Today we left Wall, South Dakota about 9 AM, and about an hour later, Susie got her first glimpse of Mount Rushmore! She first said “WOW!!” and then told me she got a rush! Of course, it could also be that we’d just climbed above 5000 feet for the first time, but I like to think it was all about Mount Rushmore!
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to see Mount Rushmore. It probably had a lot to do with the 400+ times we’ve watched North by Northwest, and the vision of Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint dangling from Abe’s nose. I know they didn’t really shoot those scenes on the mountain, but there has always been something about the sight of Mount Rushmore in pictures that has thrilled me. Susie had read that some people found it underwhelming when they saw it in the flesh. I’m here to tell you that I am definitely not one of those and neither is she!! It was just so moving to see the carvings, to listen to the story of how it came to be via the audio tour, and to, at the age of 66, finally see something that I have wanted to see forever!!
As I mentioned, we got the audio tour for $5 each, and enjoyed the information it provided us immensely! We visited the various exhibit halls, watched the movie, and even made sure to stop in the cafeteria where one of the climactic scenes from North by Northwest was filmed! No, Mount Rushmore definitely did not disappoint!!
After spending over three hours there, we got back in the car and headed to the Crazy Horse Monument. Due to time constraints, we only did a drive by/photo op.
Then it was on to the second great part of our day, Custer State Park! We took the Wildlife Loop Road, didn’t see any Buffalo, but as you’ll see in the pictures, we did see other wildlife! Then it was on to Iron Mountain Road. This is the most incredible road we have ever been on….a close second was a road we took in Oahu climbing into the clouds to see the park that Chad and Mylie picnicked at in Elvis’ Blue Hawaii! Switchback after switchback, up and down at almost the same time, around and over bridges, followed by more switchbacks, only so you can have the most incredible views of Mount Rushmore! There are three tunnels on this road that perfectly frame Mount Rushmore as you drive through them. The tunnels were designed to frame the four faces on Mount Rushmore, and it was only AFTER the tunnels were built, that the road to connect them was designed! Now we know why the road looks like it does!!
We are staying tonight in Keystone, South Dakota, which is Mount Rushmore’s home. It looks like a crazy Western Mountain Tourist Town!! Dinner tonight was at Ruby House Restaurant with drinks supplied by the Red Garter Saloon next door! Susie had Country Fried Steak, while for the second night in a row, I had Buffalo! A Buffalo Rib Eye! Now we are back in the room, even though we should be on our way back to Mount Rushmore for the Nighttime Illumination program, but it is pouring out, 58 degrees, and heavy thunder storms are predicted for later! So, as I write this, we are here in an Econo Lodge, rather than celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the US Park Service…August 25, 1916 to August 25, 2016! Happy Birthday and good night!!