Monday, June 04, 2007

I'm in Love....!

...with South Dakota. Absolutely-crazy-I-miss-you-already in LOVE.

How did I get to be 45 years old without knowing what I was missing? Granted, I've always wanted to see Mt. Rushmore, but there is so much more than Mt. Rushmore over there.

The first thing you can't help but notice is that this area is a geologic wonder. Fabulous hillsides crumbling and sliding off their own faces, revealing sparkling teal, orange and green slate. Waterfalls just everywhere. One minute you are driving through a canyon, then you make one final turn and wham - you see nothing for miles but open ranges of buffalo grazing on ranches stretching to the next set of mountains on the horizon. It's just like the Dances with Wolves movie. Only in 360 degrees. The gentle roll of the hills are practically over-crowded with babbling brooks. Did you know that the entire town of Deadwood is a National Historic Landmark? Me either! But I can totally see why.

This is me with Holly at Mt. Rushmore. I can't imagine my life's work being something so gigantic and permanent. There is nothing else on our planet like it, except maybe Crazy Horse which is 50 times bigger and even more magnificent. I guess maybe the Great Sphinx is about as impressive... but it's sitting on the ground, not carved out of the entire face of a mountain.

This guy was just walking down the road swirling his gun like Hoss from Gunsmoke.

Here we are with a couple of cowboys.

Holly made a friend.

OK, this is pure Holly. I go in to use the bathroom about an hour after she did, and I see THIS on the floor. I freak out thinking we have some kind of animal in there. Then she just laughs and goes over and picks it up and says something like, "I love this thing - it really works!". Really... how many of you have friends that still travel with plastic toy poop?????

This was the outhouse at the start line.

Me with Holly at the start in Rochford, population 25.

One of the "houses" in Rochford. It's slapped together with scraps of wood and plastic bags. But you can't argue that the yard is AMAZING.

This girl looked like the bride of Grizzly Adams. She appeared to be running as a bandit. She sprinted like mad, then walked, then ran again, then walked. No race number, wearing canvas shorts, no bra, no pony-holder. I was guessing she lost a bet in a bar the night before. I wonder if she made it very far.

On the trail.

There was one spectator who drove all along the course and stopped every few miles to cheer people on. She became like family and we looked for her all day!

Running over another babbling brook.

Boulder, Stronger, Chris, and TriJack... this guy has your shirt!!!!!

View of Deadwood from the final resting place of "Wild Bill" Hickok and Calamity Jane.

This says "Courtesy of Tri-Club".... didn't know they had one of those in Deadwood.

From the "Weird..." file. This is a wreath made from human hair.

...It's on display next to a two headed lamb and a dinosaur skull.

The famous Bullock Hotel that Holly was too chicken to stay in with me because it's haunted - even featured on Unsolved Mysteries. So we stayed a block away at the Bullock's "Branch House".

The small orange square brick building is the Branch House of the Bullock Hotel.

So anyway, Holly wakes up last night because in the middle of the night she hears music playing really loudly. Thinking "who would be having a party this late? How rude", she rolls over, then starts thinking that um, there's no one else even staying at the Branch House that we've seen all weekend. Then she hears the sound of feet running down the hall. Maybe ten steps. Our room was at the END of the hall, and there were only two other rooms on our hallway, then you hit the steep and skinny stairs. It wouldn't take anywhere near ten steps to run down our hall way. Anyway, she didn't hear a door open or shut. So who ran down the hall, and where did they go, and why did it take so many steps? There were only a couple of rooms at this Branch hotel, and truthfully, we did not see anyone other than ourselves the whole weekend. Only 350 runners did the marathon, anyway.


Main Street in Deadwood.

The mirror where a lot of people have seen ghostly images. You can see scratch marks on the mirror, and I am telling you truthfully - there were no marks on this mirror. Not until I loaded them on my computer. I have several pictures - the all have these scratch marks, but in one picture they are shaped like the letter "A". Quite different than the way the marks look in this picture. Interesting.

I will be going back there for a week in August with Bob and the kids. There is so much to do that they will love:

1- pan for gold (seriously!)

2- visit the many caverns and caves

3- 4-story water park

4- biking on the gravel Mickelson trail - it goes right by Crazy Horse

5- visit the dinosaur graveyards

6- visit the 50 woolly mammoth graveyard

7- see the live wild west shows that are put on right in the streets in Lead, Deadwood, etc.

8- dig for fossils

9- ride horses

10- listen to some of the zillions of ghost stories told by the locals.

11- visit real ghost towns.
12 - learn about the history of the area (Bobby is a total history buff, and Bob actually majored in history)
and so on.....

Anyway, there is a race report buried in this post somewhere! Thirteen miles gently uphill, and 13 miles gently downhill. What I didn't realize was that we climbed up to an elevation of 6,225 ft. That's higher than Denver! Here in Medina we live comfortably at about, oh... 700 ft elevation.

We ran our usual pace, but found ourselves posting 11 and 12 minute miles instead! We finished in 4:47.

It was a beautiful, fun, but too short weekend.

Anybody out there been here? Were you as moved by this place as I am????