional donations to the foundation.

I have told many of the riders the best thing they can do is tell others about Crazy Horse Memorial, because about 25-30% of the people who come to the ticket booth, refuse to pay and turn around.  They don’t want to pay for something they can see from the road, or something that is “not finished”.  They don’t understand all that there is to see and do, and think they are getting ripped off by having to pay.  Trust me, you will get your money’s worth.  So many people are so thankful for the memorial.

But enough about work, on to the fun and craziness at Sturgis!  We drove up scenic Highway 385, which goes into Deadwood, and then on to Sturgis.  It is about an hour drive taking this route, and we passed thousands of motorcyclists on the way.  It was a blast seeing so many riders on the road.

 

Hwy 385

Hwy 385

on the way to Sturgis

on the way to Sturgis

 

This wayside was a popular stop-off for the riders.

gotta go!

gotta go!

Downtown Sturgis had bikes lined up for blocks and blocks.

downtown Sturgis

downtown Sturgis

blocks full of bikes

blocks full of bikes

These were some of our favorites.

DSC01323 (1) DSC01318 (1) DSC01317 (1) DSC01311 (1) DSC01309 (1) DSC01301 (1)

very patriotic

very patriotic

 

This one can sure hold a lot of stuff!

Motorcycle RV?

Motorcycle RV?

Always travel with your pets!

Shilo

Shilo

There were many food vendors, selling all kinds of food (this is for you Mary Y!!!)

yummy!

yummy!

 

We also took some time to visit the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum, but since this blog is already long and full of photos, I will do a separate post on that.  Sturgis has a reputation for “anything goes”, and even though we were only there a few hours, during the afternoon, we did manage to see a few “unique” fashion accessories, as well as interesting apparel choices (note:  these are a little more “R” rated photos, so proceed at your own risk!)

not the food pasties

not the food pasties

supporting Breast Cancer!

supporting Breast Cancer!

Full body tattoos is very popular:

IMG_20140807_131212_546-1 IMG_20140807_140424_924 (1) Many bikers wear chaps when they are riding, and there are certainly many looks with the chaps:

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We had a great time visiting Sturgis during the rally.  We pray that all the riders have safe travels home.

Quote for the day:  “You do not need a therapist if you own a motorcycle, any kind of motorcycle!” – Dan Aykryod

 

 

 

 

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

After our first foggy visit to Mount Rushmore, we returned with our friends Forrest and Mary while they were in town.  As you approach the memorial from Highway 244 out of Hill City, you enter past a turnout that displays a profile of George Washington.  When we pulled in to the turnout, not a single person was looking up at George, and we quickly discovered what all the excitement was about.  There were Rocky Mountain Goats on both sides of the roadway,   We had these two right in the parking lot.

Mom and baby

Mom and baby

And a more adventurous pair across the roadway into the hillside.  These goats were introduced to the Black Hills in the 1920’s, and have adapted quite well to the area.

DSC_0319 (1)When Gutzon Borglum started carving Mount Rushmore, he originally planned to put Thomas Jefferson on the right  side of Washington.  After the workers started blocking out his face, it was discovered there was not enough good quality rock for carving, so they blew up what they hard started.  As a result, it left a good profile of Washington.

profile of Washington

profile of Washington

As you enter the memorial, you go through the Avenue of Flags, which has 56 flags representing all of the states and territories of the US.  It also makes for a popular photo opportunity.

Dan, Forrest & Mary

Dan, Forrest & Mary

The memorial has a Grand View Terrace, for excellent views of Mount Rushmore.  Beneath the terrace if the Lincoln Borglum (named after the sculptors son), which contains a museum, theatre and bookstore.  The museum has a photograph of what Mount Rushmore looked like prior to the construction.

prior to October 1927

prior to October 1927

After Gutzon Borglum died in 1941, his son Lincoln spent seven months working on the monument, but then Congress declared the monument complete on October 31, 1941  This is how the memorial looks today.  The heads are 40 feet tall.  (since we are working at Crazy Horse Memorial, I do have to note that all four heads of Mount Rushmore will fit on the side of Crazy Horse’s head!)

Mount Rushmore 7/2014

Mount Rushmore 7/2014

There is a walking path that takes you a little closer to the memorial, and down to the sculptors studio.  In the studio, there is a 1/12th scale model of what Borglum had planned for Mount Rushmore.  His plans were never completed.  All of the Presidents were to be carved down to the waist.

1/12th scale model

1/12th scale model

The small museum near the visitors center has many photographs and articles that go into great detail on the history of the memorial.  It also talks about the pointer device that was used to project the dimensions from the 1/12th scale model on to the mountain for carving.  This photograph demonstrates an example of the pointer (Math is important!)

pointer device

pointer device

We took the walking path around the memorial, and were able to get a nice photograph of the grand view terrace, and the amphitheater.  They have a nightly lighting ceremony, which we plan on attending one of these nights. (admission to the memorial is free, but there is an $11.00 annual parking pass).

Grand View terrace & ampitheater

Grand View terrace & amphitheater

Mount Rushmore is a “must see” item if you are in the area.

Quote of the day:  “Well, those figures were there for forty million years.  All I had to do was dynamite 400,000 tons of granite to bring them into view.”  – Gutzon Borglum