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Genealogy Road Trip 2021 vol 1

The following is the first of many copies of a report that Janice and I wrote to communicate with a few friends on our 2 and 1/2 month ride around America. The trip had many objectives but as you’ll read in subsequent blogs it includes genealogical research on my own male lineage (surname “Dilley”).

Everyone, I know you have been unable to sleep last night because you didn’t get a report from Janice and Neal from the 1st day on the road across America. So here it is folks. Saturday, August 14th: Leaving Lakewood. As we saw the skyline of Denver in our rear view mirror and lots of caffeine in our veins we couldn’t believe that we are actually doing this! All was peace and quite in the Toyota until we hit the road construction zone in Wyoming north of Cheyenne. No. Not a slow down or backed up traffic. It was Saturday in Wyoming after all. No construction equipment at 9:00 am. No worries right? 5 minutes after passing a sign on I-25 warning of gravel on the road…. Yeah. A auto-hauling truck was in front of us and CRACK! A silver dollar size spider web shaped crack appeared on our brand new windshield. After a lot of wining about it and calling some future city auto glass repair companies who said they could not fix it because it was “special” for the new Toyota (who as supply chain problems) we decided to put some clear nail polish on it and live with it. It was on the passenger side so it doesn’t abstract driving. Once we crossed into Wyoming we became acutely aware that we were now the only two Democrats in the state and were the only ones wearing masks. On the way up we saw the biker hoards leaving Sturgis on their hogs. We felt inspired by them to get matching skull tattoos but could not find a parlour open in Custer at 8 pm. I guess we’ll have to get hepatitis some other way. Checked in at the KOA Crazy Horse/Rushmore/Custer campground by 3. Went right away to the Crazy Horse Memorial being built (over the last 70 years by a Polish sculptor’s family. (Janice was heard to whisper “good Pollack!”) Quite a site. Check it out. Sunday, August 15th: Hiked on the Custer State Park “Black Elk Peak” trail. This was our first experience hiking in the Black Hills. I am absolutely blown away by this place. I can easily see why Native Americans consider it sacred. The granite cliffs, outcropping and needle spires are magnificent and they are everywhere poking out of the beautiful forest. They’ve had rain here so it is much more lush than Colorado even in this wet summer on the front range. The trail is a 7 and 1/2 mile up and back to the peak with about 1600 ft gain. It’s really two peaks. 4 hours later we crawled back to our car. The views from the top are 360 of the entire mountain range (highest peak east of the Rockies). The trail is glistening with mica and quartz in quantities I have never seen anywhere. Most of the trail sparkles all the way up. Even the dirt sparkles with the glisten of mica. It is magic. We’ll share pix later. Having earned a treat, we stopped at The Purple Pie Place in Custer and had cherry and bumble berry ala mode. That’s about it for now. Neal and Janice
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