Thursday, April 16, 2009

Gary and I are always in a FOG!

Just as I talked about how beautiful our country is - we drove across South Dakota! Poor South Dakota. The only time the entire trip I had to pull over and ask Gary to drive during my shift as I was falling asleep! Thank goodness two men had the idea to create Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse and enlisted two men with great vision and persistence - or poor South Dakota would be left devoid - of anything.

Badlands was interesting - and with all due respect to Frank Lloyd Wright - we like Northern Arizona with the Painted Desert and Monument Valley much better.

Badlands S.D.

BUT - one of the many highlights of the trip for me was the anticipation of seeing Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse - a new experience for me. We rose early because we had a lot to do today (April 15 tax relief for us). As we got closer to Mt. Rushmore - the excitement mounted. When we pulled into the parking lot I asked Gary "where is it"?? IN THE FOG! Not a sight of anything. Disappointment set in - but there was always Crazy Horse and perhaps the skies would clear and we could return later in the day. 

Our first view of Mount Rushmore

So - off to Crazy Horse - IN THE FOG!!  We could barely see beyond the entrance gate here. 

Even less to see at Crazy Horse

Well - perhaps a day in the car driving was in store for us today. Custer State Park and the Wildlife Loop was just what the Dr. ordered. We saw Bison/buffalo, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, elk, wild mules (who wouldn't let us by on the road. Talk about stubborn - they didn't care that we were bigger than they were!), prairie dogs and regular old deer. By the end of the drive, skies were still cloudy but much better than in the morning. So - we began retracing our steps.

Long-Horn Sheep

Very stubborn

He is giving us the rasberries

Prong-horned Antelope

Back to Crazy Horse. All the rescheduling and disappointment of earlier were rewarded with being able to see a 'blasting'! This was an awesome experience as we watched them blast 12,000 tons of granite away from the monument. This monument is soooooo LARGE that when the blasting of all that rock was done it barely looked like a dent in the rock! This is truly an amazing endeavor. To give a bit of perspective of how large it is - all of Mt. Rushmore would fit into the head of Crazy Horse!

The sculptor's model of Crazy Horse with Sculpture on mountain in background

Smoke from the blast, with paint outlining horse's ears above the smoke

Now I was happy! But, there was still Mt. Rushmore - so on we go. As we turned the corner for the profile of Washington - there he was! Beautiful! Around the next corner were all four - Mt. Rushmore - just as promised and imagined! I was a happy camper - and so was Gary as he did not have to listen to my whining!!

Washington's Profile in the background

The boys are back from the fog

All in all a VERY good day! Although we are in the fog much of the time - on occasion it DOES clear and all is beautiful.

On to Wyoming today - AND 6,000 miles! More later - E&G

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