Mt. Rushmore

Trip Start Jul 16, 2010
Trip End Aug 15, 2010

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Where I stayed
Mt. Rushmore KOA Campground

Flag of United States  , South Dakota
Friday, August 6, 2010

(Tom) Dad started us off at 6:30 today. We changed our plan again and went to Mt. Rushmore today and we'll see Wind Cave tomorrow.  We got to Mt. Rushmore at about 1:45.  The first thing we did was get a few pictures.  We were wondering if we had time to do a ranger talk, which walked on the Presidential Trail.  We asked in the Information Center what the ranger walk was.  We ended up not going on it.  We met a lady from Houlton, Maine in the Information Center.  She had lost her Red Sox hat.  What’s a Red Sox fan without his/her hat!?  After walking to the Grand View Terrace and a flight of 46 stairs in all, we were at the Visitor’s Center, I think!  We went to the theater and was about to watch the 14-minute movie about Mt. Rushmore, when Darren scoped out a Boston Red Sox hat sitting on a pole in the theater entrance!  The lady had lost the hat in the theater.  She was probably gone by then so Mom took it and, after the movie, she would turn it in at the Information Center. 

Now that we’d seen Mt. Rushmore during the day, we went to our KOA campsite and hung out until we head back over on the 7:30 shuttle bus to see the lighting ceremony.  The KOA campground we stayed at had a whole section for kids.  It had basketball, volleyball, a waterslide and little pool, a regular pool, a splash area, and minigolf.  There might have been more, I just can’t remember it all.  We ate at the Ponderosa Restaurant.  We ordered dessert but the bus drove in about 5-10 minutes after we ordered.  Our desserts still weren’t there so we decided to cut the dessert and get something at the memorial.  It had started raining halfway through supper.  Once the bus got there, it wasn’t leaving for 10 minutes.  Dad and Darren barely had time to run back to the RV to get the ponchos and adult raincoats. 

We hiked the Presidential Trail, got our passports stamped, Darren and I got ice cream and Mom got us some great seats.  The rain stopped soon after we arrived.  Right as we got into Mom’s row, the ceremony started.  A ranger came out and talked to us about how this country is united and everyone should have utmost respect for the person sitting on our right or left.  After the ranger went out, a movie started.  The movie was about Mt. Rushmore and the lives and presidential terms of the four presidents on the rock.  While God Bless America was playing and our country’s highlights were on the screen, the mountain started to light up.  Once the song was over, the mountain was lit up and it asked the audience to stand and join in singing the National Anthem.  While we sang that, Boy Scout Troop 88 from Arkansas(?) went up to the stage to bring the flag down.  Before they brought the flag down, they had all members of the armed forces (current and past) come up to the stage.  Probably 5-10% of the crowd went up to salute the flag as it came down.  It was absolutely silent while the flag was coming down.  The whole thing was so patriotic.  The faces of four great Americans lit up on the side of Mt. Rushmore, the veterans, and the Boy Scout troop lowering the flag while the veterans saluted.  I felt proud for our country and I bet Mom, Dad, and Darren did too.  Once the flag was folded up and given to one of the members saluting, the ceremony came to an end.  Mt. Rushmore was gorgeous lit up.  We took a 10 o’clock bus back to the campground.  Once we were back, and in bed, I thought about what the four presidents on the mountain actually did.  I thought it would be extremely tough and that we have great leaders in this country and it made me proud to be an American.

(Kevin)  You were right Uncle Mark, the Sturgis motorcycle rally is in town.  It began on 8/4 and they expect about 500,000 motorcycles.  As we traveled through Keystone near Mt. Rushmore, they had a street blocked off and there were parked motorcycles as far as the eye could see.  I feel out of place wearing a shirt and without leather chaps.  They took over part of the campground and shake our camper as they drive by.  Pretty cool.  Off to Wind Cave National Park tomorrow, Iowa Sunday, and Field of Dreams Movie Site Monday.

389.2 miles, avg. speed 58.6 mph, travel time 6:38, stopped time 1:12, total miles for trip 6,182
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stacey morneault on

Tom - your blog on the lighting ceremony at Mt. Rushmore was incredible.

Bump (Yankee Fan) on

Bump understands why the lady left her hat at the theatre entrance. It's a polite way of not throwing it away; maybe she will be back next year to pick it up when the Red Sox are doing better.

Uncle Alan on

Stacey's right: Another great blog, Tom. Too bad you can't get school credit. Mt. Rushmore is another of your stops on my bucket list. Maybe before I'm 60?

spelkey on

Tom, your blog describing the patriotic feel at Mount Rushmore actually brought tears to my eyes. It is great to be an American and we should all be proud. You are an excellent writer.

Grammie on

Tom & Darren - It brings back memories of being there with Grampa, Uncle Brian, Uncle Gregg, and your Dad in 1980. Many memories, we will always have them. Love, Grammie.

lake Unc on

Ya done it again Tom.....awesome job!! After reading your descriptions, my bucket list gets shorter..... ;-)

Nana & Bump on

Darren ! We are all waiting for another blog from you. You do a very good job. Miss you guys ! Love ya !
Kevin, your doing a fantastic job keeping on schedule with all the long hours of driving, along with picture taking & blogging.

hanscomxcountry on

Dear Bump:
The lady bought the hat at a Red Sox Spring Training Game. That hat meant a lot to her. I am sure you can sympathize with her because she is an elderly baseball fan too.

Naomi Brown on

I am loving this! You are all wonderful writers and the pictures are incredible. It is wonderful that you are sharing this with all of us. I love reading about all of these beautifull places you are visiting. America is beautiful

Pauline Dickey on

Tom, did you get goose bumps during the lighting ceremony? Patriotic things like that always give them to me. I thought Mt. Rushmore was awesome. Kevin, my brother was in Sturgis. He probably was one of the ones shaking your camper.

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