Finally, an earlier start and on the road by 8:00am. Headed out to Devils Tower and as you would see by the GPS tracker, we ended up doing a big loop. Not sure who to blame yet, confusion on behalf of the Garmin, my bad plotting or something else. All I know is we didn't go where I planned and as I pulled up at the stop sign at the entry to the parking lot at the Devils Tower, the GPS said "Turn left onto Highway 100". Ah, no, I don't think so. Never mind, at least I didn't do the same road twice.
The Devils Tower is a very strange and challenging monolith. Of igneous rock though not volcanic, it was formed by molten magma squeezing up through the crust layer then cooling and the properties of the material caused it to form generally hexagonal columns. A sacred site to many Indian tribes, not just the local ones. A bit like Uluru I suppose. Spent a bit longer than intended here as it was quite fascinating. I found the first wild animal at large here also but it was too quick to get a photo. A chipmunk, I didn't realise they were so small, 100mm high. Never mind, we got a photo later in the day. On the way out of the park, there is an area of open country where there were a number of cars parked on the side of the road. Checking it out on the way back, the area was thick with Black-tailed Prairie Dogs. Second wild animal at large for the day.
From Devils Tower we headed, via the round-a-bout route, to Newcastle then into South Dakota through the Black Hills to Custer with the intention of checking out Custer State Park but after deliberating on our other goals, we elected to head for the Chief Crazy Horse Memorial. This is an incredible tale of one man's obsession to achieve a memorial for the Indian tribes. The sculpture was commenced in 1948 and there is no project end date. More than just a sculpture, it is proposed that there will be a museum and university among other things on the site, all funded by donations, tourist fees and souvenir sales.
When completed, currently just the face unveiled in 1998 and working on the hand, the sculpture will be the biggest in the world, (it uses the complete mountain), towering over the Sphinx and even the pyramid of Cheops and may take as long to complete. The sculptor who commenced the project has since passed away and it is being continued by his large family of children. I'll never see it completed that's for sure. Sorry about the lack of detail, but the brochure seems to have gone missing.
Next it was on to the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, another grand idea and plan by a sculptor. This one at least got Federal Government funding but that ran out as the Second World War started chewing up funds in 1941 and so was never actually fully completed. Quite impressive really but seemed small when compared to the Chief Crazy Horse we had seen earlier. We managed to get a photo of a Chipmunk here. Went back up to Mt Rushmore for a show tonight telling the tale of the meaning behind the use of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln and finishing when an honoring of all servicemen present.
In Keystone tonight and tomorrow the ride continues and as our planned route was to pass by the eastern edge of Custer State park, we will detour for a ride through to see the Buffalo.
405 klms today, total to date 3434 klms.