I pulled into the Mt Rushmore area around 7:30. Found this cool campsite about 15 miles from the memorial.
The host told me that Devils Tower is only an hour and a half away and that Mt Rushmore has a lighting ceremony every night at 9pm. I had about an hour to get squared away and head up into the hills.
Earlier in the day, I’d been on the road for what seemed like weeks. Drive right past what looked like some spectacular landscapes of the Badlands, but the highway was a few miles away from it all. I did get these shots of gnarled trees and some hills. Wyoming should provide plenty of opportunity for Badlandy goodness.
Back to Mt Rushmore. I’m driving up to the memorial and it’s getting late, 8:40, the show starts in 20 and I have no idea how far up in the hills it is.
You wind up this roadand through Keystone, which is this tacky little town like a ski resort, with hotels and souvenir shops selling genuine Mt Rushmore trinkets made in China. Finally I get to the site. It’s only $10 for parking, for the whole year! Nice. My first view of the dead presidents.
The ceremony entails a park ranger talking about Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt and their stand on liberty and freedom. Next is a video narrated by Commander Sisco, from Deep Space 9. There’s some singing of the national anthem at the end and BAM! Spot lights on the memorial.
Here’s the guy that sculpted the thing
Rest of my evening was spent by the fire with some Indian food. Good times.
One of the reasons I woke up so early was that I was dreaming a coyote was chewing on my arm. Freaked me out. Woke up and there was some kind of burrowing, blood sucking little insect on my arm. I yelped! Burned it off with a lighter after a minor freakout when I realized it was dug in! This is like 6am! I would’ve taken a picture but I was a little pathological at the time.
Went through Sturgis…big wow. I gotta wonder what the appeal is. It’s a tiny town with nothing but motels and gas stations. How did it become the motorcycle Mecca? Didn’t even bother with a photo.
Then there’s Deadwood…
Lame! Imagine Disney creating a western themed casino and you’d have the right idea. It’s all fascade and no substance. Like all casinos.