Sunday, August 17, 2008

Black Hills Get Away

I survived my first week back at school so we decided to celebrate with an impromptu trip to the Black Hills.  Really, we went because I needed to buy some backing for Marissa's quilt and the Custer Quilt Shop has 108" backing so I don't have to piece it.
I made this for Marissa when she turned 18 ... which was last October.  On Halloween --- hence the two dozen different Halloween fabrics.  (Naturally, I bought enough so that I can make myself a Halloween quilt someday.)  Of course I only had it a little over half done so it became a combination birthday and high school graduation quilt.  Now it has morphed into a birthday, high school graduation and welcome to college quilt.   Let's just hope it doesn't end up being a congratulations on your college degree quilt!
The backing is a marbled purple which contrasts 
and blends very nicely with the pieced front.

With our quilt necessities out of the way, we decided to play.  Of course food was first and foremost on the list.   Since food is such a delight, we have tried many different places.
Cattleman's Steakhouse & Fish in Custer is quite good.  It's probably not some place we would have gone by chance but Lee, the gentleman that we bought our farm from, ran that place until he died and so we always stopped in to say hi when we went through Custer.  Their soup is especially good.
We have always wanted to try The Purple Pie Place, but as of yet we haven't made it.  But since it's for sale, we'd probably better hurry up or we'll regret it.  The lady at the quilt shop told us that they feature 18 different kinds of pie each day.

A trip or two ago we ate at The Bavarian Inn, but it was just mediocre at best.  We were both sorely disappointed because we had been looking forward to trying it out.
We also like eating at The Bluebell Lodge.  They offer buffalo meat and it is exceptional.
Actually, the decision was not hard.  We headed for Hill City and our favorite place of all time:  the Alpine Inn.  It features German cuisine and serve spaetzle, which is hands down my favorite German food.  Next to garlic sausage of course.
We both ordered bratwurst and spaetzle which is a noodle dumpling with Swiss cheese and topped with delectable grilled onions.  It is the best, let me tell you.  However, their desserts are nothing to sneeze at either!  We always have such a hard time deciding what we want to order.
We ordered a white German chocolate mousse, which we shared.
We also discovered that Jon Crane has done a print of The Alpine Inn:

It looks an awful lot lot a Kinkade with the muted lights, but I liked it better than most of the Kinkades.  If anyone wants to buy me an artist print, I wouldn't argue!

With our bellies full, we had the rest of the day to play.
  The town was still full of tourists so we skipped the Jon Crane Gallery because we know we'll be back in September for the quilt show.  We drove through the hills and just enjoyed all of the scenery.
I did some hiking while Mardell waited for me.  We had asked Mom to come along, but she declined.  I was hoping she would go so that Mardell had company while I trekked.
I didn't go far because the humidity was so high and it had to boring for Mardell to just sit and wait, but I did enjoy it a lot. 
I would like to do more hiking in the Hills.  Any takers?
It wouldn't be a complete day if wildlife wasn't spotted.
We saw bison
and since 5,968 photos of bison aren't enough, we took about a hundred more!

Now, count your blessings that I only included half a dozen.

We also saw lots and lots of deer.
Really, there is a deer there.  It turned it's head to watch us.

This one could have cared 

less that we were watching it.

Mom has growths on her back that look like giant sheep ticks.  We were surprised to find a fawn with spots.  We have LOTS of pictures of it.
I wish this picture had turned out better.  We could see the velvet on his antlers.  It was so cool. 
 There were also lots of antelope and some mountain goats.
This was as close as we could ever get to the antelope.  Gotta have a camera with a much, much better zoom!
I love the sunlight streaming in on this one.
I was reminded of Vegas with this photo.

This is the first time that we've see mountain goats.  We've seen bighorn sheep before, but never the goats.

A photo journey to the Hills wouldn't be complete without the prairie dogs.  I really made this little guy mad.  He cussed me non-stop for about ten minutes.

Wait, this isn't my good side!  The other one is.

This little bugger really made ME mad --- he alerted the turkey family that I was approaching.

They didn't hesitate to take off.

We also saw some small rodents.
I know, you can't even begin to tell what is in this picture ... even with the helpful circle.  It was a chipmunk.  A very fast, very skittish chipmunk. 
These two were laughing when my turkeys took off.
My favorite part of the day was in Keystone at the stream.  I was hopping along the rocks snapping pictures and video while Mardell was snapping my photo.
Everything was great until I saw the snake and damned near fell in!  Then I figured the snake photo would make a great addition to the blog so I chased it around trying to get its picture.  It finally slithered into a tree stump.
We enjoyed Mount Rushmore as we always do.
The wildflowers were abundant.

And of course, the Beggars of the Black Hills amused us.

There were quite a few babies and
their antics were fun to watch.
Then when they got tired, they layed down 
and nothing would get them back up.
Except supper time!
I'm not moving and you can't make me!
The day was long and before 
we knew it the moon was rising.


nicki said...

This totally makes me want to go to the black hills. i want to see some baby donkeys!

SisterTwo said...

Laughing out loud, because we always end up taking pictures of Bison and the dang prarie dogs. Of course then we go home and try to get rid of the prarie dogs in our pastures! Makes no since, does it?

No trip to Custer park is complete with a visit from the donkeys. Remember to keep carrots with you when you go.