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To: frog report
From:Zelda Queen of the Night<zelda@valley.net>
Subject: Newcastle ,Wyoming
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Howdy all,
Well here we are in Newcastle, Wyoming poised to enter the Badlands tomorrow.
Then we WILL really hit the interstates and get home.
Frosty- I understand from Muf via Chris, who called Steven tonight, that you say "No sweat" I hope that is so. If Jake has passed on get one the same size and appearance from Steve's Pet Shoppe in Lebanon, I will pay. Send Tom.
Muf and Tom- can't wait to see you and will give you more gory details later-
Can't wait to be home....
love, Zelda

To: frog report
From:Zelda Queen of the Night<zelda@valley.net>
Subject: Badlands
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Bcc:
Attached:
Tuesday July 21,1998

I had been sort of angling down towards Denver in the hopes of seeing Robert but by Friday morning at Seminoe Lake I still hadn't been able to get ahold of him, nor had he gotten ahold of me on Aunt Zoe's cellular phone. So, figuring that he was out of town, or was somehow otherwise occupied, I decided to turn north and go up to the Badlands, Crazy Horse Mountain, and Mount Rushmore, all conveniently located in one small area of South Dakota. Getting Chris out of Seminoe Lake State Park was the hardest thing I've ever done, he finally had to be carried bodily to the car and strapped in. First thing Friday morning he was invited in to the well worn motorhome of the campground hosts for milk and chocolate doughnuts while they plied me with some excellent Canadian coffee; then the female half took him for a ride on her four-wheeler and that was that. He told me to go on without him - he was moving in with them and I could come back and get him next summer. I could not figure this couple out. They were definitely a couple but he normally lived in Casper while she lived in Cheyenne with a husband, however they spent a month together every summer at Seminoe Lake and as well did a lot of traveling with this motorhome, she said they had put over 30,000 miles on it since they got it three years ago. She said her husband didn't like traveling. Whatever, they were very nice. I never learned their names, most of the people we thought were nicest I never learned the names of, they never learned mine, but somehow it never mattered.

According to the map the gravel road that led to Seminoe Lake continued up north to a town called Alcova and from there we could take Route 220 over to Casper. I asked the advice of the hosts and they said that the road was rough and wind-y in places but perfectly passable and as there were only two turns it seemed impossible for me to go wrong. Naturally, me being me I managed to take a wrong turn and we went on a 50 mile scenic detour through backcountry Wyoming ending up back down in Medicine Bow. We finally found our way up to Newcastle and checked in to the Fountain Motel, we were both in severe need of hot baths.
The next morning we set off for our day of national monument viewing. First we went to Crazy Horse Mountain, which is a mountain that is in the process of being carved into a likeness of Crazy Horse a la Mount Rushmore. It was begun in 1947 by a fellow named Korczak Ziolkowski as a "Monument To All the Tribes" and someday will be a likeness of Crazy Horse on horseback pointing out into the distance. So far Crazy Horse's face is pretty much done and the horse is mapped out in white paint on the side of the mountain, they are doing the blasting work on the arm now. Korczak died in 1997 but his wife Ruth and his sons are continuing the work. You have to admire somebody who just goes out one day all by himself with a jackhammer to attack a mountainside with the intention of turning it into a sculpture hundreds of feet high but he was obviously nutty as a fruitcake. He was, however an excellent sculptor, there was a woodcarving of two horses fighting that he had done that I would have killed to own.
Then we continued on to Mount Rushmore. Not much one can say about Mount Rushmore, it's there, it's Mount Rushmore. Tom's right, Teddy Roosevelt looks weird up there, he doesn't belong with guys like Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln. We couldn't find any explanation of why he was included, Borglum just must have had a thing for Teddy.

Of the two monuments I have to say I prefer Crazy Horse Mountain but then I have a great deal more sympathy with Crazy Horse than I do with George Washington or Teddy Roosevelt, although I've always thought Jefferson was a heck of a guy, and of course one can't knock Abraham Lincoln. Also at Crazy Horse Mountain they have a wonderful collection of Indian artifacts and art, including Sitting Bull's pipe and a really fabulous collection of Navaho rugs. I think it will also be a much nicer sculpture in the end, if they ever get it finished.
After that we drove down Route 44 down into and through the Badlands. They were alright. I think Chris and I have seen so much scenery that we are blase, I gave them a 7 while Chris only rated them a 4. We stopped for the night at a commercial campground in a town called Murdo, this campground advertised shade trees and a swimming pool and as trees are in pretty short supply in that area and it was up around 100 degrees it sounded good. The trees were too small to give much shade, but there were corrugated tin roofs over the picnic tables with a windbreak on one side and if you sat up on top of the table the biting flies weren't too bad, so we unpacked the stove, the coolers and the foodbox and went off to the bathrooms to change into our suits. No sooner had we gotten in the water than out of nowhere, it seemed, the sky to the east turned black with towering thunderheads and a stiff wind came up, blowing the plastic chairs around the pool up against the fence and scattering our belongings hither and yon. We gathered up most of the stuff and put it back in the car. The wind died somewhat and I quickly cooked up some noodles and dished out salad, we sat on the table and ate and watched the stormclouds, trying to decide if it was going to miss us or not. We decided we could move the picnic table out from under the corrugated roof and pitch the tent under that. Then I saw a woman walking around the campground with her toddler and I went over to ask her if she had heard any weather reports. We were the only tenters there, everybody else was in RVs and this was the first person I'd seen out, everyone else was inside with their air conditioners on. She looked at the sky and said consideringly that we might get lucky, she herself was a little worried as they were putting out tornado warnings. Well that was enough for me, I decamped us and drove into town, it took a while to find a room as most of the motels there were full but I wanted cement blocks around us at least.

The next day we decided we had had enough of sightseeing and breezed though the rest of South Dakota at a steady 75 mph (LOVE that cruise control), stopping briefly in Mitchell to view the World's Only Corn Palace. The Corn Palace is a large and extremely ornate building the outside of which is decorated with murals done entirely in different colored ears of corn and some other assorted grains. They redo the murals every year. This years theme: Youth In Action, is not as good as some previous years but if any of you plan to be in South Dakota in 1999, next years proposed theme: Building A Nation looks like it's going to be good, they had sketches of the new murals and I think they'll be very nice indeed.
I thought of going up to DeSmet, South Dakota to see the "Little Town on the Prairie" where Laura Ingalls Wilder lived but I knew it wouldn't mean anything to Chris as he's never read the Little House books and then too I wanted to keep DeSmet like it is in my head. I didn't want to see it with the Laura Ingalls Wilder Gift Shop, the Caroline Ingalls Family Restaurant and the QuikMart on the corner. Plus I knew they'd have pictures of Michael Landon plastered up everywhere and I always thought that TV program was extremely offensive. There was never anyone less suited to play the part of Pa Ingalls than Michael Landon, why the man didn't even have the decency to grow a beard for the part!
We got as far as Iowa that night and have been "headin' down the highway" at a steady clip ever since, we are presently in Erie, Pennsylvania and expect to pull into Fairlee late in the day tomorrow (Wednesday)

love,
Zelda and Chris

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