Insert dreamy music and cool fade away effect.
Thinking back, the weather was fantastic! Three of our twelve tent camping nights did get rather cold, but what can you do (...be sure to have some long underwear in reaching-out-of-my-sleeping-bag distance!)? And it rained almost every day and/or night, but again what can you do (...be prepared)? Despite the cold and rain, it wasn't
We had an awesome camping spot where it was a little hard for the neighbors to see us. The place even had SHOWERS! Wait, wait, wait, the news gets even better: Horse Thief Campground is near Custer State Park, which is where we spent about half of our time (hiking). In the park, we hung out at Sylvan Lake, hiked the Sunday Gulch and Cathedral Spires trails and also hiked to the top of Little Devils Tower and Harney Peak. If you're into rock climbing, Custer State Park is fantastic for that activity, too.
We visited Deadwood, Sturgis, Rapid City, Keystone and Hot Springs. We also drove to Wyoming to see Devils Tower (cool) where we did an easy hike around the base of it. Basically, we did just about everything you can do, even touring the Cosmos Mystery Area which was one of the coolest optical illusions I've ever experienced. Heck, we even witnessed gay tortoise sex and visited the Crazy Horse Memorial to watch a night explosion. It was a blast! (get it?)
...I must digress and provide a little background info....
To sum up the premise of the memorial, from their web site it says "Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski and Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear officially started Crazy Horse Memorial June 3, 1948. The Memorial's mission is to honor the culture, tradition and living heritage of North American Indians." From what I remember, Chief Standing Bear wrote a letter to Korczak Ziolkowski during the construction of Mount Rushmore, saying something to the effect of "I want white men to know that red men have great heroes, too." (Not his exact words.)
As we waited for the pre-explosion laser show to begin, an intense storm swept through and temporarily drove everyone indoors. The storm quickly made its way into the distance and each time the sky lit with lightning, it dramatically highlighted the silhouette of the rock sculpture. It was perfectly awesome.
So we’re watching the laser show, listening to the educational and entertaining propaganda blare over the loudspeaker, when suddenly, I hear a song begin and it's that effing "I'm proud to be an American" patriotic song. The lyrics start, "If tomorrow all the things were gone I’d worked for all my life / And I had to start again with just my children and my wife. / I’d thank my lucky stars to be living here today, / ‘Cause the flag still stands for freedom and they can’t take that away."
Thinking to self: Hello? Can somebody get the DJ?
I looked around and realized I was surrounded by overweight Americans, singing along and saluting toward the monument (yoo hoo, the flag is behind you). One lady was even crying. Crying.
Lady, for the love of all things unholy, now is not the time to be all Proud-to-be-an-American. Um, aren't we all supposed to be reflecting on a period of history when our forefathers kinda took away Native America from Native Americans? And today, we're so self-centered that we can't even let them have one damn monument, one memorial, one place that focuses on their history and their culture?
Can you say:
If I had the ability to barf, I would have. Ugh. I don't really have a right to be offended, but the memorial is supposed to be about NATIVE AMERICANS. It felt inappropriate.
Then they set off a bunch of dynamite and everything in the world was suddenly right because, explosions are cool, huh huh.
(Yikes! My trip down Vacation Memory Lane took a quick detour. It's the only complaint I have, honest.)
Listening to: The Bloodhound Gang - Boom