08 July 2008

Mt. Rushmore

Last time I said we were going to drive from Cody, WY to Buffalo, WY, about 180 miles. When we woke up on the 5th we decided to try and make it all the way to Mt. Rushmore so we would have 3 solid days in one spot. The drive was a bit harrowing through a few steep mountain passes with lots of curves but we made it and pulled in to our campsite at about 6:15pm. Our site was nice with a small lawn area and a picnic table. We were a bit hungry after the long drive so we headed for the restaurant at the campground and had dinner. Prices were reasonable and the food was excellent.

The next morning we attended worship services at the campground. They are conducted by a group of college students who minister at camps around the country during the summer. The service was well done and all in attendance heard a good message from Matthew 5:9. Afterward we went for the pancake breakfast with bison sausage links (surprisingly good) and then went back to the RV for a bit of rest. It was pretty hot so we took Grace to the splash park at the campground and she played in the water for a while. After she tired we went back to the rig and changed so we could head for the famous western town of Deadwood (yeah, the Deadwood of the HBO series). We stopped at the site where Wild Bill Hickock was gunned dow while playing cards and where his assassin was captured.

We arrived in Deadwood about 1:00 and decided to have lunch at Mustang Sally's. The food was good and afterward we walked about the town and spent a little time in some of the 80 casinos. South Dakota has strange rules about kids and casinos. We walked into one casiono so I could spend $10 on one of my favorite games (The Twilight Zone) and nobody questioned us about Grace being there. We later found out that kids are allowed in the casinos as long as they stay 2 feet from the machines and don't handle the money. Oh yeah, I made $5 on my $10 investment...LOL.

We wandered about the town for another half hour or so as the rain started to fall. As we were making our way back to the car a gunfight broke out right on main street. By the time it was over three outlaws lay dead in the street and the marshall was strutting away. Sure was fun to watch!

That evening (Sunday the 6th) we decided to check out Mt. Rushmore. We had seen the monument from the road as we drove back from Deadwood but we had yet to go to the visitor center and see the evening program and lighting ceremony, scheduled for 9:00 pm. We arrived about 8:30 along with a throng of others and made our way to the amphitheatre. At precisely 9:00 a ranger announced that the program was cancelled due to dangerous thunderstorms in the area. We snapped a few quick pictures of the monument as the rain began to fall. Then the thunder boomed, lightning struck, and a downpour began. We ran for the car and drove back to the campground (5 miles away). The rain was still coming down as we scurried into the RV only to find we had left a roof vent open and rain was coming in. Fortunately it just wet the carpet area in the bathroom and I was able to dry it out overnight. The storms continued for most of the night but we awoke to a bright blue sky on Monday.

After a relaxing morning doing laundry, we headed out to have lunch in Keystone, the town featured in the film National Treasure 2 with Nicholas Cage. In the film Cage discovers the Lost City of Gold under Mt. Rushmore. In reality, there is gold there…several billion dollars worth. However, it is all down deep in many flooded mineshafts and the cost to unearth the gold is more than its present value. So it remains there for now.

We ended up having lunch at a small pizzeria on the boardwalk in Keystone. I ordered a calzone and while I was inside ordering Kate began talking to another family on vacation from Lincoln, NE. They were touring historic sites and had just finished lunch but had nearly half a pizza left untouched. When I came back out Kate had the pizza and was busy dishing it out for her and Grace. We still ended up taking two slices back to our RV with us and having it for dinner the next day! After lunch we explored the many gift shops and trinket stores, purchasing very little except for a few postcards and a leather money clip for me and a checkbook/travel wallet for us. We took Grace back to the RV about 2pm for her afternoon nap and chilled out until after dinner.

Around 8pm we decided to give the evening program at Rushmore another try. This time everything went without a hitch. The film was excellent and told about the contributions each of the four presidents featured on Rushmore had made to earn their spot. At the end of the film the mountain was illuminated and the weather was great for picture taking. We were very glad to have gone back.

The next morning it was time to head for the Windy City of Chicago, with overnight stops in Kennebec, SD, Albert Lea, MN, and Galena, IL. More on that next time.

1 comment:

Carlo said...

Is your wsu address no longer good? I thought you said you were too far away from Jackson MS. Yahoo Maps has MSU only 31 miles away from Jackson. Jackson is where Ligon Duncan preaches.

I just came back from a 3 day conference in San Francisco. Stayed at the Marriotts right across the street from the Moscone Center. It was beautiful there. Came back today to Sac with 106 degree temperatures and fires still burning. Our amtrack train was delayed because firefighters were putting out some fires near the tracks by the I Street Bridge.

Anyway, being in one of the most beautiful cities in the world made me think to myself, " My goodness, Rob is going to live in Mississippi?! Remind me again, you went to UCLA and lived in one of the most beautiful cities in the world and now you're moving to MS?! Why is that again? Oh that's right, you're cursed. Never mind.