buffalo

4 weekends marathoning – this Saturday: kick around, do laundry?  Heck no – road trippin’ SD: “Great Places, Great Faces”.

Ended Friday work week with my final father-daughter dance lesson.  Too far/too late to reach South Dakota – but how ‘bout Lusk? [Wyoming of course 🙂 ]  Small but clean digs, free buffet breakfast.  Short hour-half drive to Custer State Park, car-dodging buffalo by 9am.  FAAANNNTASTIC!  Native to the U.S.A, our American bison – BIG, STRONG, MASSIVE.  Personal fave of the animal kingdom.

20 minutes west thru Custer, 20 minutes north to Crazy Horse Memorial.  Had heard mixed reviews ‘bout the Monument.  Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear commissioned the project in 1939 – Crazy Horse’s massive 87ft face wasn’t completed ’til 1998.  Current work is focused on Crazy Horse’s hand, finger & his horse’s mane.  Timeline?  Long after my life span.

Paid an extra $10 to school bus-ride near the base of the Mountain.  Felt a bit nickel-n-dimed but WOW – gotta say, being so close to something so massive, was well worth the $$.  Wrong time to be short-sighted with cash.  Once completed Crazy Horse will rival nearby Mt. Rushmore.  Sculpted to ‘honor the culture & heritage of all North American Indians’.   Just WOW.

Didn’t leave the Memorial Museum for almost 2 hours.  LOVE LOVE LOVED!  Native American artifacts, photographs, sculptures, paintings.  Completely unexpected.  WELL WORTH GOING!

Wait, wait – the day’s not over.  Next up: Mount Rushmore.  Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt & Lincoln – literally carved IN the Black Hills of South Dakota.  Short-hiked up-n-down the Presidential Walk.  Fave spot?  Rushmore’s ‘Walk of Flags’ entrance.  Every state, every U.S. territory represented.  Left beaming USA pride.  Bought an ice cream recipe’d by Pres. Thomas Jefferson himself ❤

Sleeps in historic Deadwood.  Dinner above the saloon where Wild Bill Hickok was killed, tomorrow visiting his marker.

 

 

 

accountability partner end goals: Carolyn BQs (Boston qualify), I PR.  Both happen if we run sub 3:55 this year.

Been a long journey since May – whole lotta texts back n forth (Indiana to Colorado) – so couldn’t have been more surprised when Carolyn chose a race in West Virginia for her BQ.  Out of all 50 states, my run in Morgantown WV was the hilliest.

Never argue with a woman – I signed up 🙂   Not super easy to reach the coal mining lands of southern WV.  Boarded a mighty small connection in DC.  One by 2 seats across, prop plane.  Sunday’s marathon commemorates the university football team, who went down in a plane crash November 14 1970.  No survivors.  Team, coaches, prominent citizens.  Makes one think.

Arrived in Charleston, day ahead of my running pal (5 hours away in Indiana).  Woke Saturday to sunshine.  Added West Virginia to my capitol-dome tally, my tenth (LA TX IN IA AR AL CT DC & IL).  Was never a goal to see all 50…but have certainly enjoyed the journey. Quiet, still morning…just me & a parade of ground squirrels.  HUGE fan of both history & architecture.  FAAANNNTASTIC morn!

On the highway before noon, hour drive west to Huntington.  Bib pick-up, 50 State Marathon Club reunion & PASTA 🙂  (however no red sauce for me/stomach cancer irritant, but do love to carb load – YUM!)  Dumb luck re: the reunion — completely unplanned.  Have been to three in my life (Indianapolis, Falmouth Mass & Santa Rosa).  Always fun to connect with folks on a similar journey.  Humbling too.  More than handful of runners have collected 300+ medals.  That’s a whole lotta miles.

Buddy time.  Did a thorough campus walk.  ‘We are Marshall’ – snapped that shot plus one of Memorial Fountain.  Thankful I saw the movie this past week.  Made my experience much more impactful.  Tomorrow we’ll lay white roses at the fountain…last two-tenths of our run; marathon finishes in the football stadium.  Quick drive to Spring Hill Cemetery, then parted ways with my friend.

Tomorrow a.m. my 75th marathon – We are MARSHALL.

 

 

 

 

Marshall’s Memorial Fountain is a celebration of life

 

“They shall live on in the hearts of their families and friends forever, and this memorial records their loss to the university and the community.”

 

 

The Memorial Student Center Fountain is a tulip-shaped sculpture which will always serve as a reminder of Marshall University’s past and its future. Located in the plaza area on the campus-side of the Student Center building, this unique landmark stands as a monument to those who perished in the November 14, 1970 plane crash that killed most of the school’s football team.

 

This tragedy cut so deep because it involved more than the football team, coaching staff and school administrators. Also lost were some of the school’s strongest supporters. Doctors, attorneys, business people and civic leaders were also on board the ill-fated flight in which there were no survivors.

 

The fountain serves as a monument to honor those who died, but that isn’t the sole purpose for its existence. When the fountain was dedicated a few days before the second anniversary of the crash in November 1972, sculptor Harry Bertoia made it known that his creation was more about celebrating life as opposed to mourning the tragic deaths of the crash victims.

 

There’s strong symbolism associated with Memorial Fountain. The flowing waters from the fountain represent the continuation of life. Every year on November 14, the school conducts a memorial service which includes the traditional laying of the wreath at the front of the fountain. Once that part of the service is completed, the fountain’s waters are turned off until the next spring.

 

 

I am in love with Montana.  For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, and even some affection.  But with Montana, it is love. — John Steinbeck

Original plan was to run not one – but TWO marathons back-to-back in Montana.  Roped Ash & Tom into helping with the long drive north & scheduled a family vacation ’round Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks.  Unfortunately an unexpected health issue caused me to drop from both events – but didn’t deter us from enjoying a couple days in the Rockies.  LOVE LOVE this place!

After yesterday’s late check-in, slept ‘til 8 before heading west to Virginia City — Montana’s first territorial capital.  Grabbed breakfast & toured a few historical Old West landmarks – but oddly, no Bonanza memorabilia…wrong state.  Who knew?

Bonanza was a NBC television western series that ran from 1959 to 1973.  The show is set around the 1860s and it centers on the wealthy Cartwright family, who live in the area of Virginia City, Nevada.

Boot Hill — fave day stop.  Hilltop cemetery where 4 guys hung in Jan 1864.  Not a vacation without a local cemetery stroll.  LOL>

last Montana tourist destination before Day 2 park hopping?  the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone.  Safest way to see a bear, a wolf, a couple of bald eagles too 🙂  LOVED watching these massive lumbering giants scavenge under rocks & trees for food hidden by rangers.  Whenever in Yellowstone, gotta add this [stop] to your itinerary.  Highly recommended.

Quick lunch, second day of geyser trekking – then headed to the falls, Yellowstone Falls.

Lower Yellowstone Falls is the largest volume waterfall in the Rocky Mountains of the United States…308 feet (94 m) high, or nearly twice as high as Niagara Falls.

Hiked both upper & lower falls – a true butt buster, so pace yourself.  Jogged back from Lower Yellowstone to retrieve our car (parked at Upper, a mile away), then drive-returned to our digs in Ennis.  Watched a family of deer ford a local river.  FAAANNNTASTIC!

Gorgeous pink sunset, followed by late nite nachos & live music at the Gravel Bar.  Livin’ B-I-G in Big Sky Country 🙂

Day 3 plans?  Grand Teton Nat’l Park – seeing these peaks on horseback.  #noregretlife

 

 

 

Yellowstone: Part 2 – Yellowstone Falls

 

 

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