A few nights ago we set up base camp in Rapid City, SD (Hi David!) and began exploring the Black Hills.
We’ve done quite a lot of scenic driving, we’ve seen Mount Rushmore twice (if you include attending the 9 PM lighting ceremony tonight… Cassie has blackmail pics of me down there with the rest of the veterans), we’ve seen a TON of winding roads, hills, valleys, streams, waterfalls, rain, rain, rain, and towns that have fancy billboards that herald a racy wild west past, only to find that they consist of tourist gift shops, ice cream parlors, t-shirt vendors and casinos. Lots and lots of casinos.
Deadwood, Lead, Rapid City, Sturgis, Keystone… casino central.
Oh yeah, Alex has decided he loves Magnetite, but each gift shop up here is more expensive than the one before. If anyone knows where the cheapest online source of magnetite is, give me a shout, okay?
In keeping my eye open for vacation tidbits worthy of appearing on the blog, I think I’ve found two more for this edition. That’s right, you won’t find a boring travelogue here at the BBB, if it doesn’t make me chuckle, I don’t throw it at you. Considering how easily amused I am, that’s not saying much.
First up for your amusement, a few days ago we visited a cave. Rushmore Cave, to be exact. Since we had Alex with us, we didn’t go in for one of the “Adventure” tours, where you have to be able to squeeze through narrow openings to qualify to go. We went with the default visit.
The Rushmore Cave experience, just a little outside Keystone, SD, was very enjoyable. It was my first actual cave tour before, since hiding in a hole in a rock doesn’t count as a “tour”. These were actual cave systems descending, rising, and twisting around, accompanied by actual stalactites and stalagmites. Oh, and the way I was taught to remember the difference is, Stalagmites have a “g” in the word, for “ground”, and stalactites have a “c” in the word, for “ceiling”. The tour guide had some weird other way she told us for remembering which was which, and I just stared at her blankly.
Alex loved it, I loved it, Cassie had fun and it had JUST enough narrow openings and places to duck and squeeze through to make it feel adventurous. And, it gave me a fun perspective for future stories about exploring underground in fantasy novels, which is great for me, let me tell you.
The fun bit relevant to the blog came when we are in this one cavern that they call the wedding chapel, and the tour guide is describing some of the calcite formations in the cavern. She points at a few ribbons of stalactite formations, and tells us, “Those particular formations are called Cave Bacon, because of the way they look like thick ribbons of bacon, with alternating bands of darker and lighter color.”
No matter where I go, that’s right, I twist the universe to bring me into contact with SOME form of bacon… even rock bacon.
Oh, as long as I’m on the subject, the triple bacon sandwich at Arnold’s Classic Diner in Rapid City is delicious on sourdough bread.
The second fun thing happened this morning, when we ducked over into Wyoming to visit Devil’s Tower. We heard it was lonely, the poor thing.
We did the walk around Devil’s Tower, got some nice pictures, had a lot of fun in the open air. Saw some deer, saw a lot of rock, it was nice. Did I mention the rock?
When we visited the Visitor’s Center, there was this lovely painting by Herbert A. Collins illustrating the legend of Mato the Bear hanging over the fireplace, and it immediately became my favorite part of the Devil’s Tower visit.
I’d dearly love to see Blizzard add this particular event as a variation of an Old World Dragon Boss, handled like Kologarn is in Ulduar, a boss so huge you can only face him by being on top of a mountain.
Check this out Bear Blog readers!
Isn’t that awesome?
Yeah, that is one badass bear. Mato The Bear. Know the name. Fear the name. Just shush about the tail.
How would you like to be out there exploring in Azeroth, and have to scurry to find higher ground to escape from the giantest freaking BEAR of all time?