I'm packing the car for a trip home. We're also going to the Black Hills Thursday to spend some time with relatives. It's been a while since I've gone out to The Hills, and we've gone many times over the years. Back in 1967, we stayed at a campground outside Hill City, which ended up being across the road from the place my aunt and uncle eventually retired to. Then my other aunt and uncle moved down the road from them. Cousins follow, so as generations continue, the relatives out there grow and grow. On that 1967 trip my brother Joe cut his foot at the campground and got blood poisoning, ending up in the hospital the night we got home.
On one trip to the hills, Dad was sleeping in the back of the car and Mom and I decided to continue on to Devils Tower in Wyoming. Dad woke up a couple miles from our destination and was not thrilled, but he's smiling in the photos. We came back to Rapid City without too much of a detour.
That year, 1988, there were fires and while we stayed at my cousin Greg's motel on Canyon Lake we spent the night watching the glow of the flames in the sky, as helicopters dipped huge buckets of water from the lake to fight the fires.
Since the relatives live so close to Mt. Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Monument, we usually go there for breakfast or lunch. These usually are our only touristy stops (and the fudge shop in Hill City).
I've also gone to the Black Hills twice with my high school band. The first time, the summer of 72, when the HS band director decided to include many of the 8th grade students on the trip. We were there the week before the Big Flood in Rapid City and the motel where we stayed was totally flooded along Canyon Lake. (This was the same hotel my cousin Greg eventually purchased) The second band trip there was my senior year in 1976.
I can't really count all the trips I've taken out to the Hills, but I've gone with family, the band and different groups of friends. Once I went and spent the week painting in the hills, while my friend Beth went to a workshop for work. Lets hope there are no fires, floods or injuries on this trip! I'll get back to you next week on the details.