Friday, June 6, 2014

Dragons & Dinosaurs

May 30 

With all the necessary papers in hand, we leave Sputnik and the pugs at Americas Mailbox and make our way to the Department of Motor Vehicles.  

Our objective: to become residents of South Dakota.

An hour later we both walk out of the DMV with South Dakota driver's licenses in hand!  

Maybe this is what it feels like for people to become citizens of their desired country.  I am so happy to no longer be a Hoosier and to finally belong someplace as wild and beautiful as South Dakota!

Back at our "camp site" we have a decision to make.  We are waiting for a package that is due to arrive at the post office in Rapid City the next day.  We contemplate just staying put for another night and paying the $10 for this crummy spot on the side of the street, but Cabela's is about a mile down the road and we can pay no dollars for a crummy spot there.  

We move to our new camp site, unhitch, and go look for an adventure.  

Let's visit Norway!

There is an exact replica of the wooden Borgund Stave Church (Borgund, Norway; AD 1150 ) right here in Rapid City known as Chapel in the Hills.  

Built using architectural drawing supplied by the Norwegian government and imported panels by a master carver, this church is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen.  

Each of the 16,000 shingles were hand-cut with a saw.  I guess that would make them saw-cut, eh?

Looking toward the ceiling, the structure is reminiscent of an upturned Viking ship.

Serving as a door knocker, this ring is also called a Sanctuary Ring.  It was common practice at the time the original church was built that an outlaw could be killed by anyone, unless they grabbed hold of the Sanctuary Ring.  They could not be harmed as long as they held on to it, and according to legend, many outlaws starved to death with this ring in their clutches.

As we walk around the outer hallway, we hear quiet squeaking.   

Mice?  Baby birds?

A cluster of bats huddles together under the eaves.  Hubs goes stiff and walks quickly out of the church with his jacket collar pulled close around his neck.  

Have I just learned something new about my husband?

That's okay.  I really like bats, so if we ever find one in the Airstream I will be the one catching it.  Spiders and ticks will be his department.

Who takes care of dragons?

I almost don't want to show any pictures of Chapel in the Hills because I want you to go there and be completely surprised and awestruck like I was.  

Admission is free and there is a small box for donations at the gift shop down the hill.

We have been to Rapid City before and decide to walk the dogs around one of our haunts from last trip.

Dinosaur Park is at the highest point in Rapid City and has terrific views all the way into Montana.  

Today it is raining and clouds block the Black Hills in the distance.

Several life-size dinosaurs keep a windy vigil at the top of the hill.

In case you ever wondered how big pugs are compared to a brontosaurus

For dinner this evening we splurge and go to Quaker Steak & Lube, an irreverent chain restaurant within walking distance of our Cabela's parking spot.  Dinner is delicious and we spend another night listening to rain on the aluminum.  

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