Friday, October 21, 2016

South Dakota Trip - Mount Rushmore

So we decided to visit Mount Rushmore again and a new Road Trip was born!  We had been there many years ago and had enjoyed it so much.  I remember it was neat to walk up to see the carved heads of four great presidents, and quite cool to learn about how hard the work had been.
Our drive north on I-25 went to just north of Cheyenne, where we switched onto US Highway 85 at exit 17.  Then we drove into the great Wyoming empty.  The emptiness continued for miles and miles. We teased about UFO's and kidnappings in the night, discussed what used to be in the empty and abandoned buildings en-route, counted cows and birds along the way while driving north through miles and miles of empty.

We found gas in Torrington, laughed at local bar signs in Lingle, passed the Stagecoach Museum in Lusk (didn't stop), finally turning right onto US 18 at the rest area at Mule Creek Junction.  We turned north onto South Dakota 89, stopping for photos at the Bicycle Sculpture in Pringle, SD, before picking up US 385 in Custer.  We passed the Crazy Horse Memorial, talking about how it didn't look so different than it did on our last trip.  The weather had been wonderful all day with the deep blue skies and a few puffy clouds.  Turning right onto SD 244, we followed that to Mount Rushmore.  This is where we found differences since our last trip.

View of the court with state flags
Photo from the railing with the amphitheater
Starting the Presidential Trail
Closer photo from the P Trail
First, you now pay for parking, where before there was no charge.  This was OK because they have built 2 multi-story parking garages, now holding almost 3-4 times the cars they used to.  New also were the first 2 buildings along the causeway, the Amphitheater, and the Presidential Trail.  The carved heads still amazed me like they used to and the state flags by the causeway were a nice feature.

Presidential Trail is all TREX
Lincoln peaks out
Looking up to George
Trail side rocks and trees
The steps down
Roosevelt in the shade 
Looking back at the causeway, restaurants and stores
We did enjoy the Presidential Trail as it rambled under shade trees first down, then across, then back up.  The trail is only half a mile long, but provides many different photo viewpoints, rest stops and even has a children's area.  It also gave a view of the behind the scenes National Park Headquarters and support.  We also visited the Carver's Studio on the way back up having missed that on our last trip.

One of the compressors used on the mountain
And the story about it
View on the way back up
Getting ready to leave
My only close-up photo
Well, we really enjoyed Mount Rushmore again and hope to return some day.  From here, we drove into the riot of Keystone, the National Parks closest village of brightly lit hotels, motels and swag. Picking up US 16 there, we then continued our road trip to Rapid City where we saw the Berlin Wall, then to Wall SD and The Badlands.
Getting to Mount Rushmore had us driving north through Denver on I-25 to US 85 at Cheyenne, then US 18 at Mule Creek Junction to SD 89 at Pringle to US 385 at Custer then east on SD 244.
Total Road Trip miles were just over 1500 and we felt we saw a lot in those 2 days and really got away from home/work.

No comments:

Post a Comment