We arrived here late yesterday after an uneventful drive from Denver. Sadly, we had to say ‘good-bye’ to Jen and Bill after a fun visit that was the longest we’ve ever stayed but went by the quickest. Bailey couldn’t even be nice to Jackson as we left and snarled at him one last time. I’m sure Jackson is breathing a sigh of relief seeing the last of our nasty little dog!

Although we passed Mount Rushmore on the way here we decided to spend an extra day to take our time seeing the sights. In hindsight, we should have done better planning. There were plenty of dog friendly places to stay in Keystone (which is closer) and the hotel where we’re staying is connected to an indoor water park (which = noisy children.) I think there were baby elephants staying on the floor above us.

At any rate, we crashed early so we were well rested for touring around today.  Mt. Rushmore is about 30 miles away.  We should have skipped the hotel breakfast (the usual dreck with brown water coffee) and gone directly to the park.  They had a nice restaurant where you can sit out on the plaza and gaze at the presidents.  We had a 2nd breakfast there!

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George

Abe

Mount Rushmore is much more majestic that I imagined from seeing photos.  The president’s faces sit way above the entry plaza on the mountain top.  There’s a nice walk up to the base of the mountain that gets you away from the noisy busloads of tourists.  We happened to visit the sculptor’s studio in time for a ranger’s talk – much more enjoyable than just seeing a film.

Majestic Mt Rushmore

There was a man in the souvenir shop who was selling photos.  He was the last remaining stone mason who worked on building the monument.  Just trying to be friendly, I asked him about the old camera he was wearing and said something about being able to still get film these days.  Well, he went off on a tirade about how digital photography has ruined everything and went on and on  about modern technology.  I walked away.  I’m sure he’s still ranting.

George and Abe
A view through the rocks

George profile
Profile view

Next we headed for Crazy Horse monument, about 15 miles away.  We found the experience much more enjoyable than it sounded on Trip Advisor.  There is plenty to see there, including a Native American museum, a nice restaurant for lunch, an informative film and a bus tour that takes you closer to the monument.  It was a great way to spend the afternoon and support a valiant effort to honor a Native American hero. It would be neat to see the progress in another 20 years!

Crazy Horse monument
Crazy Horse monument is larger than Mt. Rushmore. All 4 heads would fit in the space next to Crazy Horse’s head. The tunnel that was drilled through is 10 stories high. It took 10 years to complete the face.

Crazy Horse scale model
This is the scale model. He is pointing towards his land where his people are buried.

 

Scale model
You can just barely see the outline of the horse’s head on the rocks. It will take years to blast away the granite for the head.

Crazy Horse monument
Storytelling in stone.  Closer view (via bus tour). When completed, the sculpture will encompass the entire mountain, 369 degrees around.

Storytelling in Stone
The crown-like structure is used to hang measuring devices that tell them where to blast the rock

Enjoying the tour
We were here!

After checking in on Bailey and resting a bit we drove into Rapid City to check out the Main Street area.  While walking about we spotted a classic sign advertising our roots.

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As we walked past, a man came out of the door and I asked if he worked there.  He did and we told him we were retired from Central Office and chatted with him for a few minutes.  He was very nice and friendly and assured us that the Agency is still going strong without us!

We sampled some local brews at the Firehouse Brewery and shared a meal of buffalo brisket.  I’m glad we decided to share it because the portions were huge.

We were here!
Spotted at the brewery. We were there!

We’re heading east tomorrow through the Badlands (singing Bruce Springsteen along the way!)

Bailey likes a big chair
I could do a whole series of “Bailey in hotel chairs”

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