We left Boulder, Colorado on June 9th for a swing through the east side of Nebraska and up into the Black Hills of South Dakota. I hadn’t been in these areas previously, but for the last forty some years D has been intent on me seeing Mt. Rushmore National Monument. He seemed to think it was something everyone should see - having seen it on a family road trip when he was a teenager. But living in the Pacific Northwest makes Mt. Rushmore a long trip in my mind for something I could care less about! Nevertheless, not having seen Mt. Rushmore became a long-standing joke – I wasn't going unless I could climb around behind the presidential heads like Cary Grant in the movie North by Northwest!
We arrived in Keystone, South Dakota and stayed 2 nights at the lovely K Bar S Lodge just a stone’s throw from the busy tourist town of Keystone. As you probably have figured out by now from previous posts, Dennis and I don’t care for touristy places, but there are times when we must cast our lot with the frenzy.
The next morning, we drove up Mt. Rushmore. I must admit, I was a little excited but I’m finding there are many days I just wake up filled with excitement about the day ahead. But I digress...now, having seen Mt. Rushmore, it wasn’t exactly a monumental moment for me, but it was interesting and fascinating to learn about how it was crafted. Personally, I would have rather enjoyed scrambling up and around the rocks behind the heads. That would still be my idea of a monumental experience here. But it’s not allowed and (spoiler alert) wasn’t for the movie either!
After seeing Mt. Rushmore, we drove 30 minutes away to check out what was happening over at the Crazy Horse Memorial. The monumental rock carving began 50 years ago, but they have a long way to go before it will be done as the finished piece will be absolutely massive. As far as an experience goes, we figure paying the entrance fee was a good donation to the cause.
We also drove the scenic, curvy Highway 16-A in Custer State Park. I thought the Amalfi Coast in Italy had curves but these were extremely crazy with a few pigtail curves thrown in. Thanks for the tip Pete!
We went back to Rushmore for the lighting ceremony during the evening. It was quite a patriotic event, and with everything going on in our country and the rest of the world, it reminded me of the history of this once proud nation and what those four great Americans carved into the mountain represent – founding, expansion, preservation, and unification – and it still is a symbol of freedom and hope. So, maybe it did turn out to be a monumental experience for me by the end of the day!
Thanks for joining us on our journey.