Rushless, Restmore

It was a long but pleasant drive from Longmont to the Black Hills of South Dakota. I had not been looking forward to the drive through Wyoming because I had it pictured as a barren wasteland. But I was pleasantly surprised by the interesting landscape of rolling hills, peculiar rock outcroppings and the green green grass. Everything was so green!!  We stopped at a dusty Wyoming truck stop for fuel, restroom breaks and lunch before heading on through a little squall towards South Dakota.
Truck stop

Our drive took us through Custer State Park where we saw tons of bison. At first just a few on the side of the road and then later there was a huge heard hanging out in the road. They seem completely oblivious to the traffic and the only reason they move out of the road is to get to the grass on the other side. Sheba wanted to go see the animals so bad…she is very curious. We eventually pulled in to Spokane Creek Campground and got settled in to our spot. While Steph made dinner the kids went and got putters and golf balls for the mini golf course. $1 deposit per person, play as much as you like….that’s a bargain!

We had dinner then loaded up in the truck to go see the evening program at Mount Rushmore. I think the marketing department should have maybe considered the names Mount Rushless or Mount Restmore as they sound a bit more relaxing.  Oh well.  We arrived while it was still light enough to enjoy the view of the memorial in the natural light. Brielle and Dacen also started working on their Jr Ranger badges while we waited for the evening program to begin. It was a bit windy and chilly but I think we all enjoyed the ranger talk, the movie and the lighting of the memorial. When the Star Spangled Banner played and the whole crowd sang it I got a bit verklempt. That song always gets to me anyway and being in an epic and historical location with my favorite people in the whole world just made me well up. At the end they called down all service people to partake in taking down the flag. I figured there would be 10 people or so go up there….oh my word, there was a flood of people who stepped on that stage who have served or are currently serving our country. It was really great to be able to recognize the service of these men and women….I yelled out a big THANK YOU as we gave them a round of applause.

Truck stop

In the squall

Passengers

Bison Crossing

Arriving at Rushmore

Me

The family at Rushmore

Rangers at work

Waiting for the show

All lit up

Honoring service men and women

Heading in

Mount Rushmore

I'm one of those

Us with the presidents

Dacen

George

Photographer

Nap at the park

 

The next day we slept in a bit before playing a round of miniature golf.  Then we headed back to Mount Rushmore to spend a bit more time exploring and getting Jr Ranger Badges for Brielle and Dacen.  We took the short little walk along the base of the memorial so we could enjoy the view from several vantage points.  It is hard to fathom creating that piece of art.  I told the kids about how, as a child, I so badly wanted to be a wood carver.  I’d get myself all psyched up, find a nice piece of raw wood that called to me to free a beautiful form from its fibers.  I’d whittle and carve and scrape until at last, I had made a….slightly smaller hunk of wood.  Then in Cub Scouts we did a carving project but this time it would not be with wood.  Instead we would be carving soap.  I thought this was a brilliant idea.  It is the perfect shape from which to start, it’s soft and has no grain to deal with….surely, I thought, I can turn this soap into a masterpiece.  I whittled and carved and scraped that bar of soap until at last, I had made…you guessed it, a slightly smaller bar of soap.  Needless to say, I was utterly impressed not only by Gutzon Borglum’s artistic abilities but also the way in which he transferred that art to the rock through engineering, project management and loads of other people’s hands!

We had a late lunch back at the rig, played some mini golf and took a dip in the glacially cold swimming pool.  Well, Brielle took a dip…I could not convince myself to go any further than my ankles.  The kids and I took Sheba on a walk up a little trail at the campground called the American Flag Trail.  I’d say it was about a mile up to the top of a little hill where we did indeed find an American flag.  After dinner the kids played some tether ball before we had a little fire to roast some marshmallows.  Even though it was very dark, Caden convinced us to play one last round of mini golf.  I think we made it to hole 7 before the darkness won out and we had to call it a day.  And a wonderful day it was!

Iron Mountain Road sign

Morning lounge

Site 45

FORE!!!

Ball in action

Putt putt

Pro golfer

Lunch time

Trailhead

on a hike

Explorer

"Heidi"

At the top of the hill

Panorama

Cool tree

The girls

Tetherball

Roasting team

Fire

Sticky fingers

Ohhhhh yeah

Perfectly roasted

There's a hole in here

Night sky

 

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