Well the Badlands were amazing but on to Rapid City! I had a difficult time finding a place for this week. The reason?…. Sturgis Bike Week. We didn’t time this exactly well. The bikers are up at the crack of dawn and don’t seem to sleep :). All of them we have met are very nice and of course love their bikes, but they are SO LOUD!
We arrived early Sunday afternoon to Happy Holidays RV Campground. This by far is the most in need of major TLC park we have stayed in. The people are very nice but the park is very old, not laid out very well, and the owner apparently is kinda an old car hoarder. On the plus side, we are very close to the Black Hills National Park, Custer, Mt Rushmore, & Crazy Horse monuments. Mark and I were pretty tired from the drive so we set up camp and just kinda did the homebody thing. We met a nice couple Tamara and Dewayne from Toronto and spent a nice evening chatting about family and our travels.
Since we are in the Black Hills Visiting Mount Rushmore was the first thing on the schedule. Being from Atlanta and having grown up in the shadow of Stone Mountain, we are spoiled with amazing rock carving but Rushmore just feels a little more “grand”.
The long mall approaching the monument contains a walkway lined with columns. Each of these columns have a state flag and each of the 50 states carved into the the side.
There is an a great trail dubbed The President’s Trail, from the mall area around the base of the carving then circling back to the mall area. You really get a better appreciation for the scale.
Midway on the trail you can visit the sculptors exhibit to learn more about Gutzon Borglum and how his dream of Rushmore became a reality.
Not only did it take a vision, it took a lot of powerful equipment.
Fun fact: there is a Hall of Records carved into the mountain behind the faces.
Very close to Mount Rushmore is the small town of Keystone. We needed to get a bite to eat (at a dog friendly place) so we asked the “Bring Fido” app. There was a small sandwich/burger place with outdoor seating at the bottom of the hill called Grizzly Creek. The food and the beer were ok but being the tourist trap it is, they don’t really have to bring their A game unfortunately.
Just a short drive and we arrived at the Crazy Horse Monument. I must say….totally underwhelmed and didn’t find it at all worth the $22 it cost to get in. They have raised millions and millions of dollars since its beginning in 1941 and have made really little progress IMHO. If they ever actually finish it, it will be amazing looking. This shot is of the replica in foreground and the work in process in the background.
There is a beautiful bronze sculpture that caught my attention as you enter the small museum.
Here are a couple shots from inside the small museum.
I’m sure the Needles Highway and Custer Park are going to require much longer to see 🙂