Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.

Sunday in South Dakota: Lille Norge Fest

November 19th, 2017

Whether you’re a local, new in town, or just passing through, you’ll be sure to find something to pique your interest at this weekend’s Lille Norge Fest in Rapid City.

My high school years were spent in Jamestown, North Dakota where many of the locals were Norwegian. After arriving in Rapid City, it didn’t take long to realize that the Dakotas share that heritage and there’s a lot more to being Norwegian than just Ole jokes and Lutefisk.

This weekend the Sons of Norway hosted their annual Lille Norge Fest at the Borgland Lodge. Crowds of people wearing Norwegian sweaters and bunads (traditional Norwegian outfits) were savoring fresh lefse, krumkake, and rosettes. For a region rich with Norwegian ancestry, this annual festival is the unofficial kickoff to the holiday season, featuring Nordic cuisine, cultural entertainment, dancing and handcrafted gifts.

The Rapid City Lille Norge Fest was founded in 1973 to promote and preserve Norwegian culture in America. It was an enjoyable way to spend a few hours getting into the holiday spirit with Norwegian flair and Lefse. (They ran out of Lutefisk before I went through the line. Maybe next weekend)

 

Whatever you do this week – do it with flair.

Sunday in Michigan: Fall

October 29th, 2017

The colors, the crisp air, the light… fall is a fabulous season. And life is a series of memories, and bonding with your family. With fall schools are back in session and cooler temperatures are moving in, meaning Fall is the perfect time to browse a local bookstore, indulge your taste buds at a cupcake shop, explore an aquarium or even a day trip to a pumpkin patch.

Whatever you decide to do, it’s all about being together because you want to. Fall fun is about creating heartfelt memories to reflect upon in years to come. Build some memories this week.

            

Sunday in South Dakota: Rapid City Powwow

October 8th, 2017

Colorful finery, elaborate feather work and intricate beadwork describe the visual atmosphere of a powwow. Spirited drumming and singing filled the air as dancers complete their fancy footwork. The Black Hills Powwow has become one of the premier American Indian cultural events in the United States and features competitions in categories such as traditional, fancy and jingle-dress dancing. 

Dances are either for men or women, with dancers moving in a clockwise direction which represents the circle of unity and the never-ending cycle of life. Singers are usually between the audience and the dance arena. Powwow singers and drummers play a very important part of the celebration, providing rhythm for the dancers. They sing many types of songs, including honor and family, war and conquest, songs of joy, encouragement, humor and mourning. Attire worn by a dancer is called regalia and often takes years to create and may include gifts which have deep meaning.

During this preeminent three-day event spectators can enjoy a fine arts show, He Sapa Win pageant, wellness symposium for youth, and tournaments for hand games, softball, golf, and archery.

Catch the spirit at the many celebrations across your state.

Sunday in South Dakota: Crazy Horse Volksmarch

October 1st, 2017

The bi-annual Crazy Horse Volksmarch is a rare chance to hike 10K through woodlands and scramble up hill to the world’s largest mountain carving in progress in the southern Black Hills of South Dakota. This is the most popular Volksmarch, attracting 15,000 walkers – including me.

The first time I went to Crazy Horse, I only viewed it from the visitor center. I didn’t realize how much I missed. Today’s hike was rocky, it was hilly and worth every strained breath, just to experience standing on Crazy Horse’s outstretched arm for a once in a lifetime view of his face.

Along the way hikers were teased by sneak peeks of the mountain carving through the trees, every time just a little bit closer. In the end, the view was outrageous. The level of detail put in his facial features we suddenly visible that can’t have been seen from the visitors center.

Cell phone tower in disguised as a pine tree.

Participating in the Crazy Horse Volksmarch as it is still in progress, is like wishing I could have seen the great pyramids being built. This is history in the making – and I was there. I stood on his outstretched arm! Even if you’re only able to ride up to the base, I highly recommend seeing the Crazy Horse monument from a different point of view, enjoy the fresh air and being surrounded by the natural beauty of the area.

View of Crazy Horse campus and parking areas from Crazy Horse

If Crazy Horse is ever completed, won’t it be amazing to see? And I’ll be able to tell the grandkids how I stood on his arm before he was finished. Amazing.

 

Sunday in South Dakota: 52nd Annual Buffalo Roundup

October 1st, 2017

“Feel the earth tremble.” People told me when I was encouraged to attend the annual Buffalo Roundup. The earth trembled as I felt I was transported to a scene from “Dances with Wolves” as the hooves of 1,200 massive buffalo shook the rolling prairie as they streamed over the hill while herdsmen on horseback spur them over the ridge, down the hill and into corrals for sorting.

The entire Custer State herd galloped by only a few hundred feet from my seat. Can you believe it?! Once the buffalo are safely in the corrals, spectators watch as real-life cowboys sort, brand, test, and treat the herd. Certain animals were selected for the fall auction. This is a public event you can’t experience anywhere else – and attracts more than 17,000 people each year!

Custer State Park is home to one of the largest American bison herds in the world. The annual roundup was started 52 years ago as a way to manage the herd and ensure there’s enough grass for all the animals. This keeps the population in balance with the available land and resources. Most return right back to their home, the grasslands of Custer State Park. Once on the verge of extinction, today there are about 500,000 buffalo across North America.

First buffalo sighting of the morning while driving into Custer State Park.

This buffalo showed up early and wandered around the field waiting for his brothers

I don’t know how they managed to feed pancakes to this crowd! It was very well managed and the pancakes were huge.

Custer State Park’s rolling prairies are beautiful

The crowds were entertaining and jovial

This buffalo didn’t get counted.

Neither did this one!

As if a thundering herd of massive wild animals isn’t enough, an Arts Festival is held the same weekend at the Custer State Game Lodge offering food, entertainment, and art booths for the visitors.

This is a Western experience I’ll never forget and will provide great storytelling to anyone willing to listen. If you’re unable to make it, you can put on your hat and watch these short videos from last year’s roundup in the comfort of your home: 1 minute video https://youtu.be/61xtwlEkngQ  the 10 minute video is like you’re there! https://youtu.be/91JoWjpIZS4

 

Sunday in South Dakota: Homestake Mine & Tatanka

September 10th, 2017

High in the Black Hills, surrounded by Ponderosa pine forests, meandering trout streams and magnificent mountain meadows, are one of South Dakota’s most memorable twin cities: Lead & Deadwood.

Lead has been called the richest 100 square miles on Earth. Over a period of 126 years, miners pulled more than 41 million ounces of gold and 9 million ounces of silver from the Homestake Mine, the largest mine in the western hemisphere. Prospectors began arriving in the Black Hills in the mid-1870s. Very quickly, “Lead City” was transformed into a thriving community built around the gold-mining industry.  In December 2001, however, that limit arrived. Homestake mined its final ore and left behind more than 370 miles of tunnels from the surface to the 8,000-foot level. Today, those caverns house world-leading research by Sanford Lab that seeks to understand the riches of the universe.

The Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center now is a modern and dramatic facility providing public outreach for the Sanford Underground Research Laboratory as well as interpretation of the history and cultural context of the Homestake Mine and the new underground Lab. A short video history brings it to life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrJtG_jLptg

After a physics lesson in WIMPS and Neutrinos, I followed the Bison to Deadwood to study the story of Tatanka. Amazingly, 30 to 60 million Bison once roamed the Great Plains of North America. By the close of the 19th century, it was estimated that less than 1,000 bison survived. I was very impressed by the hands-on education exhibits and 14 larger-than-life bronze sculptures of bison being pursued by Native American riders. I could almost hear the shouts of the hunters and the thunder of the buffalo’s hooves. Neutrinos are basically nothing. Bison, on the other hand, are inspiring, full of life and passion. Make this special place a “must see” stop in the Black Hills. Watch Kevin Costner talk about his passion for the Black Hills: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgbaEzGIl2M

Sunday in South Dakota: Wounded Knee Museum

September 3rd, 2017

Wounded Knee, located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in southwestern South Dakota, was the site of two conflicts between North American Indians and representatives of the U.S. government. An 1890 massacre left some 15 0Native Americans dead, in what was the final clash between federal troops and the Sioux. In 1973, members of the American Indian Movement occupied Wounded Knee for 71 days to protest conditions on the reservation.

Throughout 1890, the U.S. government worried about the increasing influence at Pine Ridge of the Ghost Dance spiritual movement, which taught that Indians had been defeated and confined to reservations because they had angered the gods by abandoning their traditional customs. Many Sioux believed that if they practiced the Ghost Dance and rejected the ways of the white man, the gods would create the world anew and destroy all non-believers, including non-Indians. On December 15, 1890, reservation police tried to arrest Sitting Bull, the famous Sioux chief, who they mistakenly believed was a Ghost Dancer, and killed him in the process, increasing the tensions at Pine Ridge.

On December 29, the U.S. Army’s 7th Cavalry surrounded a band of Ghost Dancers under Big Foot, a Lakota Sioux chief, near Wounded Knee Creek and demanded they surrender their weapons. As that was happening, a fight broke out between an Indian and a U.S. soldier and a shot was fired, although it’s unclear from which side. A brutal massacre followed, in which it’s estimated 150 Indians were killed (some historians put this number at twice as high), nearly half of them women and children. The cavalry lost 25 men.

The conflict at Wounded Knee was originally referred to as a battle, but, it was a tragic and avoidable massacre. Surrounded by heavily armed troops, it’s unlikely that Big Foot’s band would have intentionally started a fight.

The troubles at Wounded Knee are not over – the wounds are still open for many. It’s a painful part of history, but Americans must remember so this doesn’t happen again.

The Wounded Knee Museum doesn’t only focus on the destruction but about what was destroyed: the rich culture, the intellectual accomplishments, the colorful tradition that was Sioux life. Their heritage, their unique value system, their contributions to the world are what we must remember along with our troubled history. These are the memories that will prompt us to effectively engage in the revitalization of Native American life. http://www.woundedkneemuseum.org/

Notice the collection of nearly 300 simulated eagle feathers suspended from a Lakota Medicine Wheel. Each feather represents a one of the 300 men, women and children killed by Seventh Calvary soldiers on that day.

Remembrance is the secret of redemption.

 

Sunday in South Dakota: Hot Springs … Again?

August 27th, 2017

Gray dawn swallowed what little light the slowly rising sun was sending over the horizon. Then a silhouette – It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Nope, wait, planes aren’t shaped like that. It’s a hot air balloon! If you were anywhere new Hot Springs Municipal Airport this Saturday, you couldn’t help but notice hot air balloons bobbing around the skies.

It was all part of the 2nd Annual Fall River Hot Air Balloon Festival in Hot Springs. There were also glider rides and Sidewalk Chalk Art walk in the downtown area. It was a nice event for all ages that I hope will continue to grow with coming years.

But wait. There’s more.

I want you to imagine a place where as far as the eyes can see, miles and miles to the horizon, you can see the plains as it was when American Indians rode freely with manes and tails flying in the wind.

Now imagine this place is real just outside Hot Springs. After the Hot Air Balloon Festival, I drove to the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary to experience this dream. I wanted to see the horses in their grassland home of rocky canyons, windswept prairie they share with rattle snakes, coyotes, deer and eagles. This sanctuary has given these 700 mustangs freedom in a place where the sky seems to go on forever. It was a very rare pleasure to have a few of these Cortez mustangs eat out of my hand. http://www.wildmustangs.com/

I hope you kick up your heels and let your spirit soar this week!

Sunday in South Dakota: Historic Hill City

August 20th, 2017

Keep Calm – We Have a Change of Plans. The fair wasn’t operating when I arrived so I drove to Hill City. Sometimes your day ends up different and it ends up (tasting) better that way.

I drove in search of scenic beauty, a bit of history and a good meal. I found all of those while strolling the streets of Hill City, the 2nd oldest town in these Black Hills. The “Heart of the Black Hills” is centrally located to Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse and Custer State Park within a scenic 15 minutes which is why it’s continued to flourish over the years. Location. Location. Location.

This location is home to many popular art galleries, wonderful restaurants, year round outdoor activities suitable for families and 3 wineries. Speaking of wonderful restaurants, the Alpine Inn, built in 1886, is the historic landmark I chose for lunch. The Alpine Inn has a reputation for ethnic European dishes, and the reputation is well deserved. My lunch was a delicious change of plans. http://www.alpineinnhillcity.com/our-history/

A short walk from the Alpine Inn and I hopped aboard the 1880 Train for a 20-mile ride between Hill City and Keystone. I’ve always been attracted to vintage train rides. The romance of the rails through the Black Hills was a special treat unlike any other attraction in the area, this railroad helped settle the West. Click to watch a short video: https://youtu.be/lonmaxco77Q

Eat, Play & Love the location you’re in.

Sunday in South Dakota: Black Hills Caverns

August 13th, 2017

It’s not surprising that prospectors in search of gold discovered many of the underground treasures of South Dakota: its caves and caverns. The Black Hills Caverns was discovered in 1882 by a very slender gold seeker crawling into an even smaller hole in the side of a hill. Lakota Indians had found centuries before. Even now the cave is actively explored revealing new wonders in the beautiful underground landscape.

The Black Hills region is famous for its caves. Fifty million years ago, the caves of the Black Hills were formed when underground water dissolved layers of limestone, resulting in huge passageways, spacious cave rooms, and networks of narrow tunnels. As groundwater flowed into the passageways, full of dissolved minerals. One of these minerals, calcium carbonate, deposits crystals onto cave walls and ceilings, resulting in spectacular cave formations. Black Hills Caverns is formed by the “Paha Sapa Limestone” and contains the most complete variety of formations that exist in any cave in the Black Hills.

Black Hills Caverns entrance

Panning sluice outside visitors can try their hand to find gems.

I enjoy exploring caves as nature intended. That means Black Hills Caverns were on my list because they are free of elevators or escalators spoiling its natural beauty like some caverns. While walking sideways, down steps using hand rails and shimmying through narrow crevasses, the caves were different on each level. The tour gave me an idea of what the original explorers experienced, with the cave pathways kept as natural as possible. The cave Temperature remains a refreshing 45-50 degree. It felt fantastic with a long sleeve jacket.

The Black Hills Cavern is as majestic as it is huge with millions of rock formations that can be seen on one of their cave tours. The cavern offers many different types of crystals and formations to see — Popcorn Crystal, Frost Crystal, Stalactites, Soda Straw Stalagmites, Columns, Box Work, Cave Bacon  Dolomite, and the River of Ages is uniquely beautiful Flowstone. There are also fun natural formations that look like a chicken leg, a buffalo, even an alligator… so much to see! The Black Hills Caverns are well worth your time if you’re in the Black Hills area, are capable of climbing 250 steps and are wearing good shoes.

Forming Stalactites and Cave Bacon

Soda Straw Stalagmites

Dogtooth Crystals

Slippery, narrow passageway

Cave Bacon hanging from ceiling

Buffalo formation. The “eye” was created by early miners lantern soot.

Dust covered Frost Crystals

Wishing well near entrance of cave

Alligator rock

Example of early miner graffiti. This shows Ellis and his friends in 1937 prior to Ellis breaking both legs in the cavern. It took his friends 7 hours to get him out. He returned years later at 85 yr-old for a tour.

River of Ages formation created by Flowstone.

Chicken Leg rock.

Fun Facts: The Black Hills Caverns have a room called the chocolate room which is full of dolomite. Dolomite is a chalky natural substance used in Hershey bars. Also, due to the great flood of 1972 the crystal formations are covered in clay dust and not bright white as in the nearby Wonderland Cave. http://www.southdakotacaves.com/

 

Sunday in South Dakota: City of Presidents

August 6th, 2017

Downtown Rapid City challenged notions I held of small town middle America. At the heart of historic downtown Rapid City, visitors are greeted by the City of Presidents, a series of life-size bronze statues of our nation’s past presidents along the city’s streets and sidewalks. I discovered the free art display while enjoying downtown shopping. A tour around downtown Rapid City is a tour through America’s history, with a president on every corner and stories of the Lakota told through commemorative plaques and statues.

Part of the Rapid City Historic District Tour, the City of Presidents project began in 2000 to honor the legacy of the American presidency. I find it impressive that each of the sculptures is 100% privately funded, and the pattern of placement was chosen to maintain a coherent structure and eliminate any sense of favoritism or political gain. (To view a map click here: http://presidentsrc.com/map.html)

Twelfth President. Zachary Taylor was not known for his education and he had no political background. He was elected solely on his reputation as a war hero. As such, his short time in office was not one full of major accomplishments.

Twenty-Eighth President. Woodrow Wilson played a huge role in determining if and when America would get involved in World War I. One of the first events of Wilson’s presidency was the passage of the Underwood Tariff. This reduced tariff rates from 41 to 27%. It also created the first federal income tax after the passage of the 16th Amendment. During Woodrow Wilson’s presidency women received the right to vote with the passing of the 19th Amendment, the Federal Reserve System was established, income tax was initiated with the birth of the Internal Revenue System, World War I broke out in Europe between 1914 and 1918, sheep grazed on the White House lawn to help the Red Cross raise wool for the war effort and the national observance of Mother’s Day was established.

Twenty-Fifth President.
During McKinley’s time in office, Hawaii was annexed. McKinley was shot two times by anarchist Leon Czolgosz while the president was visiting the Pan-American Exhibit in Buffalo, New York minutes after giving the lucky scarlet carnation from his lapel to a young girl who wanted a souvenir. To commemorate his tragic death, the sculptor gave him a red carnation.

Twenty-Seventh President. William Howard Taft holds a unique position in American political history. He is the only president who also served on the U.S. Supreme Court. He was America’s 27th president as well as the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. He was the first president to throw out the opening pitch of the major league season. The artist, Lee Leuning, shows him, ever the competitor, shaking off the catcher’s sign and preparing to throw the “heater”.

Ninth President. When Harrison took office, he gave the longest inaugural address ever talking for one hour and 40 minutes. It was delivered in the cold during the month of March. He then got caught in the rain and in the end came down with a cold. His illness got worse until he finally died on April 4, 1841. He only served one month, from March 4 until April 4, 1841. He was the first president to die in office.

Twenty-Ninth President. President Harding’s time in office was marked by some major scandals. Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall secretly sold the right to oil reserves in Teapot Dome, Wyoming to a private company in exchange for $308,000 and some cattle. Other officials under Harding were also implicated or convicted of bribery, fraud, conspiracy, and other forms of wrongdoing. Harding died before the events affected his presidency.

Eighteenth President. Grant is considered to be one of the worst presidents in America’s history. His time in office was marked by major scandals. Grant as president accepted handsome presents from admirers. Worse, he allowed himself to be seen with two speculators, Jay Gould and James Fisk. When Grant realized their scheme to corner the market in gold, he authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to sell enough gold to wreck their plans, but the speculation had already wrought havoc with business. This was the cause of “Black Friday”.

Third President. In 1803, Jefferson purchased the Louisiana territory from France for $15 million. This is considered the most important act of his administration. He sent Lewis and Clark on their famous expedition to explore the new territory. Jefferson was the most gifted writer of his time and is displayed during the most important event of American History; the writing of the Declaration of Independence.

Twenty-Sixth President. Roosevelt was a fiery individualist who embodied American culture of the early 1900’s. His conservationism and willingness to take on big business are examples of why he is considered to be one of the better presidents. His progressive policies set the stage for important reforms of the 20th century.

Nineteenth President. When doing the recount, many Democratic ballots were ruled invalid in Florida and Louisiana. An investigative commission voted 8-7 along party lines to give all the electoral votes to Hayes allowing him to win against Tilden. Hayes began his administration with the Compromise of 1877 by which military occupation of the South ended. This helped satisfy Southerners who were upset over the results of the election.

Fortieth President. One of the most important events that occurred during Reagan’s administration was the growing relationship between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Reagan created a bond with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Thirty-Seventh President. While many important events occurred during Nixon’s administration including the end of the Vietnam War, his visit to China, and putting a man on the moon, his time was marred by the Watergate Scandal. Faith in the office of the presidency declined with the revelations of this event and the way that the press dealt with the office changed forever from this time on.

This sculpture represents hope for reconciliation, dignity and respect for all the human race.

Thirteenth President. Fillmore succeeded to the presidency upon Taylor’s death. Millard Fillmore established the White House library. Fillmore was a sullen, introverted man and the sculptor chose to depict him with an expression of slight annoyance as visitors interrupt his reading.

Eighth President. Van Buren’s administration began with “The Panic of 1837”, a depression that lasted until 1845. To combat this, Van Buren fought for an Independent Treasury to help ensure the safe deposit of funds. Texas applied for statehood after gaining independence in 1836. If admitted, it would have become another slave state which was opposed by the Northern states. Van Buren, wishing to help fight against sectional slavery issues, agreed with the North.

Thirty-Sixth President. Johnson took over as president after JFK’s Assassination. Johnson escalated the war in Vietnam and eventually had to turn to peace when the U.S. was unable to achieve victory. He is also remembered for his Great Society policies where Medicare, Medicaid, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 1968 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were passed among other programs.

A Lakota grandmother placing a feather in grand-daughters hair.

Tenth President. Although John Tyler became our tenth president, it was not his first choice of careers. As a young man, Tyler dreamed and studied to become an accomplished concert violinist. In 1841, all the Cabinet resigned but Secretary of State Webster. A year later when Tyler vetoed a tariff bill, the first impeachment resolution against a president was introduced in the House of Representatives. Tyler had to operate as president without a party behind him.

Sixth President. During John Quincy Adams’ term, the Erie Canal Opened. One key event during this time was his role in arguing before the Supreme Court to free the slave mutineers aboard the Amistad. He died after having a stroke on the floor of the US House.

Thirty-Fifth President. His moral leadership of Civil Rights was an important part of the movement’s eventual success. Kennedy had a tough time getting many of his domestic programs through Congress. However, he did get an increased minimum wage, better Social Security benefits, and an urban renewal package passed. He created the Peace Corps and his goal to get to the moon by the end of the 60’s found overwhelming support. His assassination has taken on a mythic quality

Second President . As our second president, John Adams was known for his ability as a great orator. During Adams’ term, the Navy Department and Marine Corps were Created (1798), the Capital moved to Washington, D.C. (1800) and the Library of Congress was established (1800).

Thirty-Ninth President. Widely known as a peanut farmer, on Carter’s first day in office, he issued a pardon for all those who dodged the draft in the Vietnam War. On November 4, 1979, the U.S. embassy in Teheran, Iran was seized and 60 Americans were taken hostage. Fifty two of the hostages were not released until after his left office.

Eleventh President. James K. Polk increased the size of the United States more than any other president through the acquisition of California and New Mexico as a result of the Mexican-American War. He also claimed Oregon Territory after a treaty with England. He was a key figure in Manifest Destiny. He was also an extremely effective leader – considered to be the best one-term president.

Fifth President. Two major developments during Monroe’s presidency were the Missouri Compromise (1820) and the Monroe Doctrine (1823). He was known to be a very cordial man, a man of charming demeanor who always carried a cane. He is shown tipping his top hat wishing passers by a “good day.”

Fourth President.
Madison wrote most of the U.S. Constitution at the Constitutional Convention in 1787. As the author of the Constitution, decisions made during his time as president were based on his interpretation of the document. He was well respected in his time for not only authoring the document but also administering it.

Twentieth President. Garfield was only in office for a little more than six months. The one major issue that he dealt with was an investigation of whether mail route contracts were being awarded fraudulently with tax money lining the pockets of those involved. Charles J. Guiteau, a mentally disturbed office seeker, shot President Garfield in the back, the wound from which he died.

Fifteenth President. The North and West were hit hard by an economic depression called “The Great Panic of 1857” but Buchanan took no action to help alleviate the depression. Buchanan is portrayed with hands held behind his back symbolizing timidity in the face of crisis.

Thirty-First President. Since President Hoover was a Quaker he did not take an oath of office, instead he affirmed his presidency. During his term, he approved the “Star-Spangled Banner” as our national anthem. Herbert Hoover was president during one of the worst economic disasters in America’s history. Hoover was one of two presidents who did not accept a salary for being president, instead donating his salary to charity.

Thirty-Third President. It was President Truman who made the final decision to use the atomic bombs on Japan to speed up the end of the World War II.

Twenty-Second & Twenty-Forth President. President Cleveland was the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms. In 1893, Cleveland forced the withdrawal of a treaty which would have annexed Hawaii because he felt that America was wrong in helping with the overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani.

Thirty-Eighth President. Gerald Ford was never elected to be president or vice-president but instead took office upon the resignation first of Spiro Agnew and then of Richard Nixon. As president, Ford tried to calm earlier controversies by granting former President Nixon a full pardon. Gerald Ford survived two assassination attempts.

First President. Despite being a member of the Federalist Party, Washington was immensely popular as a war hero and was an obvious choice as the first president for both federalists and anti-federalists. He was unanimously elected by the 69 electors. Washington was the only president inaugurated in 2 cities – New York and Philadelphia. Washington did his own bookkeeping and recorded every penny of expense or profit.

Forty-Third President. Bush took office in January 2001 and by September 11, 2001; the whole world was focused on New York City and the Pentagon with the attacks by Al-Qaeda operatives that resulted in the deaths of over 2,900 people. This event changed Bush’s presidency forever. Bush ordered the invasion of Afghanistan and the overthrow of the Taliban which had been harboring Al-Qaeda training camps. An important education act during his term was the “No Child Left Behind Act” meant to improve public schools.

Forty-First President. During his term Bush faced a dramatically changing world, as the Cold War ended after 40 bitter years, the Communist empire broke up, and The Soviet Union ceased to exist; and reformist President Mikhail Gorbachev, whom Bush had supported, resigned. He sent troops into Kuwait to help fight Iraq and Saddam Hussein in the First Persian Gulf War.

Fourteenth President . Pierce was the first president to put a Christmas tree in the White House. One issue that caused a lot of criticism against Pierce was the Ostend Manifesto. This was a document published in the New York Herald which stated that if Spain was not willing to sell Cuba to the U.S., the United States would consider taking aggressive action to get it.

Thirty-Second President. Roosevelt’s terms as president were marked by bold moves to fight two of the largest threats to America and the world: the Great Depression and World War II. Also during Roosevelt’s term, the Social Security Act was created and prohibition was repealed. Roosevelt is the only U.S. president to have served more than two terms of presidency. And assisted in founding the March of Dimes.

Thirty-Fourth President. He was then named Supreme Allied Commander in charge of the D-Day invasion. Eisenhower’s willingness to send federal troops into Little Rock, Arkansas to ensure that local schools were desegregated was an important step in the Civil Rights movement.

Twenty-First President. Arthur succeeded Garfield upon his assassination. He was significant for two important pieces of legislation that occurred during his presidency. The Pendleton Civil Service Act, stipulating that government jobs should be awarded on the basis of merit, has had a long reaching positive impact while the Chinese Exclusion Act which allowed the U.S. to suspend immigration.

Thirtieth President. Coolidge is shown with his big Stetson hat and cowboy boots and is standing next to a saddle that was made especially for him by Rapid City saddle maker Bud Duhamel.

Forty-Second President. During the administration of Bill Clinton, the U.S. enjoyed more peace and economic well-being than at any time in its history. An important protective bill that passed in 1993 soon after taking office was the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Twenty-Third President. In 1890, Benjamin Harrison sponsored a tariff that required those wishing to import products to pay a 48% tax. This resulted in a rise of consumer prices. This was not a popular tariff.

Seventeenth President. Johnson became president after Lincoln’s death. During his presidency, Even though many saw it as folly at the time, it was truly an amazing investment in that it provided America with gold and oil while increasing the size of the United States drastically and removing Russian influence from the North American continent. He became the first president to be impeached while in office.

Seventh President. Andrew Jackson was the first “citizen-president” representing the common man. He believed strongly in preserving the union and in keeping too much power out of the hands of the wealthy.

Sixteenth President. Abraham Lincoln is considered by many scholars to have been the best president. He is credited with holding the Union together and leading the North to victory in the Civil War. Further, his actions and beliefs led to the emancipation of African-Americans from the bonds of slavery.ravel

This walk gave me an inside look of the personal affection Rapid City holds for the men who shaped this nation. An affection that reaches beyond Mount Rushmore. In fact, Rapid City has been honored with the designation “Most Patriotic Town in The United States” partly because of this fantastic city tour. Rapid City is worth the gas to get here.

Sunday in South Dakota: Deadwood Days of ’76

July 30th, 2017

Everybody loves a parade! But this gold-camp-turned-tourism-town seems to take it to another level, spawning a colorful cast of characters who assume the identities of western legends each July for the Days of ’76 celebration. The Days of ’76 began as way to honor Deadwood’s first pioneers. The prospectors, miners and madams who poured into the Black Hills in 1876 came to settle the gold-filled gulches of Dakota Territory.

Since the first celebration in 1924, the Days of ’76 has grown into a legendary event with a historic parade and award-winning midsized rodeo. It was so hot I couldn’t sit comfortably on the metal bench, but it was well worth my time. I sat surrounded by colorful locals and tourists as floats, wagons and horses trailed by. The parade was organized to tell visitors the story of Deadwood beginning with the Lakota Indians. The Lakota were followed by the trappers and miners, military, cowboys and pioneers.

This year’s Deadwood Days of ’76 PRCA Rodeo kicked off July 26 and concluded on Saturday – and every ride was a chance to top one of this iconic rodeo’s arena records. The PRCA, headquartered in Colorado Springs, is the highest-paying American rodeo organization. These boys ride hard and eat a lot of dust for the chance to win the $229,074 purse. The posters claimed this was “The Best Rodeo” and I can honestly say it was the best rodeo I’ve seen this year.

This nation was founded on individual spirit and small communities that keep their heritage alive. That’s what everyone at Deadwood ’76 Days was doing. We were celebrating the best of the American spirit together.  

Deadwood is a National Historic place (an entire city accurately restored to its historic significance on the scale as Colonial Williamsburg) where the wild west is still alive and has been since the 1800’s. www.deadwood.com

Sunday in South Dakota: Badlands National Park

July 23rd, 2017

The Lakota gave this land its name, “Mako Sica,” meaning “land bad.” Located in southwestern South Dakota, the Badlands National Park consists of 244,000 acres of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles and spires blended with the largest protected mixed grass prairie in the United States. Friends, this is rugged desolation in its truest form. I’ve visited several times and I’m not joking when I say you can look for miles and see no sign of civilization. As far as the eye can see.

This land, once an ancient sea, has been ruthlessly ravaged by wind and water into something picturesque. Erosion of the Badlands 60 mile “Wall” reveals sedimentary layers of different colors people enjoy: purple and yellow (shale), tan and gray (sand and gravel), red and orange (iron oxides) and white (volcanic ash).

Besides tour buses and car loads of people, wildlife roams the park’s boundaries as well. On any given day visitors might be able to view bison, pronghorn, mule and whitetail deer, prairie dogs, coyotes, butterflies, turtles, snakes, bluebirds, vultures, eagles and ancient fossils. https://www.nps.gov/badl/index.htm https://www.visitrapidcity.com/parks-monuments/badlands-park

As far as the eye can see there is natural beauty waiting to be found; like an ancient fossil after a rainstorm. Enjoy your world.

Sunday in South Dakota: Hot Springs

July 16th, 2017

For thousands of years natural hot springs have been prized for their healing powers.

The city of Hot Springs, SD was founded as a frontier health spa to capitalize on their six major springs of warm mineral waters. Waters I couldn’t wait to soak my own weary bones in. The valley of healing waters, called “wiwila kata” by the Lakota (meaning warm waters), was prized for the warm spring-fed river. Both the Lakota and Cheyenne utilized the natural river of warm water springs that flows through present-day Hot Springs.

In 1881 the spring was traded for a horse valued at thirty-five dollars! It was then sold as Plunge Springs to Dr. Stewart who saw the natural mineral springs as a cure-all for a multitude of illnesses. Dr. Stewart purchased the biggest spring of them all, and one of the warmest at 87 degrees. Its waters flow up through the gravel bottom of Evans Plunge.  It totally re-charges the soothing water in the indoor water park seven times a day. http://www.evansplunge.com/our-story/

The spring bed was made up of smooth river rocks that felt like a foot massage.

The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, SD is an active paleontological dig site located near the Evan Springs Plunge. The site boasts the largest concentration of mammoth remains in the world!  Their current mammoth count is 61, with 58 Columbian and 3 woolly mammoths…all YOUNG MALES. (make your own conclusions)  This is an especially unique National Natural Landmark! http://mammothsite.com/history/

Sunday in South Dakota: Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial

July 9th, 2017

There is more than gold in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Rapid City will be my home for the next three months, and above dense forests and pristine streams, the Mount Rushmore National Memorial represents a national treasure. Come with me while I explore the scenic Black Hills.

If you are visiting the southern Black Hills, Cathedral Spires is an area within Custer State Park that should definitely be on your itinerary.

Sylvan Lake is the “crown jewel” of Custer State Park. It was created in 1881 when Theodore Reder built a dam across Sunday Gulch Creek.

Such care was taken not to disturb the landscape that some sections of the road actually divide into one-lane, one-way ribbons that swoop and bound through mixed pine and deciduous forest. 

Known for its “pigtail” bridges, Norbeck’s Iron Mountain Road redefined what a road could be.

 

Symbolizing the ideals of US freedom and democracy, it is a tribute to four presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln and their invaluable contributions to the United States. Mount Rushmore National Memorial stands as a solid reminder of our national pride. It is surrounded by American history with Crazy Horse and Custer State Park where the buffalo once again run free.

As a Founding Father he oversaw the purchase of the vast Louisiana Territory from France (1803), and sent the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804–1806) to explore the new west which doubled the size of our country at the timme. Jefferson also signed into law a bill that banned the importation of slaves into the United States.

Washington was chosen because he led early Americans to victory during the Revolutionary War. He had a vision of a great and powerful nation.

Roosevelt was the force behind the completion of the Panama Canal; sent the Great White Fleet on a world tour to demonstrate American power; and negotiated an end to the Russo-Japanese War, for which he won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Lincoln successfully led the United States through its greatest constitutional, military, and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union. Lincoln has been consistently ranked by scholars and the public as one of the greatest U.S. presidents.

Located five miles north of Custer State Park is the Crazy Horse Memorial, located in the heart of the beautiful Black Hills. The Mountain is 6,532 ft. and ranks 27th highest mountain in South Dakota. This mountain was hand picked by Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear for the Crazy Horse Memorial. Work began on this magnificent sculpture in 1948 and continues today. Inspired by Mount Rushmore, sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski dedicated his life to the largest sculptural undertaking in the world that his family continues today.

Unlike Mount Rushmore, The Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation has a mission to protect and preserve the culture, tradition and living heritage of the North American Indians with a museum repository and establishing the Native American Indian Educational and Cultural Center, a medical training center for American Indians. https://crazyhorsememorial.org/

Needles Highway was completed in 1922 and includes 14 miles of sharp turns, low narrow tunnels and impressive granite spires. This is the last tunnel of the day.

Whether a lifelong vacation destination of families like mine, or a longer stop in your travels, the visit to honor heros at Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse will be engraved in your memory forever.

Sunday in Ohio

June 26th, 2017

Imagine you’re wearing your favorite yoga pants and t-shirt, sitting down with your coffee and proceed to open your Facebook. Then you choke when you see the announcement about the pending family reunion only six months away. There is no way you’ll lose 20 pounds in time, so you tackle a bag of cookies before it gets stale. And you wonder, how did six months already pass since the last reunion?!!  

I just returned from my native state of Ohio, where the annual reunion includes all ages come together to reminisce, shake their heads at the rambunctious youngsters, and moan about new parking rules at the campground, the cost of ice cream and/or the loss of (fill in the blank).

I vaguely remember having a conversation that went something along these lines: “Kids can’t even play anymore,” they mumble. “I remember how we fell out of trees and rode our bikes without a helmet. I hit my head so many times I forgot my name. (knee slap & laugh) These children will never know how to have fun like we did.”

The old-timers (which I found myself a part of this year) nod and pontificate about the pending doom of society. Then someone’s truck radio begins playing a concoction of Country/Blue Grass and the mood changes. Even the kids hop off the swings, put down the corn hole bags, stopped painting rocks and began moving around in sporadic rhythms. Suddenly, we’re all children running up the hollow together again.

Even if you had some falling out, thought the kids stayed up too late or hated holding your nose in the campground bathrooms, you don’t want to miss the excitement and renewed camaraderie that could result from attending next years reunion.

 

Sunday in Michigan: Hackley and Hume

June 18th, 2017

Visiting the Muskegon area? Be sure to tour the city’s historic waterways, squares, mansions and museums. The City of Muskegon has always been linked to the fresh waters that inspired its growth and have maintained its quality of life. During the lumbering era, pine logs traveled these waters to market, and Muskegon boasted more millionaires than any other town in America.

Lumber partners Hackley and Hume were two of these millionaires that built their fortune in Muskegon. The families built their home side-by-side while sharing a massive City Barn located between the houses. Serving as an architectural bridge between the two houses, the barn housed horses, equipment, and their coachmen, who each had living quarters on the second floor.

City Barn

Architectural details of barn bridging the two homes

Hume House

Hume’s coachman’s quarters. Thomas earned $40 a month and Hackley’s coachman making $25 a month. Historians believe the difference may be because Hume had 7 children and therefore his coachman had extra responsibilities.

Built between 1887 – 1889 the Hackley House is a unique example of Victorian architecture and of late nineteenth century interior decorative arts. I have toured many historic homes and each one has something unique to offer. The Hackley House had exquisite examples of ornate Victorian woodworking, stenciled ceilings and a radiator food warmer in the dining room. I’d never seen one of those anywhere! The entryway of the Hackley House has five carved heads, representing the five races of man.

Hackley parlor

Hackley spared no expense impressing guests with stained glass windows. All are still original to the home.

The entryway of the Hackley House has five carved heads, representing the five races of man. This one represents the Native American.

This radiator-style, cast iron food warmer is not the one in the Hackley dining room, but very similar. It had shelves and allowed courses to stay warm during the meal.

Each of the Hackley fireplaces had ornate tiles fitting to that room.

Carved bat along Hackley staircase

Notice the hand stenciled border and ceiling work. Beautiful

This Hackley fireplace was unique because it was built with split flume in order that he could put a stained glass window above mantle.

The interior design of the Hume House is more open and modern than the Hackley House. Filled with spacious living areas and nine family bedrooms decorated with simple patterns, David S. Hopkins designed the house for comfort and a large family. The Hume family expanded the house after the turn of the century creating a beautiful library, a large dining room with geometric tile flooring, and a sleeping porch off daughter Helen’s room with a terne metal floor.

Hume massive front door and delightful tour guide.

Hume’s windows were less ornate

The Hume house was a typical family home.

Following our tour of the historic homes, we visited the Muskegon Museum of Art to view the North American Indian photography of Edward Curtis. The event celebrates the artistic genius and lasting cultural legacy of Edward Curtis, an early-1900s photographer who followed his dream and sacrificed everything for his art, died in obscurity, but left behind one of the greatest artistic collaborations and photographic achievements in history. In addition to the iconic photographs, the exhibition included all 20 bound volumes of the western Indian tribes, historic objects from Curtis’s life and work, and examples of cultural artifacts represented in the photographs. To view Curtis’ extraordinary body of work, click on the link below: https://edwardcurtis.com/?gclid=CPeax7n5wtQCFYSPswodcvsMZQ

Vacations are never complete without a sightseeing tour! Thank you, Tara, for suggesting these ideas for our outing.

Sunday in Michigan: Michigan Heritage Park

June 11th, 2017

Hands-on experiences await you along the trail of Michigan’s history! Michigan’s Heritage Park in Whitehall is a perfect family activity, promising outdoor adventure for all ages. A short stroll covers 10,000 years of Michigan History in a natural woodland setting.

While visiting with my family, I learned about military and civilian life at the time of the Civil War during this special weekend at Michigan’s Heritage Park.

Along the trail we experienced daily life in a Native American Wigwam Village (1650) and interacted with a fur trader (1760) stocking her shelves in the Fur Trade Post. In the Settlers Cabin (1830), we learned about the life of early settlers, but didn’t help with daily chores. We visited with Civil War Soldiers (1861 to 1865) in their winter camp and heard about the dangers in camp. We drew the line at stretching out on a bunk in the Lumber Shanty (1880), but not before learning what “small game in the bunk” means. Afterwards we continued the stroll to find out what it took to put dinner on the table in the Farmhouse (1900) and learn what the Civilian Conservation Corps (1933) did in Michigan.

Civil War Calvary

1630s Indian Wigwam Village

1830s Settles Cabin

1830s Settles Cabin

1830s Settles Cabin

Village Singers

1860s Civil War Camp

1860s Civil War Camp

1880 Lumbar Shanty

1900s Farmhouse

1900s Farmhouse

1900s Outhouse

1900s Kitchen

CCC Tent

Civil War Demonstrations

Trying out the atlatl

Develop a passion for learning together and you will develop a history working together successfully.

  

Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.