Saturday, July 29

Got up in Faith, SD and met my friend, Wade, for a coffee at the local shop in town. Had a good visit then I took off for Rapid City to hang out for the day. The drive south through central South Dakota was beautiful today. Sun shining, some puffy white clouds, clear and warm and the vistas were fantastic. Rolling green hills in every direction. Open and not many structures or trees and that’s in big part why it’s so beautiful.

Wide open spaces in S Dakota
Looks lush and healthy; can change quickly in sustained high heat with no rain.
The open road

Got down to Rapid City, SD and stopped in for lunch at a favorite of mine, the Firehouse Brewing Company. They are housed in a downtown old brick firehouse building. Good food and good beer. I sat at the bar since I was by myself and enjoyed a nice lunch break.

The Firehouse was hopping on a pretty Saturday afternoon.

I toured a favorite gift shop that’s too difficult to describe. Wonderful Native American art and gifts, clothing, jewelry and an art gallery. Prairie Edge Trading Co. is a must visit if you’re passing through Rapid. I relaxed outside for a bit reading my book and watching kids play in the downtown splash pad park. Felt good in the shade and plenty hot in the sun. They kids were sure having fun as it was a little hard to concentrate over the squeals of joy each time the jets of water exploded from the ground.

Main Street Square right downtown; what fun for kids and families.

I checked prices on hotels and although it was more expensive I chose to stay downtown at the historic Alex Johnson hotel. It’s a very cool old hotel with polish and charm. I’ve stayed there before and wanted to again. I inquired and asked for best price and bit the bullet and stayed there. Here are a few photos of the place.

On the ceiling of the 2-story lobby area
Apparently we rub his nose for luck?
What a majestic fireplace
Floor tiles in the lobby area – they look quite old and we’ll worn in place. I know this symbol predates the Nazi party’s appropriation of it, but don’t recall its meaning before then?

I checked in to my room, took a break, then headed by vehicle about 2 miles away to check out the kitschy “Dinosaur Park” that’s been up the winding hill from downtown since the Depression – it’s a WPA built project. I was given a neat, old postcard, by my sister, from this spot that was sent to someone in 1952. It’s on the wall of my workshop at home. I asked Elizabeth and she nicely went over to the shop and took a photo of the postcard for me so I could see if I could replicate the image. The park is on top of a significant hill with overlooks on two sides down into Rapid. It consists of a half dozen or so concrete dinosaurs styled in positions as they thought best in the 1930’s. Pretty neat. Take a look at my effort to capture the old postcard in todays light.

The postcard addressed to someone and mailed in 1952.
My recreation of the view. The T-rex in the foreground is shown with tail dragging as was the custom in 1930’s. He’s suffered some wear and tear on his head and little arms. Missing his hand claws and sharp teeth that can be seen in the old postcard.
Big ‘ol concrete dinosaur on top of the hill
Classic fight as T-rex and triceratops square off in the sunset
Hungry long neck getting a leafy snack
View back down into the city from the park

Went out for a meal then walked to my favorite ice cream shop in town; Armadillos Ice Cream. I was almost too late as I showed up at 9:51pm and they were preparing to close at 10! Thank goodness I made it.