Mt. Rushmore, Custer, Wind Cave and More

Trip Start Jul 24, 2010
Trip End Aug 03, 2010

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Where I stayed
Sleepy Hollow Campground and RV Park

Flag of United States  , South Dakota
Friday, July 30, 2010

We were up pretty early again which seems to be part of the normal routine.  We took off down 14 towards Sundance where we got onto I-90.  WE took a small detour at Sturgis to see "THE" Harley shop.  In only one week there will be 500,000 motorcycles here for the rally.  Next we headed towards Mt. Rushmore through Rapid City.  We stopped for an oil change and there just so happened to be a Little Caesars across the street.  We were going to just get crazy bread but they had crazy bread and a large pizza for $9.99.  We ate the crazy bread on teh way to Mt. Rushmore and saved the pizza.  We went through a very touristy area including Keystone but we didn't stop at any of the money suckers.  Mt. Rushmore was visible from US 244 and to be honest, I was expecting bigger.  We pulled into the garage, paid our $10.00 and started walking closer.  We did the 1/2 mile long trail called Presidents Trail.  There were several different spots which provided slightly different views.  Next we went to the sculptors studio which had a model of what they were going to try to make it look like.  There was also a good view of the current Mt. Rushmore.  They had a model that was 1 inch=1 foot of Abe Lincolns head.  They were lots of pictures of how the workers got up there every day.  I think this aspect of Mt. Rushmore is far more interesting than the size of it.  I was also interested to know that the whole point was to attract tourists.  Next we took a short rest stop pit stop and Gary Hart, the Seeger athletic director, called to talk to Miles about the cross country job.  We went to the visitor center and read more information.  Especially interesting were the wages of the different workers.  The workers were well paid for the time period in which this was happening.  In the gift shop people were bustling everywhere.   One of the workers who drilled into the wall was there signing copies of his book.  He worked on Mt. Rushmore in 1939-1941, needless to say he was quite old.  After Mt. Rushmore we stoppeed at a picnic area for a pizza lunch.  I found a bright greenish orange insect.  Next we headed to Crazy Horse.  We entered and it said no U-turn.  We got to the gate and saw that it was going to be $10 per person.  This was more than the completed Mt. Rushmore.  WE told the lady that this was more than we expected and she let us turn around.  We stopped in Custer for ice and I took a little nap as we continued to Wind Cave National Park.  We arrived at 2:15 and the next cave tour was at 3:00.  We took our time looking around, buying a magnet, and getting warmer clothes (the cave temperature was 53 degrees but the outside tempreature was 95) We had a really annoying ranger for our guide.  He was a middle school special needs teacher about 5'2" tall with a cartoon character voice.  The tour was reasonable enough at only $9.00 each.  Wind Cave has 138 miles of passageways in only one square mile of land space.  There are parts still being explored.  This is a different type of cave with stalagtites or stalagmites and really not much water.  It has a formation called boxwork.  Supposedly this is found no where else in the world.  Basically, water was sitting in this area for a long period of time.  The water contained calcium carbonate which broke down the limestone.  The cracks were calcite which does not dissolve in water.  As a result, very thin box like structures were left behind.  After the cave tour we drove to a trail called lookout tower.  It was 1.5 miles and right in the middle was a lookout tower.  We had a good view from the top, but had hoped to go to the top of the tower.  There was a sign that said authorized personnel only.  At the bottom of the trail we noticed that the tire looked low again....really low.  We had no idea where the closest place to air up the tire was.  Finally there was a resort/campground that had air.  the tire was basically flat and you could see where we had been driving by a thin indented ring around the tire.  We made it to Hermosa and got some gas and checked the air.  I made phonecalls to find someone in Rapid City to fix the tire.  The Walmart had a tire center and they would care of it if we could get there in the next 1.5 hours.  We headed that way and made it in time to wait.  We ate our own supper on a bench inside the tire shop.  It took awhile, but finally the guy came out with a big rock, said it was the problem, and said that the patch was only $10.00 which was quite the deal.  We continued our journey to Wall, SD.  I didn't realize how historic "Wall Drug" was.  There were at least 4 signs every mile advertising somethign about Wall Drue.  We finally arrived around 9:00 and were the last group to reguster at the campground.  It was very nice for only $18.00 per night.  They had a pood which we didn't use and very nice restrooms with showers.  After setting up camp, I asked someone with electricity if I could plug in my cell phone to charge, then we checked out Wall Drug as it stayed open until 10:30 pm. We looked at several shops, then went back to the campground and went to bed. 
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