Up close with the Presidents

Trip Start Sep 08, 2009
Trip End Sep 12, 2009

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Flag of United States  , South Dakota
Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The flight on into Rapid City was bumpy but good.  Rapid City Airport is easily one of the smallest in the country.  Watch out Portland & Key West!   Our backpacks came out on the conveyor belt running next to the Hertz counter.  That made it easy to make up a little time.  Hertz provided us with a large, gas guzzling SUV, just like we ordered.  A Nissan Armada that fits all our stuff and we can definitely camp in it if needed. 

We left the airport and went directly to Mt Rushmore.  Seeing the Presidents peaking over the tree tops from the windy roads down below was break taking!  As we got closer their noses and lips were so defined. We stopped at Mt Rushmore Park ($10 per car) and got as close as we could.  The binoculars helped see the details in the creation. Teddy's mustache and glasses are my favorite features.

After gazing at 60' heads for a while we jumped back on the road for an adventure through Custer State Park.  We were on the lookout for animals and boy did we get what we hoped for!  After stopping off at Crazy Horse, the barely finished sculpture of Geronimo, paying $20 entry for the car (waste) and walking through an Indian gift shop...we starting seeing our first signs of wildlife.

As we wound our way through the park we drove past some doe in high grass feeding, around a few more bends on the mountainside we have to stop for a bunch of turkeys.  The wildlife is getting good when we come down a steep hillside road right up on prong horn antelopes grazing in the grass.  The best part of today's adventure through the woods was when we came around a high banked bend headlights to butt of a buffalo!  Yes, buffalo walking on the road down the hill.  We drove right up to it and took pictures and video.  It was so exhilarating we went down the hill to a turn around and went back to see it again...then another turn around and again.  We were looking eye to eye; Amazing! 

John and I are giddy and although I'm starting to get motion sick from all the turns and altitude we truck onto Needles Highway so we can finish our drive and get back to Mt Rushmore for the night show.  On our way there we pass another bunch of turkeys and a pack of jackasses.  Babies, moms and dads walking down the side of the hill together.  Our guess is they were wild from the days the Indians and Anglos were transient through this area.  Wild animals are so cool!

We made it back down to Keystone 3-4 hours after we were there the first time today and stopped at Peggy's Home Cookin' for some country fried chicken with gravy and a buffalo sirloin. Both were awesome! Cheers to Peggy and her all female staff.

Once our bellies were full and we put on some additional layers (and sneakers) we went back to Mt Rushmore Park to see the night show.  It started with the story of the making of Mt Rushmore and then into why each of the four Presidents were selected to be carved from the mass of granite rock.  Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, Lincoln all revolutionary leaders the shaped America.  God Bless the USA! 

The show was awesome, but it was dark and we're exhausted.  We found a Wal-Mart picked up a cooler, Tupperware, food, etc and checked into the hotel.  Early morning down to Wind Cave for a 9am tour. 

Night Night
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