Friday, September 11, 2009

We started the day going to Mt Rushmore which is about 20 miles from Rapid City. Rapid City itself is very flat but you start up the mountain immediately south of the town. You go up and up until your ears start popping, you make a turn in the road, look up, and there is the most magnificent sight. The granite faces of Washington, Jefferson, T Roosevelt and Lincoln appear perfectly white, with the entry park being a series of archways and flags. Ellsworth Air Force Base was doing a flag retirement ceremony. One of the park rangers (she told us we could call her Rushmore Ranger Rhonda) told us they are creating a 9/11 museum honoring the firefighters who lost their lives. It was a sobering moment.

We then went on to the Crazy Horse Memorial, which is only about 5 miles away. We knew that it wasn't nearly completed but we certainly didn't realize they had only done his face. It was a "Well, I'll be!?" moment. A little disappointing. I guess the pictures we had seen were those of the "model" which is on display in the museum on the grounds. It will be a monumental (get it?) project to finish it and I'm sure it won't be in our lifetime but they are determined and are working fervently on it. It will be 563' high and 641' long whereas Mt Rushmore is about 60' tall although it is very high up. Both are worth seeing. The story behind Crazy Horse Memorial is the most important thing to take home from that one.

We toured the Black Hills and drove on some of the most twisty turny roads I have ever been on since they opened the WV turnpike. I drove all day so I wouldn't get sick. The roads had so many switchbacks and pigtail turns (those are the ones that spiral down under where you had just driven!). There were a lot of tunnels through the stone mountains where only one car could go through. One was only 8'4" wide! When we got to that one we pulled over because people were standing outside of it waiting with their cameras. Lo and behold, a big tour bus came inching its way through. We're not sure but we think he greased it first.

On the wildlife loop we saw herds of buffalo from a distance, one close up, many wild turkeys, lots of deer, some gorgeous prong horn antelopes and some very, very curious donkeys. Connie especially liked those and really got up close and personal with them!

We closed out the day by going back to Mt Rushmore to see it lit up at night. They light it every night but tonight the lights will be on all night in honor of 9/11. Ranger Rhonda told us the Presidents were watching over the country.


  1. Just wanted to clarify one point. Sheryl as the driver was afraid to roll her window down so she proceeded to roll my window down so the donkey stuck his head in at me....twice!

  2. Hey I think that first picture is US. Sounds like something we'd try! Sounds like y'all are having a ball! Love all the pictures and the narriation.

  3. Oh I forgot to sign mine and when I saw it I realized you wouldn't know who I was.