Thursday, 16 September 2010

Wildwest Hero - Electric Light Orchestra

Ride the range all the day, 'till the first fading light
Be with my Western girl by the fire o' so bright
I'd be the Indian's friend let them live to be free
Riding into the sunset I wish I could be
A wild west hero

Tuesday 14th September 2010

Continuing from the short note of Wednesday, the afore mentioned Terry took care of my bag, while I boarded the tour bus which continued to collect other visitors from various hotels. Having picked up the last of these (3 very loud women) the tour, along with the commentary, started in earnest but despite this the 3 females continued to 'cackle'. In my very best English accent and as politely as possible I informed them that I had paid 'top dollar' for this trip and would much rather listen to the driver than them. This met with almost a ;standing ovation' and while I was met with many 'black looks' for the rest of the day (which really bothered me - yeah alright) we hardly heard another peep! Our commentator advised that a number of wild creatures could be encountered during the course of the day, and if we should spot anything we should call out to allow him to stop.

It was only a matter of minutes before the first 'call' rang out directing our attentions to a group of

Wild Turkey right alongside the road, the first of several groups.

It will be appreciated that some of these shots were taken through the bus window, the others are simply poor photography!

Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore near Keystone, South Dakota, in the United States. Sculpted by Gutzon Borglum and later by his son Lincoln Borglum, Mount Rushmore features 60-foot (18 m) sculptures of the heads of 4 former United States presidents, with the entire memorial covering 1,278.45 acres (5.17 km2) and is 5,725 feet (1,745 m) above sea level.

South Dakota historian Doane Robinson is credited with conceiving the idea of carving the likenesses of famous people into the Black Hills region of South Dakota in order to promote tourism in the region. Robinson's initial idea was to sculpt the Needles; however, Gutzon Borglum rejected the Needles site and chose the larger Mount Rushmore. Borglum also decided the sculpture should have a more national focus, and chose the four presidents whose likenesses would be carved into the mountain. After securing federal funding, construction on the memorial began in 1927, and the presidents' faces were completed between 1934 and 1939. Upon Gutzon Borglum's death in March 1941, his son Lincoln Borglum took over construction and although the initial concept called for each president to be depicted from head to waist, lack of funding forced construction to end in October 1941.

The U.S. National Park Service took control of the memorial in 1933, while it was still under construction, and manages the memorial to the present day. It attracts approximately two million people annually.

The approach colonnade, sporting the 50 flags of each individual State.

(in order from left to right) George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

(from left to right) me and a large lady.

A closer view and in detail

George Washington 22/02/1732 - 14/12/1799 the 'first' President of the United States from 1789 to 1797.

Thomas Jefferson 13/04/1743 - 04/07/1826 the 'third' President of the United States from 1801 to 1809

Theodore 'Teddy' Roosevelt 27/10/1858 - 06/01/1919 the 'twenty sixth' President of the United States from 1901 to 1908.

Abraham Lincoln 12/02.1809 - 15/04/1865 the 'sixteenth' President of the United States from 1861 to 1865.

It may be of interest to know that Mount Rushmore National Monument is only the colloquial name given to the sculpture, the correct title being the 'Shrine of Democracy'.

(John) Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum 25/03/1867 to 06/03/1941

Chipping Sparrow juvenile

Yellow-rumped Warbler male

Constructors 'Roll of Honour'.

From here we ate in a typically decorated 'wild west' restaurant on Buffalo stew and freshly baked bread, before continuing to the (mandatory) gift shop.

Crazy Horse (Lakota: Tȟašúŋke Witkó), literally "His-Horse-Is-Spirited" (ca. 1840 -September 5, 1877) was a Native American war leader of the Oglala Lakota. He took up arms against the U.S. Federal government to fight against encroachments on the territories and way of life of the Lakota people, including leading a war party at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in June 1876. After surrendering to U.S. troops under General Crook in 1877, Crazy Horse was fatally wounded by a military guard while allegedly resisting imprisonment at Camp Robinson in present-day Nebraska. He ranks among the most notable and iconic of Native American tribal members and has been honored by the U.S. Postal Service with a 13¢ Great Americans series postage stamp.

Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski and Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear ( who's life spanned the Battle of the Little Big Horn, the Wounded Knee Massacre, and the Indian Reorganization Act) officially started Crazy Horse Memorial June 3, 1948. The Memorial mission is to honour the culture, tradition and living heritage of North American Indians.

“My fellow chiefs and I would like the white man to know that the red man had great heroes too.” Those words, written by Chief Henry Standing Bear, rang true to sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski.

More than sixty years of work in removing more than nine million tons of stone have helped the red man’s hero emerge from Thunderhead Mountain in the Black Hills of South Dakota, now hosts over one million visitors a year. By comparison there were just 500,000 tons of stone blasted from the Rushmore sit, while the 4 Presidents would fit easily into just the head of Crazy Horse.

Distant view of the Crazy Horse Memorial only part finished.

After the death of sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski, 7 of his 10 children, still today, strive to complete the monument.

Despite continued hard work some say it will never be finished.

A model outside of the Indian museum shows how the finished article should look, by comparison to the original in the distance.

In front of his captors, Crazy Horse raised his arm and pointed whilst uttering these words.

Some of the artifacts inside the museum.

Black Buffalo Woman

Korczak Ziolkowski's motorbike.

Tribal headdresses and

other clothing
Ceremonial weapons presented to

Henry Standing Bear.

Nature Gates

in close up.

Korczak Ziolkowski's plaque.

A final look back at Washington on the downward raod.

Black Hills Central Railroad

locomotive approaching.

Carriage interior.

1880 Train outside museum.

On the drive back were saw, what they in the know thought was, a 'wildfire' too much smoke and billowing for a 'controlled burn. I though I was back home and it ws Radipole Nature Reserve?

Back at the Greyhound depot, Terry had, true to her word, looked after my belongings and issued the ticket for the next leg of the journey. There I also met Sarah Little Cloud of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe who made me a small Indian bead Terrapin stuffed with sage, giving it to me for 'good luck' as we ended our conversation. Alan, who had driven the last leg was again on the bus, and afforded me the front seat as we started out for Denver, Colorado.

Birds added to the lists:- Wild Turkey, Mallard and Mountain Bluebird (lifer).

Trip Total - 30 World Lifers - 4

Wednesday 15th September 2010 cont.

Arriving at Colorado Springs we followed the line of the

Rocky Mountain foothills.

While this was just an interesting rocky outcrop - yawn!

Yet another grasshopper / Cricket.

Killdeer perched by a stagnant pool.

The same bird in flight.

I was told, by one of the biggest black guys I have ever seen, that this is a Water Mochasin

one of the most venomous snakes on the continent.

There was never any intent to stay in Colorado and just before crossing the border into Texas and in the small town of Campo, there was a brown road sign depicting a pair of binnoculars with the words Prairie Chicken and pointing down a small track. With no chance of stopping this was my signal to get those bins to my eyes and scan. There was also a good chance of Greater Roadrunner, but in the event neither materialised.

Less that a mile inside the State the Nodding Donkeys started to appear (not surprisingly) which were the first to be seen this trip.

Mourning Dove

and as a footnote:- Having stopped at Amarillo and Oklahoma City today, I have now visited all the places named in the lyric of the classic song Route 66.

If you ever plan to motor west,
Travel my way, take the highway that is best.
Get your kicks on route 66.

It winds from Chicago to LA,
More than two thousand miles all the way.
Get your kicks on route sixty-six.

Now you go through Saint Louis
Joplin, Missouri,
and Oklahoma City is mighty pretty.
You see Amarillo,
Gallup, New Mexico,
Flagstaff, Arizona.
Don't forget Winona,
Kingman, Barstow, San Bernandino.

Won't you get hip to this timely tip:
When you make that California trip
Get your kicks on route 66.


  1. another great post. Enjoy the rest of your trip

    Meanwhile just thought I'd mention this post which discusses Radipole:

  2. Thank you for your kind 'comments' DD and the Blog Link, interesting.
    Yours aye