Bev & Tim Holdahl at Aabergs, Rapid City Mt. Rushmore Custer S.P. Prairie dog

September 21  Leaving Sioux City 11.AM arrival Rapid City abt. 17 PM  -- The bus went west and northwards not along  Interstate 90. We had the sun in our backs at noon – for such a long time that I started to wonder whether I had entered the wrong bus.. But when we made a break at Huron, SD I managed to get the brain and the map more closely coordinated. At the moment we are heading  towards Pierre (state Capital).

They did not lie, those who told me that the land went trough a major change when crossing the Missouri River. I snapped a few  photos from the bus, first when descending the riverwall down to Pierre, later out on the Prairie. Here and there you can observe watercourses, trees and bushes are sparse – from time to time we see cultivated land.

Upon joining I 90 the landscape once more changed. This was near Wall. We climbed on to a big sand deposit (very clearly fluvial due to different colors of sand). On top of this deposit, we, judging the map, had entered into ”the Black Hills” area, where Rapid City is a ”traffical  belly button”       Arrived Rapid City – bus towards Salt lake City leaves  5.20 PM and I have to change busses in Gilette and Cheyenne in Wyoming.

Sept 22.  Made some arrangements to get a copy of my picture-CD. Took a walk around the property, then we left for Mt Rushmore. Took more pictures. We are now at abt 4000 ft. - I understood the elevation on the trip downwards. Pine forest and very special geology (hopefully there will be more about the geology in the pamphlet we got with the ticket) Carol Ann told me her father had a job offer to be a member of the ”blasting team”  when they constructed the monument.

Custer State Park – saw the rangers, they could tell us where to scout for the different Buffalo herds. We traveled trough the park, clicked more pictures in the ”Needles”. Going south the landscape changed to rolling pine-covered hills (not much water). Beautiful autumncolors! Found the Buffalo heard, then a prairie dog colony – was told the Ranchers are not very friendly with this animal, makes a lot of tunnels underneath the turf,  cattle and horses break the legs…  Look like some smaller fires have destroyed some areas here. Father and daughter Aaberg has been volunteers in the Fire Brigade.  Big fire in the area year 1968, organic topsoil burnt. In ”fire areas” they fertilize and seed as soon as possible to prevent erosion. Here are silt and sandy hills. Surprisingly big mineral crystals in the local granite, it looks softer then our Norwegian. (probably less pressure ??) We are now looking in direction Wind Cave – a deep cave found by a cowboy  who lost his hat from the air drift by the cave mouth. Carol Ann’s uncle was ranger in the caves; he later came as a ranger to Devils Tower, WY.

 Buffalo in Custer S.P. Cemetery, Hot Springs,SD South Dakota Badlands Carol Ann & Kent K

In the cemetery of Hot Springs my great grandfather’s first cousin is buried. (Second pict. from left). He was baptized Engebret like his grandfather, but since his father was known as Ola Embriksson - and Engebret was the only boy, he was n his home area known as “Embriksonguten” (Embrik’s sons boy). He and his wife Tonetta homesteaded near Hot Springs, (picture to the right). I wanted to go out to a small hill to have a good angle for my photo, when suddenly Carol Ann called out  in a rather warning tone: “Don’t go there, it’s rattlesnake area!”. At that moment and for a few seconds more the middleaged man from Valdres ran like he had fire in his trousers.                 At last we ended up at ”aunt Shirley’s” house in Hot Springs. Her daughter and son in law has a ranch (Hereford and Angus cattle) northeast of town, has abt. 300 heads during summer. The children on the ranch, girls, were eager horseriders, so they keep the family tradition living.   The town of Hot Springs was around year 1900 a popular spa-place. Today, there were abt 4000 inhabitants, and wondering how to benefit on their position in the future – strategically placed among major tourist attractions in the region.

Wednesday (sept 23) went into Rapid City to by CD-burner for Carol Ann. Met ”aunt Lucille” for coffebreak, left for South Dakota Badlands. Finished with a stop at Wall Drug

Deb Bush, Hulett, WY Devils Tower, WY Carol Ann and nice autumn colors

Thursday (sept 24) Going into Rapid City for lunch break with Kent Kennedy. Traveled northwest, came to Sturgis where there are bikers-meeting in the summer. Every year  500.000 bikers roams around in this area for one week. Then towards Butte, to the west we saw Terry Peak with its winter sports facilities – traveled to Hulett, WY, visited Ponderosa Cafe & Bar – met with, and were served good cakes by Debbie (fourth cousin of my son, she must be). She had ”the blink in the eye”. The ”House & Garden” Magazine had given the Cafe following testimonial: ”Best biscuits and Gravy west of Mississippi”.

Today (Friday sept. 25) my trip continues towards Salt Lake City (connections to San Francisco 9AM 12 6PM) Started out at 8, tried to mend some lose ends in our common family lines. Fitted Carol Ann’s CD writer and brings the pictures from Black Hills on a spare freshly homemade CD. On our trip to the bus station we made a detour to fam. Dahl’s replica of Borgund Stave Church; ”the Lutheran Church in the Hills”. In the Church there was a wedding, on the Church-area we visited the Norwegian Immigrant cabin with its ”Ole & Lena” wooden sculptures outside.  Drove to Dahl Center of fine Arts. Dahl was a banker of Norwegian origin. Inside was a mural painting showing American history, well worth seeing!  In the end went into an art shop with a lot of nice paper figures (Indian art) … Then the bus is leaving …