We decided to go to Jewel Cave on the recommendation of my cousin Tina, and do the easy tour riding an elevator to one room of the cave. Arriving 30 minutes early to get our tickets, we had time to browse around the Visitors' Center before going into the cave. Our group gathered and was listening to a talk by a ranger who was going to lead our tour. About that time, the revenge of Pizza Hut lunch hit me. I decided I had better not desend 240 feet to a bathroomless cave, so I missed it. Phil and Hayden enjoyed it, but I took my camera in the dash to the rest room. Hayden did not have his, and Phil's phone camera just did not do justice to it. Oh well, next time for me.
Then we went back to Chief Crazy Horse Memorial. We wanted to do the bus tour, see the dancers, and the laser light show. The bus tour was really good. We got a much better view of Chief Crazy Horse and learned a lot of information. Korczak (last name starts with a Z, and I have no idea how to pronounce it) was contacted by tribal leaders and asked to do a bust of Crazy Horse. They wanted America to know the Native Americans also had good, brave leaders. Korczak had a better plan, and the elders agreed. Korczak was an established sculptor and told the leaders he would do the project for nothing. As a matter of fact, he started buying land around state parks and national parks. With the money he made from those sales when contacted by them to buy his property, he was able to buy all the land for the project, which includes plans for a Native American university, a medical school, schools, medical facilities, etc. He never accepted a dime from the government. When he started, he had $167 and worked alone. It is quite a story. He died in 1982, and his family has continued the work. He never got to see the face completed. There is now a corporation that will never accept a dime from the government. If the whole family were to die, the project would continue. He had 10 children. Most of them work on the mountain. His wife Ruth still lives in the log cabin he built that is attached to the part of the museum that has his sculpture, artifacts, collections, furniture, etc. Our bus drive said she never goes to bed until all workers have gone, at least an 18 hour day of work.
Another thing I admire is that not one thing in the gift shop is made outside North America. They only have enough money to employ about 10 workers for the actual mountain project (not counting the workers in the museum, office, etc.). Most of the money is made there from entrance fees, bus rides, gift shop. There are also fund raisers and some corporate donations, like equipment from Caterpillar. They will not accept money or gifts from any one or organization or company that has any strings attached. So, the project will not be completed in my life time, but it would be cool to see the horse's head finished within 30 years. I'd only be 93..... That reminds me. Korczak had a huge steel knocker put on the inside of his tomb in case he wanted to come out and see the progress. Gotta love his sense of humor and love for the Native American people.
Then came the laser light show on the mountain. Hayden liked it much better than the Mt. Rushmore evening show. It is truly impressive, and I'd encourage anyone who can go to Chief Crazy Horse Memorial to see the laser light show. The entrance fee is good for two days. You could spend a day just in the museum!
We got out of bed this morning to head to Sheridan. I did a really dumb thing by bringing in the bedroom slide without checking to see if the cargo door was closed. I about ripped it off, and caused my poor Phil an hour and a half more of work before we could leave and then another hour and a half after we got to Sheridan. He is so good and did not fuss at me and even consoled me. God sure blessed me with a good man!!!
For all that work, I cooked him a good supper (not quite so heart healthy) of mac and cheese (1% milk, 2% cheese), hamburger steak, green beans, and I made banana nut squares for dessert. Hayden rather enjoyed it, too!
I think that brings our trip up to date. We go to Little Big Horn Battlefield tomorrow on the way to Billings, MT. Phil will probably want to take Hayden to Pompeii's Pillar where William Clark (of Lewis and Clark) carved his name on the rock, as did others. It also has a neat museum. Then we go to Cody for two nights, and Phil and Hayden will go to a rodeo.