Wednesday, May 13, 2009

From the Blackhills to the Badlands to Boston

After leaving the Little Big Horn Battlefield area, we stopped in Spearfish, SD for the night which is just at the edge of the Blackhills of South Dakota. One of the towns in the area I wanted to visit was Deadwood. Custer had some impact on this town as it was members of his troops who discovered gold in the area which eventually led to the rise of Deadwood, the influx of white miners into the Blackhills and the elimination of the local Indians.
I loved the HBO series called Deadwood which also has been eliminated.
Besides gold, Deadwood is famous for being the place where Wild Bill Hickok was murdered by Jack McCall. Wild Bill was playing poker and holding Aces and Eights when he was shot in the back (of the head). As Deadwood was a territory at the time and there was no real law, a quick trial ensued. McCall was acquited claiming revenge for the death of a brother. The verdict was later overturned and he was eventually hanged for the murder. Calamity Jane is buried next to Wild Bill.

Next on the Badlands tour was the Crazy Horse Memorial near Custer, SD. This is mammoth rock sculpture of Crazy Horse on a horse pointing to his land/people. It has a long way to go to be completed. The work began more than 60 years ago by Korczak Ziolkowski who was from Boston. The face was completed in 1998.

As there is no known photo of Crazy Horse, the image is meant to represent all Indian Warriors. He will be pointing to the land of his people. When asked "where is your land?", Crazy Horse said "my land is where my dead lie buried." The image on the left is the model and the right shows the progress. I don't think I'll live to see it completed.

Not far from Crazy Horse is Mount Rushmore, another place I've always wanted to see. It is pretty impressive but smaller than one might expect. In fact, all of the presidents can fit into Crazy Horse's hair on the Crazy Horse Memorial. Maybe we can add another head someday.

Next we headed for Wall SD for lunch, which gets its notoriety from Wall Drug, a 4 square block, one story emporium. Picture all the tourist shops from any tourist town all crammed into one building. Seems to be a destination spot for some people. I don't get it. But it is near Badlands National Park, so we took the Badlands loop road to get one last use of our lifetime, senior National Park pass. What a surprise. This place was amazing. The landscape really was from another world. The area had been a sea, then a jungle then a desert. Very little vegitation and rock formations that looked like dripping sand castles. Even though we had a 6 hour ride to Sioux Falls ahead of us, we kept stopping at each overlook. Here are a couple of shots.

Then there is the obligatory rainbow shot. This one is a double. You can just see the colors of a second rainbow to the right.

Well, folks, that will about do it for this particular tour. By the time some of you read this we will be home. The whole 3+ months has been an unbelievable time for us and I'm glad some of you didn't mind me sharing it with you. I was reluctant to do a blog, but I got into it and enjoyed it myself. I look at it like a reverse answering machine, you can get messages from me without having to actually talk to me. See you all soon. By the way, I will have a showing of any paintings I did from this trip in a gallery in Norwood in October. I'll keep you all posted.


  1. Tony, thanks for sharing your vacation with us - you did a great job with the photos and narrative. I can't wait for your next trip!


  2. Thanks Bob, we'll be in touch.

  3. Welcome back Tony. Great blogging! Can't wait for the next "report" from wherever future blogging takes you. Look forward to seeing your artwork.

  4. Hi Tony,
    Just caught up with the trip home. Enjoyed all of it.

    Actually, I have enjoyed your blog for the whole time you have written it. You always chose interesting photos and pictures to enliven the prose. Some of those pix were hear-stopping as you were off-roading or showing off the canyons.

    Welcome home. Look forward to the show in the fall.

  5. Welcome home, Tony! I've enjoyed looking at your Red Rock Report while I've been on the road myself (again).

  6. Happened upon your "blog" and enjoyed it immesely. I'm just learning about Google and the great stuff available. Wow.
    However, the town you described at the edge of the badlands is not called Fishspear. It is Spearfish, South Dakota! Oh my. Other than that (which sort of startled me) it was a great remembrance.