Baron Dave Romm (barondave) wrote,
Baron Dave Romm
barondave

20130105 Trip to Oregon and Back: Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial

Continued from 20130104 Trip to Oregon and Back: Salt Lake City and Antelope Island. More images at 20130103-06 Road Trip 5: OR, ID, UT, WY, SD, MN

Approaching Mount Rushmore 1/5/13
Approaching Mount Rushmore 1/5/13

Approaching Mount Rushmore 1/5/13
Approaching Mount Rushmore 1/5/13
All the states are represented

Dave at Mount Rushmore 1/5/13
Dave at Mount Rushmore 1/5/13

Our last day in the Mountain Time Zone was a brilliant strategic success and a brilliant tactical success, but the day started off inauspiciously.

The hotel near Casper, WY was okay. Cheap and old, for a hotel, but we didn't demand much. Still, breakfast was skimpy and the tv was blaring some anti-government rant instead of useful weather information. I mean geeze, I know Wyoming is a red state, but the hotel in Montana was great. Waking up to hatred every day hardly makes for good customer relations.

Driving through Wyoming in the daylight was great. We were still in the mountains, though not the sharp rise of the Rockies, and the countryside rolled by pleasently.

The highway connection between Casper and Rapid City took us through more back roads than any other leg of the journey. Back on US 20, and only on an Interstate for a short shile, then through a series of local roads. 25 mph in the SD mountains with no guardrails...



At one point, fiddling with the controls, we lost the car's GPS directions. Carole's Android was saying one thing and the car was saying another. (A statement that would have been meaningless a decade ago.) Trying to resolve the difference turned the car's directions off. So we were on our own. I just drove be the seat of my pants. I knew where we were from actual maps and looking at the route on the AAA app. Take that calm but confused female voice(s). We continued up to Newcastle and entered South Dakota on Hwy 18. Maybe not the route our electronic friends suggested, but had the advantage of being easy to do (one decision branch) and taking us through Custer, SD, where we had lunch.

Custer is a tourist town, and we were visiting out of season. A billboard advertisement for a restaurant piqued Carole's interest, but it was closed. So we kept going. We stopped at one of the few places that was open, and that had a bison on the roof.

The Wrangler is basically a steak & burger joint, specializing in buffalo meat. Fairly plain, but good food. I had the Buffalo Bacon Burger, while Carole opted for a regular burger. A good lunch, but sunset wasn't too far off.

We discussed our next move. Strategically, I had planned this entire return trip around visiting Mt. Rushmore. Carole, a Native American, didn't really care for the presidents but really wanted to see the Crazy Horse Memorial. We could do both, but the question was: Which one first? Carole wanted to go to Crazy Horse first. I convinced her to go to Mt. Rushmore first, as we would then do Crazy Horse to put her in a good mood for the drive to the hotel. Okay, she relented at last. This turned out to be a brilliant tactical move.

Everyone should visit Mt. Rushmore, and nearly three million people a year do. Pictures don't do it justice. Indeed, photos usually show a close-up, magnifying what you see when you're in person. In a way, I was disappointed that huge giant president heads weren't floating above me. In another way, I felt pride that leaders with a vision were so honored as to have their faces carved into mountains.

It's a long walk from parking to the overview facing the mountain, and you pass statues and pillars honoring every state. A park ranger came by with news of a mountain goat back toward the wooded area and several of us quietly went to observe, but we didn't get a good photo. Everyone was friendly and strangers were happy to take photos of each other against the presidents.

With the museums closed, we made a brief stop in the gift shop. We could have stayed until sunset and seen the mountain light up, but we still had a place to go and I didn't want to drive in the mountains in the dark. For all the anticipation, we were at Mt. Rushmore for less than an hour. Still, I'm very glad I went. In theory, my park permit is good for a year...

Carole at Crazy Horse Memorial 1/5/13
Carole at Crazy Horse Memorial 1/5/13

The Crazy Horse Memorial is 17 miles from Mt. Rushmore, but that doesn't really indicate the distance. Most of those miles are up mountains. Only a few miles separate the entrances off the highway.

We got to the memorial in time to see the unfinished sculpture in the daylight. Again, pictures don't really show the dimensions of the project. The mountain is much larger than Mt. Rushmore, and dedicated to one person and his horse.

Crazy Horse Memorial 1/5/13
Crazy Horse Memorial 1/5/13
1/300th scale model with the unfinished mountain as backdrop

Crazy Horse Memorial 1/5/13
Crazy Horse Memorial 1/5/13
one part of one hall of the huge museum

Crazy Horse Memorial 1/5/13
Crazy Horse Memorial 1/5/13
Channukah display

Crazy Horse Memorial 1/5/13
Crazy Horse Memorial 1/5/13
Deeper into the museum, Christmas decorations, American flags, "Treasures of Tutankamen" poster, et al

Crazy Horse Memorial 1/5/13
Crazy Horse Memorial 1/5/13
Even deeper into the Artist's Quarters/Workshop, various busts and such.


The Crazy Horse Memorial has a museum complex of 80,000 square feet. I'm not sure that includes the restaurant or the artist's workshop or outside walkways. The museum and gift shop were open much later than dark. Just exploring the museum took several hours. Carole, with limited mobility, stayed to see the movie about the sculpting while I went deeper into the museum/workshop/quarters. We met back in the gift shop. One of two gift shops: One just for products made by natives, the other more touristy shop, both in one big room with separate registers (but either could ring up any purchase).

We asked when the gift shop closed. "Oh, we'll stay open as long as anyone's still here." We had made the right decision as to the order of the monuments. *whew*

Crazy Horse Memorial at night 1/5/13
Crazy Horse Memorial at night 1/5/13

To be continued... and finished... in 20130105-6 Trip to Oregon and Back: Zipping home through South Dakota and Minnesota.
Subscribe
  • Post a new comment

    Error

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 3 comments