A Day of Learning

This was supposed to be an easy day – motorcycling wise. Now that I think about it actually was an easy day of riding. I’ve mentioned before how beautiful it is here in the Black Hills but I have to admit that dedicating 5 days to riding in a relatively small area means the possibility of riding new roads starts to diminish. The targets today turned into places instead of roads.

You may have heard of Kevin Costner – he has made many great movies. It seems that Dances with Wolves struck a chord in him. The end result (in addition to making him wealthy) was an increased interest in the American Indian culture. That culture was based partly on utilizing the abundance of the American bison (or buffalo if you prefer). Out of that interest Mr. Costner created a center called Tatanka (the Lakota word for buffalo). Our first stop of the day was a visit to Tatanka Center which is just outside of Deadwood, SD.

The visit included a short film where Kevin explains his reason for creating Tatanka. This is followed by a live “cultural experience” by one of the Lakota Sioux volunteers. It was interesting to hear and try to understand the relationship between the buffalo and the native American tribes. After the presentation the visitors are free to walk around to see an amazing set of bronze sculptures depicting a buffalo jump. (If you don’t recognize that term – Google is your friend and can help you). We ended up staying longer than I had originally guessed.

The presentation regarding the buffalo and the Lakota Sioux was well worth hearing.

The detail on the bronze sculptures was amazing. This facility was located only 15 miles from our rental here in Spearfish. That means we had been this way before just had never stopped to investigate.

Maybe it’s just me but I noticed that in the stillness around the sculptures, I experienced an almost spiritual connection to the area. Maybe that is part of the reason I keep coming back to the Black Hills.

From there we rode about 50 miles further south to Hill City area. That is where you can visit the Crazy Horse Monument. The has been “under construction” for over 70 years. You can see in the pictures below the plan for the finished sculpture. I doubt that I will be around long enough to see it completed. You might notice the darkening sky in the picture below.

When it was time to leave this site we discussed opportunities for lunch. The closest available were choices in Hill City.

Off we went to experience The Mangy Moose. The food was good, the flies were bad. The sky continued to look more threatening as we were finishing our meal. The radar was showing storms almost on top of us so several of our gang donned the hated rubber suits. The suits did their job – making us suffer in the heat and while there was never any rain all the way back to Spearfish.

We planned one last dinner with our friend Mike and Donna. Before we left for dinner we retrieved the trailers that will transport the bikes home. It’s a good thing we did that as dinner took a lot longer than expected and we were all tired by the time it was over (well over an hour waiting on a table). The food at the Steerfish Restaurant was good but about the last thing I needed.

We are packed (mostly), the refrigerator is empty (mostly), and the trash has been taken out. The plan is to load up the bikes early tomorrow and be on the road by 8:00 AM local time. We’ve got a long way to go. Thanks for following along.

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