Crazy Horse Memorial when completed will be 563 feet high and 641 long. It was started decades ago by Korczak Ziolkowski and his children are working on the sculpture today. The face was completed in 1998. The purpose is to provide a memorial to not only the great leader of the Lakota tribe but also to be a remembrance of Native American History in the Black Hills that are dear to the Lakota.
Next it was onto Mount Rushmore which was just a few miles down the highway. Impressive, spectacular, and amazing does not begin to describe the feelings we had gazing upon that mount. The wonderment of how they were able to carve such a massive sculpture with such fine detail visible from such a far distance is mind boggling. The gallery describing how this endeavor was accomplished was just as impressive as viewing the 4 presidents. A true wonder and well worth the time and distance to get here. A valued testament and tribute to our great leaders.
St. Joseph, Missouri was all a buzz about the eclipse. Our campground was packed with people from all over the country, lots of people wearing eclipse tee shirts and the local news was giving continuous coverage. The weather was cloudy and rainy but that did not dampen anyone’s enthusiasm for the event. The clouds obstructed the viewing but experiencing day turning into night was an awesome experience. The clouds cleared just long enough for us to wear those special glasses to see the diamond ring effect. Very memorable and looking forward to the next one that will be on April 8, 2024 passing over Texas. The next eclipse will require less distance but this journey has been so much fun.
Before leaving St. Joseph we stocked up on supplies and headed to Omaha, Nebraska continuing our journey to South Dakota. There is a beautiful expansion pedestrian bridge that crosses over the Missouri river. Half way across the bridge you will have one leg in Nebraska and the other in Iowa. When we returned to our coach after our walk there was a gray Unity coach parked right next to us. They also had been in St. Joseph’s for the eclipse. We spent the night in Council Bluffs, Iowa (just across the river from Omaha) then headed the next morning to Sioux Falls, South Dakota to the falls at Falls Park. The falls come from the Big Sioux river as it cascades down to join the Missouri river. We took in the sights and enjoyed walking around the park but it had been a long day so we camped in Big Sioux State Park just 18 minutes from the falls.
Today we are off to the Badlands National Park and hopefully will be able to find place to camp for the night there. It will be a long drive today.
We are into day 4 of our travels. The rain has altered our original itinerary making state parks to muddy. The first day instead of stopping at Brazos Bend State Park outside of Houston we drove through to Kinder, Louisiana to the Coushatta casino as they have a very nice RV and dog park. There was a free shuttle to the casino so Lonnie had fun playing craps and I enjoyed the buffets (no cooking required). Our next stop was to see my brother John and his daughter Leslie in Baton Rouge, LA. One year ago there was a massive flood in Baton Rouge and his home had received six feet of water and had to be totally gutted and redone. His home has been beautifully restored thanks to the tireless effort of Leslie. John is grateful that from tragedy has come good. We had a wonderful visit and delicious fresh seafood dinners that can only be found in Louisiana. Thanks for the hospitality John and Leslie.
Off towards Arkansas but first a stop in Marksville to check out the Paragon Casino and RV park — still raining – we had planned to go on to Piney point near Texarkana but heavy rain is forecast over a wide area between here and there so we will stay here today with hopes the weather clears and we can resume on travels. Good news is we have some winnings in our pockets, good restaurants, something to do while it is raining and no muddy campsite. So all is good.
This memorial has a Huey known as the Viking Surprise it was one of the first smoke ships in Vietnam. This helicopter was shot down in March of 1967 and sent to the Corpus Christi Bay (the ship I served on in Vietnam) to be repaired after receiving
135 bullet holes. Touring this memorial was both emotional and educational for me. One of the exhibits was scuba equipment which brought back many memories of my time diving in the Mekong Delta.
The trip from Lordsburg New Mexico to Austin Texas was full of adventure. We stayed close to the US – Mexico border as much as possible and were amazed at how many check-stations we had to go through.
We boon-docked the first night in Las Cruces New Mexico at a rest area.
The next morning we were off to White Sands New Mexico.
Fort Davis was our next stop and my first experience with a macerator. A macerator is like a garbage disposal for your black water and gray water holding tanks. When you are ready to dump the macerator pumps the waste out for you.
The next night we stayed in Big Bend National Park and were able to camp in the Chisos Basin. The warning signs said no vehicles longer than 24 ft. but the Unity made it like a champ.
The next day we headed to Seminole Canyon State Park where we hiked the canyon. From Seminole we went to Concan on the Frio River. This area is known for tubing down the river.
Once we got to Austin we started equipping our Unity for the year-long journey across this nation.
For one year Barbara, Vegas and Lonnie will travel this wonderful country in an RV called a Unity. This RV is made in Canada by Leisure Travel Vans and is highly sought after. The waiting period to purchase a new Unity is approximately eight months but from time to time they can be found at an RV show for immediate delivery. This is how we found ours and had to fly to Phoenix Arizona to take delivery.