Friday, May 25, 2018

RonnieAdventure #0309 - Cats, Ashley Basketball, and Tempe-Chandler (AZ)

Before giving the kittens away we attempted to get a family picture, but trying to get five little kittens and a somewhat tame mother cat together was impossible; so we settled for individual pictures and one small group picture.


Ashley was playing basketball in the Cal-AZ Swish Mother's Day Classic tournament in Chandler (Arizona) on her 15th Birthday, so we attended the tournament and helped celebrate her birthday.   

Ashley's team did not win the tournament, but they played some excellent basketball. Fred, Mary, and Darcy also attended the game on Sunday, so it was like a mini-family reunion.

One evening we went out for Mexican food at Sir Vezas - not my style of Mexican food, but the restaurant decor was interesting. If you do not like the way you look in one bathroom mirror, you have the choice of several other mirrors. 

The City of Tempe Municipal Building is in the shape of an upside-down pyramid, but over the years the trees surrounding the building have grown so tall that it is difficult to see the building from the street.

The Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium at Arizona State University (ASU) was one of the last public commissions of Frank Lloyd Wright. The Auditorium is one of the largest exhibitors of performing arts among university venues in the world. When we lived in Arizona Linda was part of the ASU Coral Union, so we often attended events in the auditorium. 

Friday, May 18, 2018

RonnieAdventure #0308 - Pierre, South Dakota

Back at the farm after a recent Spring snow storm.

Although the South Dakota State Capitol Building resembles the US Capitol Building, it is actually a scaled down version of the Montana State Capitol Building that was built between 1896 and 1902. The South Dakota State Capitol Building was constructed between 1905 and 1910 at a cost of  almost $1,000,000. 

The "Trail of Governors" is a series of life-size bronze statues located at various locations around Pierre. The project started in 2012 and three new statues are being completed each year, until all 31 statues of the South Dakota governors have been completed. It is the only display of its type (life-size statue honoring each of the state's governors) in the United States. 

Although South Dakota was not directly part of the Civil War, there is a Civil War monument on the Capitol grounds that states "Erected 1918 by the State of South Dakota in honor of the defenders of our nation." However, a plaque beside the monument states that the monument was not completed until 1919 and it was dedicated on June 1, 1920. The Civil War monument was the first monument to be placed on the South Dakota State Capitol grounds.

The plaque goes on to state that the 30-foot high monument "depicts a Union soldier at parade rest wearing a forage cap and greatcoat while holding the barrel of his Springfield rifle. Also worn are a bayonet and scabbard (left leg), percussion cap box (front) and cartridge box (back). The monument features various symbols of the Army and Navy, including crossed cannons, rifles, swords and an anchor."

The WW II memorial (adjacent to Capitol Lake) features six different soldiers saluting the American Flag. The memorial is dedicated to the 65,000 South Dakota men and women who served in the military during WW II. There are also several other war memorials at this location on the Capitol grounds.

The historic Soldiers & Sailors World War Memorial Building is now primarily used as office space for veterans affairs, with some displays in the front lobby. However, when I was in school the building was used as a museum that contained all types of war memorabilia from many different time periods. I always remember the human skull on display that had an arrowhead stuck in the eye socket. That must have been painful!

Located north of Pierre is the site where Charles Lindbergh landed "The Spirit of Saint Louis" at precisely 4 PM on September 1, 1927, just a little over three months after he made his historic flight across the Atlantic Ocean from New York to Paris on May 21st. Lindbergh was flying around the United States to visit each state Capital to promote commercial aviation and demonstrate the safety and punctuality of flight. The Governor and City Mayor greeted Lindbergh when he arrived and he was chauffeured in an open-air vehicle from the landing site to the Saint Charles Hotel in Pierre, followed by a parade of over 700 automobiles. 

The next morning Lindbergh's scheduled 9 AM departure was late due to mechanical problems with his plane, so his flight became the first "Delayed Departure" in Pierre's aviation history. The landing site was later purchased by the City and became Pierre's first municipal airport.

During WW II, the military build a new airfield east of Pierre to be used for a maintenance and supply depot and to serve as an auxiliary airfield for the Second Air Force B-17 Flying Fortress bomber training facility in Sioux Falls. After the war, the Lindbergh site was abandoned and Pierre acquired the military airfield to serve as a regional airport for central South Dakota. 

Located about one mile north of the Lindbergh landing site is a Sioux Indian Mosaic. An informational sign at the  site states that "An Aricara [Indian] lookout surprised by a Sioux War party and badly wounded took flight to warn his kinsmen. He ran about one-half mile and keeled over dead. The Sioux, admiring his bravery, placed a rock for each drop of his blood and a cairn where he died. They signed it with a tribal band insignia of a turtle." The site overlooks the Missouri River and the trail of blood drops and the turtle effigy are still visible, especially when there is no snow on the ground.

Continuing north, I was told that good food could be found at the Grey Goose Store & Social Club, which is part of a gas station located in a remote area some distance from Pierre. Before we arrived, I jokingly stated that they probably did not get a lot of tourist business at this location; but to my surprise, the place was packed with fishermen visiting the area. Apparently, the crowd that evening was nothing compared to the crowds they get during hunting season. We even found a young lady from Florida that came to ring the bell for good food!

East of Pierre, along Highway 34, is the site of an ancient Indian fortress located on the north side of the highway. Archaeologists are not certain who build the fortress, but it is believed to date back to a time before Columbus arrived in America.

The fortress perimeter wall is over 2,000 yards long and encloses about 50 acres, with bastions at various intervals. It is estimated that 5,000 people could have been sheltered within the compound walls during an enemy attack. 

It had always been assumed that bastions were a white man's invention and brought westward with the military; but archaeologist have now concluded that apparently the Indians also came up with the same idea to help defend fortifications. The fortress is considered to be one of the marvels of pre-historic America because of the wall bastions. Unfortunately, due to the recent snow storm, the ground was one big mud bog and we could not reach the site.

On the way back to the farm, we followed some back roads to the historic community of Canning. When I was growing up in the area, Canning had a general store that also served as the post office and gas station. The post office was discontinued in 1972 and the general store and gas station were demolished a short time later. Across the road in Canning we did see some wild turkeys and later that day we saw a Ring-necked Pheasant.

There are numerous commercially operated hunting preserves around Pierre, so we spent one afternoon touring the Warne Ranches facilities. There was even a "man-cave" and "man-vehicles." We had fun driving the ex-military "humvees" (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles) around the property and viewed the large populations of White-Tailed Deer.

Our trip would not have been complete without stopping at the World Famous Zesto establishment to sample a few of their home-made creations.