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Mount Rushmore RV Trip...

Over Labor Day weekend we joined Don, Matt and the Mills Boys for a 'monumental' RV adventure to The Black Hills of South Dakota and Mount Rushmore!

Click on the following to Jump Ahead:

 


We picked up our 'home away from home', a Coachman Freelander 33 foot RV, on Friday and then picked up the boys from school and headed straight to The Black Hills of South Dakota, a 6+ hour drive from Boulder north on I-25 and through Wymoming. Along the way, the boys enjoyed the freedom of hanging out in the RV and enjoyed a few board games along the way...

Stopping at Chick-fil-A in Loveland for dinner...

 


We arrived at the Palmer's Gulch KOA campground at night and the boys explored the campground first thing in the morning. They quickly found the air trampoline and other fun activities that were a part of our new RV 'village'.

This one was giving us the 'stink eye'...

 

 


Later in the morning on Saturday, we departed to Custer State Park which is a real jewel in the surprisingly bueatfiul Black Hills. Custer State Park is a 71,000 acre state park with a wildlife loop drive and is famous for its large 1000+ herd of American Bison, aka the Buffalo, aka 'Tatanka'. As you can see below, we did encounter the herd and so there are lots of Buffalo pictures. We also saw a nice film on the history of the region and of Custer State Park narrated by (who else) Kevin Costner. We also stopped at Stockade Lake, one of the lovely lakes in the region for a little fishing.

The Stockade Lake Bridge, built in by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1937

Don Mills

 

 


After returning to camp and cooking up some dinner on the camp fire, we drove up to Mount Rushmore and braved some rain to take in their night time ceremony which culminated with a lighting of the Mount Rushmore faces.

Entering Mount Rushmore National Park area...

This is the backside of the iconic Mount Rushmore monument...
Our first look at a wet Mount Rushmore (better views tommorrow)...

A park ranger introduces the tribute film which again culminates with a lighting of the monument...

 

The boys enjoying making 'Smores on the camp fire...
The adults enjoyed a nice bottle of wine or two...

 

 


Sunday we returned to Mount Rushmore National Park, this time with favorable weather - indeed it was a bueatiful blue sky day. We took in the monument, a film about its genesis and construction and walked a realtively short hiking loop around the monument. Below follows more pictures of Mount Rushmore than you might want to see:

 
 
 
 

Bust of Gutzon Borglum, the primary sculptor of the Mount Rushmore figures...

Mount Rushmore was constructed between 1927 and 1941, the workers used dynamite to blast away rock before finishing more closely with a process called honeycombing. Over 450,000 tons of rock were blasted away which can be seen in the tailings above.

Brendan presses the plunger to simulate blasting rock off the face of Mt. Rushmore...

 


Near Mount Rushmore is a mounument to Crazy Horse, a Lokota (also known as Souix) cheif famous for his participation in the Battle of Little Bighorn (Custer's Last Stand). The backstory to the Crazy Horse Monument is fascinating and it has been worked on by one man and one family since 1947.

Painting of Korczak Ziolkowski, an assistant to the Mount Rushmore project, who spent his life working on the memorial with his wife, sons and daughters. Intersesting video on Ziolkowski here.

This is what the monument will someday theoretically look like...

This is the old steam powered Buda compressor made in Denver in 1881 that Ziolkowski nicknamed "Kaput" because it had a habit of stalling after he had hiked halfway up the mountain forcing him to turn around and start again up the 741 steps to the mountain. One day this happened nine times!

Ethan spies a BMW M4 to pose by...

 

 


Here are some images from the town of Custer, named after the controversial military man George Armstrong Custer, where we stopped for lunch and stumbled across a Studabaker car show.

 

 


Some images from the last day and the drive home....