My goal is to raise $9,490 for breast cancer research - a dollar for every day my mother, Lorraine Raimondo, battled breast cancer. I'm driving across the country raising funds for every mile I drive.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

South Dakota

I slept in a tepee last night! Well, I was supposed to sleep in a tepee last night. See, these ideas sound fantastic when I think of them. But then when the reality sets in, sometimes it's not so….hmmmm….ideal. Take the tepee for instance. I figured since I’d been sleeping in a tent most of last week, I’m ready for the tepee. Well, I think it’s safe to say this tepee wasn’t as enclosed as the ones I’ve seen in the museums. I checked in to the tepee, they gave me the fabric door – that’s what you get instead of a key, a piece of fabric tied to some sticks – and I headed over to my tepee. I immediately noticed that the tepee really didn’t go all the way down to the ground in some spots. There were huge gaps and I started to think of all the things that could get through those gaps. A beaver for example. Now, I’m not afraid of beavers and there weren’t any close by, but you get the idea of the size of animal that could just wander on in. The more I sat there, the more I envisioned a drafty, sleepless night. So, after much pacing back and forth, I traded my tepee door in for a key to a cabin. I felt like a wimp, but a wimp that would be getting a good night sleep.
The Heritage campsite where I was staying was in an excellent location in Custer, SD overlooking Crazy Horse. Now if you don’t know what Crazy Horse is, here’s a photo:
How Crazy Horse will look once completed but 34 times larger

The Crazy Horse Memorial is in the Black Hills of South Dakota and honors the North American Indian. Once completed it will be the world’s largest mountain carving. Work began in 1949 and right now only the face is completed. To give you perspective on the size, the height of the eye opening is 9ft. Korczak Paderewski was the sculptor that the Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear invited to the black hills to do the sculpture. Korczak was a strong believer in free enterprise and thus no federal/taxpayer money is accepted to support the project. Korczak passed away a few years ago. His wife Ruth turned 80 the day I arrived. In her honor there would be a “night blast” after the evening light show. This is an amazing thing to see. OK, I hear it’s an amazing thing to see. I fell asleep in my car waiting for the show to begin and woke up during the blast which looked like this by the time I grabbed my camera:
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Sorry, but you try and do something exciting everyday after driving for hours and see how long you stay awake. The next morning I got to Mt. Rushmore shortly after it opened at 8AM – which is an excellent time to go to avoid the crowds. They said I could come back with my same pass that evening to see the light show. I think I’ll pass.
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