Jay and Gina's Journal
Coming north from Pierre, SD, the land is really flat and a lovely golden color. Silo complexes are large and visible from the distance - flat means you can see a long way off.
Most surprising view today was of a fawn grazing with cattle! We saw several large fields of sunflowers. SD produces lots of sunflowers. We crossed the Missouri River again at Mobrige, SD on a single lane bridge. Artistic Railroad bridge was to our life. The area was so gorgeous, and we were able to continue to enjoy the view from our casino/rest stop, Grand River Casino where Jay won $50 on a 75 cent investment in a slot machine! The casino’s run by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.
Just up the hill was Sitting Bull’s grave on a hill overlooking the Missouri River. What a wonderful setting for his monument and Sacagawea’s place of honor just a bit down the road. Then you get into the disputes about where Sacagawea and Sitting Bull are actually buried. You can choose between Ft. Manuel, SD or Wind River Reservation in Wyoming for Bird Woman- did she go home to her people? We went on to look at another possible burial site for Sitting Bull at Ft. Yates, ND. The one on the top of the hill is much nicer.
We had a quick discussion about the tour staying on Central Time until tomorrow, as we go back and forth between the two time zones. Since my phone goes automatically to the local time, I’m glad I decided to bring my watch.
Lunch was a buffet at Prairie Knights Casino. I put $1 in the slot machine, and got back 90 cents.
Next stop, Ft. Abraham Lincoln, ND just outside Mandan, ND Toured round mud lodges which were home to14 or so people per building. It was furnished per memories of the Mandan people. The mud walls provided perfect insulation. These people practiced agriculture ( three sister gardens; 13 kinds of corn, 9 of beans and 5 different squash; and sunflowers down on the bottomland along the edge of the river, and lived on the bluff from where they could see enemies coming, in time to withdraw into the fortified village of 80 or so lodges.
“In the fall, after the corn was harvested and the kernels removed from the cob for storage, the corncobs were stacked in a pile for burning. If the wind didn’t blow and the fire burned properly, a filmy coating was left on the ashes. Said ashes were collected and rolled into balls of a spice much preferred by the Mandan to the alkali salts found around sloughs and small lakes in the region.”
The sounds of the flute demonstration were a wonderful respite to our HARD work of touring. Wonder of wonders, the PVC lute sounded as good as the wooden ones, even if it didn’t have the little echo quality at the end of the note. The number of holes in the body of the Native American flues varied from 4 to 6, depending upon where in continent it was made.
Next stop was Gen. George C. Custer’s quarters with interpreters portraying a Sgt. and laundress from 1875. The house was a replica of the one occupied by the Custers. Custer had changed the Army issue design to include wrap around porches and bay windows in the parlor.
And we crossed the Missouri River again coming from Mandan into Bismark