Monday, September 17, 2007

#14 - Mt. Rushmore & Keystone

If this #14 is out of sequence, it's because we got ahead of ourselves as we were blogging merrily along, and left out a couple important places. So, we'll fill in here.

Our primary South Dakota destination was Mt. Rushmore. We had been there before, but it was three or four decades ago so we weren't sure if erosion over that length of time had distorted the presidents or not. We were happy to find the mountain intact and fresh from a cleaning. The presidents haven't changed but the tourist facilities have been expanded significantly. The complex now includes a video theater, restaurant, gift shop, parking structures, stairways, elevators and boardwalks to viewpoints, an amphitheater and a promenade of flags of all the states. It’s pretty impressive and the park ranger did a great job of narrating a walk around the base of the mountain.

The small town of Keystone is just a few miles downhill from Mt. Rushmore. We happened to be there during their annual “Holy Terror Days.” The festivities began with a disappointing breakfast of scrambled eggs, slightly burnt potatoes, dry biscuits and warm apple juice, but improved from there. Later in the day they had an old time parade of mostly horses and horse-drawn vehicles of various kinds, along with a few cowboys shooting off their guns. It was a fun down home style parade.

After the parade, everyone went down to the Big Thunder gold mine store for a cowboy barbecue dinner of spuds, beans and steaks. Entertainment was provided by the 7th Cavalry (Custer's group) Drum and Bugle Corps from Rapid City. It was a fun and relaxing afternoon. Due to limited seating and general fatigue from lots of climbing and walking around on a hot day, we skipped the dinner but listened to several numbers by the band.

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