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Journey to the Great NorthWest

Updated on April 23, 2019
James A Watkins profile image

James A. Watkins is an entrepreneur, musician, and a writer with three non-fiction books and hundreds of magazine articles read by millions.

Northwest United States

I recently had the good fortune to experience a two week road trip through the Northwest United States. This part of my country was one of two to which I had never been (New England being the other).

The journey proved to be far more interesting and pleasurable than I had anticipated. I shot many rolls of film during the excursion. I would like to share what I saw if you will come along with me.

CORN PALACE IN MITCHELL SOUTH DAKOTA
CORN PALACE IN MITCHELL SOUTH DAKOTA
THE CORN PALACE
THE CORN PALACE

Corn Palace

The Corn Palace is a folk art icon in Mitchell, South Dakota, which receives more than a half a million visitors each year. Mitchell is home to 15,000 people, among them George McGovern.

The Corn Palace was built in 1892 to showcase the local harvest—on the building itself. The current Corn Palace was constructed in 1921.

Each year since, a local artist has completely remade the facade with murals made of corn, framed by native grasses. 12 different colors of corn were used in this year's mural, which was created by the art teacher of nearby Dakota Wesleyan University, Cherie Ramsdell.

The Corn Palace is used for basketball, concerts, exhibits, community events, and Ultimate Fighting bouts.

THE BADLANDS
THE BADLANDS
FACING AN 80 MPH WIND JAMES A WATKINS MAKES A PERSONAL APPEARANCE
FACING AN 80 MPH WIND JAMES A WATKINS MAKES A PERSONAL APPEARANCE
EXAMPLE OF WILDLIFE IN THE BADLANDS
EXAMPLE OF WILDLIFE IN THE BADLANDS

The Badlands

The Badlands of South Dakota is a National Park designated as a wilderness area. The Lakota Indians named this place The Badlands. I could hardly believe how deserted it was—and how beautiful.

The Badlands features a stunningly unusual and colorful landscape, filled with bizarre natural land forms. It is an eerie, spooky place. The few hours I was there I only saw a handful of people. The Badlands was used as a bombing range during World War II. It is today considered one of the world's most fabulous fossil beds.

On my way out I encountered a strange little hamlet called Scenic. I thought it was an abandoned movie set at first, but then spotted a few people at a gas station around the corner. It was about then that I decided to find my way back to civilization.

JAMES IN SCENIC SOUTH DAKOTA WISHING HE HADN'T STOPPED AT THE COUNTRY BUFFET
JAMES IN SCENIC SOUTH DAKOTA WISHING HE HADN'T STOPPED AT THE COUNTRY BUFFET
RAPID CITY SOUTH DAKOTA
RAPID CITY SOUTH DAKOTA
STATUE OF THOMAS JEFFERSON IN RAPID CITY
STATUE OF THOMAS JEFFERSON IN RAPID CITY

Rapid City, South Dakota

Rapid City, South Dakota, surprised me. I didn't know what to expect, but Rapid City impressed me deeply. It is the kind of city I could see myself living in.

The "Gateway to the Black Hills" has about 120,000 residents in the metropolitan area, 10% of them Native Americans. There is the danger of floods—250 people died in the 1972 flood—and wild fires (due to the dry air). The downtown is thriving commercially and artistically.

Tourists buy Black Hills Gold in Rapid City, and enjoy incredible sculptures of the American Presidents scattered around the city center.

From the 1960s to the 1990s the area was home to over 150 missile silos. Rapid City holds two remarkable weather records: fastest temperature rise of 49 °F in 2 minutes on January 22, 1943; and fastest temperature drop of 47 °F in 5 minutes on January 10, 1911. The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally brings nearly as many visitors to the area each August as South Dakota has population.

MOUNT RUSHMORE
MOUNT RUSHMORE
THE BLACK HILLS
THE BLACK HILLS
RAILROAD BRIDGE IN BLACK HILLS
RAILROAD BRIDGE IN BLACK HILLS
JAMES A WATKINS IN BLACK HILLS
JAMES A WATKINS IN BLACK HILLS
YOUR AUTHOR IN DEADWOOD
YOUR AUTHOR IN DEADWOOD

The Black Hills, Mount Rushmore, and Deadwood

Mount Rushmore draws two million visitors annually to see the six-story high faces of four American Presidents—George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt—carved into the granite mountainside. The massive sculptures took 15 years to complete.

The nearest town to Mount Rushmore is Keystone, which itself is a pleasure to visit.

Also nearby is the city of Lead. Lead was founded around the Homestake Mine—the largest, deepest, most productive gold mine in the Western Hemisphere for 100 years before it closed in 2002.

The twin city with Lead is Deadwood, which inspired the eponymous television series. Deadwood is famous as the town where Wild Bill Hickok was murdered. Hickok and Calamity Jane are buried there. Back in the day, Deadwood was full of miners, gamblers, prostitutes, gunslingers, and outlaws.

On my way out of the Black Hills, I drove alongside Spearfish Creek, which is unusual in that it freezes from the bottom up.

KEYSTONE SOUTH DAKOTA
KEYSTONE SOUTH DAKOTA
HOMESTAKE GOLD MINE IN LEAD SOUTH DAKOTA
HOMESTAKE GOLD MINE IN LEAD SOUTH DAKOTA
BRIDAL VEIL FALLS IN BLACK HILLS
BRIDAL VEIL FALLS IN BLACK HILLS
IT WAS SNOWING BESIDE SPEARFISH CREEK
IT WAS SNOWING BESIDE SPEARFISH CREEK
JAMES AT DEVILS TOWER
JAMES AT DEVILS TOWER
DEVILS TOWER NEAR SUNDANCE WYOMING
DEVILS TOWER NEAR SUNDANCE WYOMING

Devils Tower

We drove through the northeast corner of Wyoming on my way from South Dakota to Montana. we stopped in the town of Sundance, famous for its film festival, but there isn't much to see there. So we drove on to see Devils Tower, which was featured prominently in the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

American Indian tribes had many names for Devils Tower (including its present name), most commonly Bear Lodge.

President Theodore Roosevelt named it the first American national monument in 1906. 4,000 people actually climb the thing each year. There is also a very cool Prairie Dog village nearby.

THE LITTLE BIG HORN RIVER AS SHOT FROM LAST STAND HILL
THE LITTLE BIG HORN RIVER AS SHOT FROM LAST STAND HILL
WILD HORSES AT LITTLE BIG HORN NATIONAL MONUMENT
WILD HORSES AT LITTLE BIG HORN NATIONAL MONUMENT
BOZEMAN MONTANA
BOZEMAN MONTANA
HISTORIC UPTOWN DISTRICT OF BUTTE MONTANA
HISTORIC UPTOWN DISTRICT OF BUTTE MONTANA

Moving to Montana Soon, Going to be a Dental Floss Tycoon

My first stop in Montana was the Little Big Horn National Monument where General George Custer made his last stand. Several thousand Lakota and Cheyenne warriors joined forces here under the leadership of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse in 1876 to kill—and ritually mutilate the bodies of—all of the 210 American soldiers under Custer's command.

Next, I visited the very nice city of Bozeman, which sits 75 miles from Yellowstone National Park. Bozeman is the fastest growing city in Montana. The popular movies A River Runs Through It and The Horse Whisperer were both filmed there.

Home to Montana State University, Bozeman is the city from which hailed the actor Gary Cooper.

Butte is an interesting place to visit. I was surprised by the number of oil derricks right in the city. Butte was once among the most prosperous cities in America due to copper mining. Between the two world wars it was the largest city for hundreds of miles in all directions.

Butte was well known for labor unions and socialism, as well as its hundreds of saloons and brothels. Some of the whorehouses continued to operate until the 1980s. The daredevil Evel Knievel was from Butte.

MONTANA
MONTANA
BIG SKY COUNTRY OF MONTANA
BIG SKY COUNTRY OF MONTANA
MONTANA AT 115 MPH
MONTANA AT 115 MPH

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    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      Allan McGregor— I have no idea what that dinosaur was doing out in that field. Thank you for visiting and commenting.

    • Allan McGregor profile image

      Allan McGregor 

      9 years ago from South Lanarkshire

      Where has the time gon? I've been so busy lately, I've been missing some great hubs. I was impressed by the blue dinosaur. Now THAT's clod.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      50 Caliber— Correction noted, my friend. That is amazing.

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 

      9 years ago from Arizona

      James that's not correct, it was supposed to be but 20, even two finger punching I got it wrong. Maybe I should reread. 50

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      50 Caliber— Hello my friend 50! 30 years of Sturgis! Wow man. You've been there. And you've gotten there. :D

      Thank you for this fascinating story. I enjoyed your tales. And you are welcome anytime.

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 

      9 years ago from Arizona

      Nice ride James, I have to say on my cycle trips the Bad Lands tripped my trigger the biggest on my first years of 30 making that ride to Sturgis, It wasn't about being there after 10 it was about getting there, as we rode old rat trap hogs with plenty of bailing wire. We used to get stoned and or drunk and sit around doing intelligent stuff like counting hose clamps and bailing wire, oh and duct tape repairs to see who had the rattiest rat bike of all. On the road to sobriety which I have to admit maybe highly over rated since I have found Peyote growing wild, a hog that makes the trip with out 2 or 3 gallons of oil and 6 hours of repairs is more desired, it may have to do with an odometer on my ass getting to be quite high in mileage as well. I made the 50th anniversary and called it my last but carried on to make an even 20th year run, If I can find a human to watch the dogs I may try and make the 70th anniversary this year on my '54 Rat-trap Jock shift Hydra-Glide parts bucket bastardized Muther F_cked big inch Pan Head, another time, and include the Bad Land trip as well. Back when I started going it was still a "true Biker" event and 1976 my first was a colorful year for the run. It has since eroded into a disappointing truck and trailer commercial event with much family oriented content that has disrupted the true meaning of we socially unacceptable dirt bags. Oh, I've rambled off topic but It was your fault for presenting such a memorable journey of your own. Thanks, James, it is one thing lost to my life style, no neighbors to watch my junk while I go away for a few weeks. 50

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      DeBorrah K. Ogans— Thank you! And you're welcome. The landscapes out west are absolutely gorgeous. I did have a grand old time. God Bless You, Sister.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      9 years ago

      James A. Watkins, Wonderful hub! Thank you for sharing your travels of the Great North West! Beautiful natural landscape photography! Mount Rushmore looks quite remarkable... So glad you had a great time!

      Peace & Blessings!

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      liswilliams— You're welcome. I hope you do come. Thank you for visiting and commenting.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      donotfear— Thank you! Thank you very much. :-)

    • liswilliams profile image

      liswilliams 

      9 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks for this mini travel guide, James. I've always wanted to go to the States and these places are beautiful. I will get there someday!

    • donotfear profile image

      Annette Thomas 

      9 years ago from Northeast Texas

      Very good!

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      gusripper— I've been following the story on the news. I wish you the best, brother. That's a great song, by the way.

    • gusripper profile image

      gusripper 

      9 years ago

      Things are not very well in Greece,because of the economy. For 30 yrs everything was built on the sand.And now only one song can describe the situation.....Dust in the wind....

      I hope that stops next months.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      Ictodd1947— You are welcome. Thank you for taking the time to read about my trip and some of the places I visited.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      sweetie1— Thank you! Thank you very much. And you're welcome. :)

    • lctodd1947 profile image

      Linda Todd 

      9 years ago from Charleston

      Very interesting and informative. Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      gusripper— Thank you, brother. I'm glad you liked the photos. I know that you are a connoisseur of photos. I hope things are OK for you over there in Greece. I've heard there's been some troubles.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      Peggy W— Thank you, my dear, for the congrats and the Thumbs Up. I do appreciate it. Next time I hope Cosmos is open. :D

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      jandee— A little loving? I'm a whole lotta love! I don't know what you mean by hate, my dear. I don't hate anybody. I love everybody. :-)

      James

    • sweetie1 profile image

      sweetie1 

      9 years ago from India

      Very nice hub thanks for lovely pics u have put here

    • gusripper profile image

      gusripper 

      9 years ago

      Amazing James,photos are perfect.So i think is North West

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      boba020682— You're welcome. I'm happy to oblige. Anytime for you my friend. Thanks for coming back.

      James

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      Harlan Colt— I will be writing about Idaho soon. I did visit a few places there—Coeur D'Alene, Kellogg, Sandpointe, Bonners Ferry. I loved Idaho. I would consider living there. I liked it that much. I have a friend in Idaho Falls but I didn't make it there. Yet. :D

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      robie2— You are quite welcome. I could spend a week in the Black Hills. It is unusual and beautiful. Thanks for coming. It's nice to see you here.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      blue parrot— You're welcome. I'm happy to oblige. Well, there was no gunfight the day I was there. :D

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      It would seem that you will be attracting a great many people who may wish to visit this wonderfully scenic part of our country with what you have written in this hub. Congrats! Thumbs up!

    • jandee profile image

      jandee 

      9 years ago from Liverpool.U.K

      James ! Where does all your hate come from ! Please be a little loving......jandee

    • boba020682 profile image

      boba020682 

      9 years ago from Silicon Valley

      Mr. Watkins!

      Thank you for the quick reply.

      That creek would be a real trip to see after a week or so of freezing.

      And Yes, waiting for October is for the leaves. New England is beautiful year round but spectacular in mid October.

      Bob

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      raisingme— Thank you! Thank you very much. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community!

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      jill of alltrades— You are truly welcome. It was an amazing drive. And it's big country. Montana was 669 miles across!

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      carolina muscle— Man, it was a hoot and a holler. I'm glad you like the pics. Thanks for swinging in.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      FGual— You are surely welcome! Thank you for taking the time to peruse my gallery and article. I appreciate your comments.

    • Harlan Colt profile image

      Harlan Colt 

      9 years ago from the Rocky Mountains

      James, as a resident of Idaho and the Northwest, certainly, I have deep respect for our neighboring states, however, it is my honest opinion, until you've seen and experienced Idaho, you're only experiencing second best.

      But again, I am a 4th generation Idahoan, and loyalty runs deep.

      - Harlan

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      hypnodude— You are surely welcome, my friend. Thank you for your kind compliments. I hope you come over and see the Great Northwest with your own eyes someday. Nice to hear from you.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      nancy_30— I'm glad you appreciated the pictures and enjoyed the Hub. Thank you for visiting and commenting. It was a great trip.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      boba020682— Hello, brother man! Thank you! I may take you up on your advice to hold off on New England (which I was thinking about trying to visit this summer) until October. To see the turning of the leaves, right?

      The unusual phenomenon at Spearfish Creek occurs due to the very fast rate at which the creek flows. This speed prevents ice from forming except along the bottom of the creek bed where friction and turbulence allow the water to slow down long enough to freeze. Since the creek continues to flow atop this ice, the water level of the creek gradually rises as more ice accumulates on the bottom.

    • robie2 profile image

      Roberta Kyle 

      9 years ago from Central New Jersey

      A part of the country I have never visited-- but you make it sound very tempting. .... especially the Black Hills. Well, I've had a lovely armchair trip anyway. Thanks:-)

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      jvhirniak— Bridal Veil Falls is off the beaten path, on US 14A, which is a back road up and down mountains from Lead to Spearfish. It is a beautiful drive. Thank you for adding mention of this in your Hub. I will visit your Waterfalls, USA Hub today!

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      Juliette Morgan— Thank you, Juliette, for your thoughful compliments. You're surely welcome.

      James

    • blue parrot profile image

      blue parrot 

      9 years ago from Madrid, Spain

      Thanks for Gutzon Borglum's name. Now I'll look him up. And also the way to pronounce Lead. I'm glad there was no gunfight at that saloon in Scenic.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      sheila b.— I do plan to make New England my next target to visit. Thanks for the fine tips. I would like to take at least a week and see as much of New England as I can. I appreciate your compliments and visitation. :-)

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      v_kahleranderson— You're welcome, VKA. I hope you and hubby do make this trip. It is glorious. Thank you for your compliments. God Bless You.

      James

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      partisan patriot— You are quite welcome. Thank you for your kind compliments. I appreciate you!

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      Pamela99— I am well pleased that you loved the pictures. Thank you for visiting my Hub and for your warm words.

    • raisingme profile image

      raisingme 

      9 years ago from Fraser Valley, British Columbia

      Just reading your hub was like taking a mini virtual vacation. I look forward to reading about the rest of your trip!

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      romper20— Thank you so much for your lavish laudations. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community! I am coming over to check out your work right now . . .

    • jill of alltrades profile image

      jill of alltrades 

      9 years ago from Philippines

      Wow! What a fascinating place! Your pictures and write up made me wish I could visit too!

      Thanks for sharing James!

    • carolina muscle profile image

      carolina muscle 

      9 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      wow; looks like a really fun trip, and you captured some great pics, James!!!!

    • FGual profile image

      FGual 

      9 years ago from USA

      America the beautiful. Great road trip like I long to take. Have never been to that side of the country. Thanks for sharing great information and striking photos of each stop.

    • hypnodude profile image

      Andrew 

      9 years ago from Italy

      Great hub as usual James, and wonderful pictures. USA are so full of beauty, who knows, maybe one day I'll be able to see some of it with my own eyes. But for now your hub has done the job. Thanks. :)

    • nancy_30 profile image

      nancy_30 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      This was a really great hub. I enjoyed reading about your trip. It sounds like you had a really great time. I really enjoyed all the wonderful pictures.

    • boba020682 profile image

      boba020682 

      9 years ago from Silicon Valley

      Hi James!

      Very nice travel log!

      Love the pictures!

      That is a very nice area of the country. I have been sent to Sioux Falls a handful of times. It is a neat old city and the falls are a great touristy thing to go see.

      I hope you get to tour New England soon. Growing up on Long Island with relatives in Vermont I have seen quite a bit of New England and I am sure you will enjoy that also. If you can choose you should aim for the second to third week of October.

      I would love to know the chemistry behind that creek that freezes from the bottom up.

      Can't wait for the next installment!

      Seriously....

    • jvhirniak profile image

      jvhirniak 

      9 years ago

      James - I enjoyed reading this as I have been to many of the places, although many years ago. I did not know about Bridal Veil Falls in SD and added mention of it to my hub "Waterfalls, USA", which I invite you to visit sometime.

    • Juliette Morgan profile image

      Juliette Morgan 

      9 years ago

      Lovely informative travel hub, thanks and the pics too are good. Juliette.

    • sheila b. profile image

      sheila b. 

      9 years ago

      Oh, the pictures were so great, and your writing so informative. Enjoyed every bit of it. I'm a New Englander, and hope you make it here for a visit. In many ways it's the opposite of the West, no sense of wide open spaces. But there's lots to enjoy. When you're planning your trip here, let me know and I'll tell you about some wonderful sights. How about whale watching? Moose Alley in NH? The rocky coast of Maine?

    • v_kahleranderson profile image

      v_kahleranderson 

      9 years ago from San Jose, California

      Magnificent, Mr. Watkins...just beautiful! I only hop that someday I could take a trip like this one with my husband.

      Great hub, and thank you for sharing.

      God bless and keep you,

      VKA

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      Lily Rose— Thank you, my dear, for the laudatory remarks. It's always nice to see you. :-)

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      lovemychris— Thank you! Thank you very much.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      prasetio30— Well, sir, I truly appreciate the accolades. Thank you for reading my Hub and for the Thumbs Up! :)

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      Green Lotus— You are quite gracious, charming, and witty, my dear. I loved reading your comments. Thank you for this pleasure.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      cristina327— You are quite welcome, dear. Thank you for taking the time to view my Hub. I appreciate the compliments, too.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      always exploring— Thank you for the compliments. I sure appreciate them.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      secularist10— Yea, I was thinking about the weather out there myself. It ranged from high 30s to mid 60s during my trip. As I contemplated moving out west—maybe to South Dakota or Idaho—I decided I'd best visit again in January before making any sudden moves. But the people I talked to out there seem to love it.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      Saintatlarge— You're welcome, St.L. South Dakota is beautiful. I haven't been to the Grand Canyon either. I drove near it once but didn't have time to stop during a drive to California. Thank you for your comments and you're welcome.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      LDL— Thank you for saying so!

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      satomko— Thank you! Thank you very much.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      H P Roychoudhury— Your comment is most rewarding to me. Thank you, my friend. You are quite eloquent.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      Wanderlust— Thank you for visiting and leaving your remarks. It was a great trip. I agree with you that I must do New England. Maybe I can do that this summer.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      Moonchild60— Hello my dear! You are welcome. I've never been to New England. I have spent much time in New York, both in the city and upstate. The Black Hills are gorgeous and Spearfish Creek is way up high in the mountains on a two-lane road. I tried to get off the interstate as much as possible and that makes the viewing far better. Thank you for coming!

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      dreamreachout— You are welcome! I appreciate your applause. It was quite a journey.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      TinaMarieTad— Hello my fellow Michigander! Thank you kindly for the accolades. America is surely a beautiful country.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      ethel smith— This part of America has a very interesting history, alright. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

    • profile image

      partisan patriot 

      9 years ago

      James

      Another great hub; these were some amazing photos of country I had never seen before but read about. Some of the little towns nestled in or at the foothills of the mountains reminded me of Swiss Chalets. Thanks for sharing!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      9 years ago from Sunny Florida

      James, What a lovely hub with all the great information and I really loved the pictures. Great hub!

    • romper20 profile image

      romper20 

      9 years ago from California

      Absolutely marvelous, great website structure, pictures were very appealing. Overall nice job man, I got some related content check me out :) RomperHubber

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      Peggy W— You are most welcome, my dear. South Dakota far exceeded expectations. I didn't have space to write about every place I visited. I also was in Billings, Missoula, Lacrosse, Madison, Rockford, Sioux Falls, and several Indian reservations.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      jjmyles— You're welcome! Thank you for your warm words.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      Hxprof— Thank you! I'm glad you like the photos. I took most of the photos. I found folks along the way to take shots with me in them where I could. I saw plenty of birds but I'm not a birder per se.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      dark eyed gazelle— I'm glad you came. Yes, I'm an old 35MM man. My camera has been far afield with me. I couldn't bear to part with her. Thanks for the kind compliments. And you are quite welcome.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      drbj— You're welcome. Nice to see you. Thanks for the nice compliments. They are well received. Rushmore is truly spectacular.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      Wanda— Tis beautiful indeed. You're welcome. That OLD man would be me. :D Thanks for coming my friend.

    • Lily Rose profile image

      Lily Rose 

      9 years ago from A Coast

      Another great travel hub, James! I love learning about places I've never been to in my own country!

    • lovemychris profile image

      Leslie McCowen 

      9 years ago from Cape Cod, USA

      Wow....just beautiful.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      Austinstar— You are quite welcome. The Crazy Horse Memorial is not right at Mount Rushmore but it is about 15 miles away. I didn't have time to go see it.

      The gold mine is closed but can be viewed from a neighboring mountaintop. I was driving my Cadillac CTS Sport. I am blessed to have an excellent camera, too. :D I suppose that car and that camera are what I have left. That's all I need—that car and this camera—this ashtray . . . and this chair.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      itakins— I've been blessed with quite a bit of travel, and a fair amount of it international. Of course, I traveled in my rock n' roll band in the old days. This is a big ole country alright. My next overseas trip will be to your country I hope. I've never been. But I know it is beautiful.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      GojiJuiceGoodness— You are welcome! Thank you for the laudations! uhh . . . the speed limit was 60 methinks. :D

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      Tammy Lochmann— I am glad you enjoyed the Hub and liked my photography, Tammy. It's a pleasure to see you here. Thank you for coming. :)

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 

      9 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Wow....I can't say anything, James. This was totally beautiful. I really enjoy all your information you gave to me. Good description with fascinating pictures. I'll go to there someday. Thumbs up and I rate this hub. Prasetio :)

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      Tom Whitworth— You're welcome, Tom. I saw an Amtrak go by in Montana and I thought to myself I would like to make that trip by train someday. I am sure the train goes by different landscapes that many never see.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      Sarrah— Look who it is folks! My eldest child! I wish you had been with me, honey. Daddy loves you. :-)

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      DiamondRN— It's nice to hear from you again! Yes, the trip was awesome. I enjoyed it thoroughly. Thank you for dropping by.

    • Green Lotus profile image

      Hillary 

      9 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Lovely tour of some cool places James! I couldn't help thinking about Hitchcock's North By Northwest while humming Rocky Racoon! Great photos too. Glad you had a fab time.

    • cristina327 profile image

      Cristine Santander 

      9 years ago from Manila

      Great hub. I hope I could visit those great places one day. Thank you for sharing it here at Hubpages. Remain blessed always.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      blue parrot— Gutzon Borglum created Mount Rushmore. I should have mentioned that. His son finished the job after Mr. Borglum died while the project was ongoing. Nothing earth-shattering happened at the Country Buffet. I simply ate too much and I can tell in the photo by that protruding gut! :D

      Lead is pronounced "leed" and apparently refers to outcroppings of iron ore in the town. Great comments!

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      IslandVoice— I am enjoying! :)

      I am quite the poser all right. It's great to see you. Thanks for swinging in.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      Polly C— I sure appreciate your accolades. I am gratified to read the kind words you wrote to me. Thank you for coming. :-)

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      Hello, hello,— You are welcome! I want to thank you for your ongoing affirmation and encouragement. I surely appreciate your graciousness.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      sord87— Yes, the carved granite presidents exist, alright. They sit atop a mountain one mile above sea level. It took 400 men 15 years to sculpt them! Thanks for your nice words and you're welcome.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      stars439— The trip was truly fantastic, my brother. Thank you for complimenting my photography. Yes, the lands where I was are lands where the Cowboys and Indians where; where the gunslingers and saloons proliferated. I appreciate you stopping by and you are most welcome, too.

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