Thursday, May 23, 2013

Mt Rushmore and Crazy Horse

Odometer unchanged at 33542 miles
Trip meter- 0

This time change thing is getting to me. As we traveled east, we lost an hour each time we crossed a time zone. This is good, because Joan is a night owl and Jeff is a lark. By the time we got to Florida, Jeff was staying up until midnight and actually going to sleep at 9 or 9:30 west coast time. Now it's reversing itself and to get to bed at midnight is like- well- midnight. My body is not liking this...

At 6:30 this morning, we are thinking it must be 8:30 and our eyes pop open- no use fighting it, we got up and got ready to go to Mount Rushmore. We are in a very small hamlet called Hermosa about 12 miles south of Rapid City and about 20 miles east of the monument, so we took state highway 40 over to Keystone which is the gateway city (town) to the Monument.

We turned onto route 244 which goes up to the mountains. As we got close we started getting teasing little glimpses of the huge carvings.

The entrance way to the viewing area has changed a lot since I was last here in the 70s.  Back then you just drove into a big parking lot and walked over to the viewing area,  Now you pay an $11 "parking fee" and get to park in the partially underground parking structure.  I say parking fee in quotes, because it means I don't get in on my Senior Pass.  (they explained that technically there is no entrance fee- it's all a parking fee)

After parking and passing through the portal seen above, you are now on an avenue of the flags.

Each cloumn in the avenue leading up to the viewing platform has the name of one of the 50 states and it's state flag flying.  Oregon is on the second column on the right in this photo and our blue and gold flag hangs above the inscription.  (each column has 4 states- one on each face of the column)

Here is the money shot.

We couldn't help mugging it up like all the other tourists around us- so here we are- proof these photos weren't clipped from Google Images!

We got an unexpected surprise as we headed out on the road towards our next destination.

The road south wraps around to where you get a great profile view of Washington!

From Mount Rushmore we continued south on Route 16 another 17 miles to the Crazy Horse Memorial.

This memorial is a private not-for-profit that uses the entrance fees and profit from souvenirs and food sales to fund the work.

And what a project this is.  Started in 1948 by sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski, the work continued after his death in 1982, carried on by 6 of his 10 children.  It is not readily apparent how much work has taken place, until you see the succession of photos taken over the years.  The best estimates are that over 8 million tons of granite have been removed from the mountain so far.

No one is predicting when the 60 story high sculpture will be finished, but it is now a near-certainty that it will be finished.  Cas, Korczak's oldest son, who started drilling on the mountain with his father at a very young age,  is now the Mountain Foreman, and is 55 years old.  65 years of work since it's inception, the family has secured private funding to assure that it will be completed.  This place will also be the campus for the Indian University of North America, and host the Indian Museum of North America.

Joan and I got a chuckle out of this box of blasing scrap that was yours for a donation to the cause.  You can bet we loaded up the motorhome with some granite.

This interior photo shows one wing of the inside of the 1.6 million dollar visitors center.  There are displays, snacks, a restaurant, and of course a gift shop.

The weather cooperated with us today.  It was a little chilly and breezy, but in did finally get up to the 70s this afternoon and we got some sun from mid morning to mid afternoon.  It's still 59 degrees tonight as I write this- but the wind has really started to howl.  Tomorrow high of 77 and mostly sunny!

We hit the road again tomorrow and hope to overnight in Sheridan, Wyoming, on our way to Yellowstone.

Your Traveling Friends

Jeff and Joan

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