Mt Rushmore & Minnesota Mud Fest Adventures

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Flag of United States  , Kansas
Saturday, September 8, 2012

Montana to Minnesota 

 Our next major stop was to visit the famous site of The Mount Rushmore National Memorial - the sculpture carved into the granite face of the mountain near Keystone, South Dakota.   
Mount Rushmore features 60-foot (18 m) sculptures of the heads of former United States presidents,  George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

Twice we went to the monument at night for the lighting of the monument but both times, were unable to watch the film, due to being too windy, the ranger said the screen would not cope with it & the first occasion technology let them down. 
Twice we  listened to a patriotic talk by the ranger on Liberty & the American people.   Mike called into the office on the way out to register our disappointment........He advised them not to invade Iran, but to leave it to Israel seeing the USA has a lot of difficulty in getting the technology right at one of their most sacred sites ... (This is a tongue in cheek comment for all of our USA friends !!)

We enjoyed a drive on the Needles Highway, which has very narrow tunnels and very scenic. We also visited Hill City & Keystone,  quaint little western style towns.    

We then came to Rapid City where we drove through the Bear Country wildlife park. We saw Elk, Goats, Wolves, Black bears, there is 130 bears, long horn sheep, lynx, badgers etc. 
In the baby section the cute baby bears were playing & fighting, our grandchildren would have loved it.  There are 2 huge grizzly's kept separate from the others as they tend to kill black bears.     

We went to a Rapid City Christian School,  Mike was keen to have a look through,  as the huge shed used to be a horse arena, and it has been converted into a school, complete with a meeting hall, classrooms, gymnasium, running track & athletics field. It is amazing what they have done.  They have 180 students.  We were given a very interesting tour right through the whole school by the principal, and we told them all about all the Christadelphian Heritage Colleges in Australia. They viewed the Heritage website and were so very impressed.  

A lovely couple, Sue & Bob, staying in our Rapid City  RV park, invited us over to listen to him play the organ that they have in their RV (the organ has 2 keyboards & pedals), He is very talented, & we enjoyed the recital immensely.  

Next morning we were up early as Jack Rabbit (Mike) was excited.....we hired  a Harley Davidson for 2 days.    Mike has never ridden one before....He said, without lying, he has ridden motor bikes in Australia.  After signing the papers, it was out to the bike  and it quickly dawned on him, how heavy this bike  is, even WITHOUT ME ON IT!!  Everything was explained, blinkers, lights, cd player, ipod,  etc. 

Now came the time for the 'comfort ride' which really means....'We want to see if you know what you are doing, before you take this beast away'...... Well I am sure I heard a grunt, as Mike, after putting his leg across the seat, lifted the 500+kg  bike to the upright position, all the while desperately trying to show he knew exactly what to expect & what he was doing!    The truth is that 35 years ago, he owned a Honda 125, with a top speed of 100kph & a weight of all of 100kg!!  Since then he has hired motor bikes in Bali, similar to a step through scooter, (nothing more than a mosquito with extractors!)  If you know Bali, the top speed one can do there, is probably 60kph, if one is lucky!  

This monolithic beast is not called 'the Harley Davidson Hog'  for nothing.......... It is 1800cc's in size .......With us & a full tank of fuel it weighs at least 600kg + (1200+lbs).  The 'mid life crisis' is kicking in..... He is now at the point of 'No return',   He is astride this heavy beast, and now has to ride around the car park under the close scrutiny & watchful eye of the expert!!  
As Mike crunched the gears, trying to find 1st, the manager glanced at me & as I gave a feeble smile.........He knew, that I knew, that he knew,  Mike really didn't know what he was doing!!!  Somehow he managed to ride off without incident and did a circuit of the carpark, knuckles white, heart pounding, legs quivering, not wanting to let this thing fall, as if that happened, apart  from total embarrassment, he would NEVER be able to pick it up again!   Inwardly Mike was thinking 'What was I thinking?'..........outwardly appearing as Mr Confidence with a capital C!!!!  SOMEHOW  he was trying to unleash the 'Casey Stoner or Mick Doohan' from deep inside, but in reality it is non-existent in this 'bikie of the 70's'!!!  

It is not often I see Michael unsure, but this was one of those times.  We donned our 'bikie helmets' & I put on my $8 leather vest, to really look the part, Mike braced himself as I got on
the back of the bike, and off we went.   

Over the next 2 days, we visited the Badlands National Park staying at Wall, a little town,
with the Oldest & largest Drug & Convenience Store in the US.  Driving along the freeway, the wind was SO strong, we really had to hold on, and when a semi-trailer came past, it made it
even more difficult.   We rode through the Black Hills, which was very scenic & stayed at Deadwood, a western style town where Wild Bill Hickock & Calamity Jane lived & died.    

When it came to slowing down for traffic lights or stop signs, the small ballet like steps performed as Mike gingerly bought the beast to a halt, holding on for dear life to keep the bike upright, would be envied by the most expert of dancers!!  One of the most difficult tasks was trying to turn the behemoth in a tight spot, but he did it!  I was most impressed how he
handled this beast, although there was one occasion, where he tried to turn in the middle of the town, with a group of people watching the performance........the small ballet like steps were in overdrive, as he didn't make the turn & had to desperately back up to turn again, all the while,  the heavy rock music of David Cassidy of the Partridge Family (Cherish is the word) 
was coming forth from the speakers of the bike!!   Many of you would know this song.....hardly
a Bikies style of music!!!!   We laughed  sooo much!  

We went to the Moriah cemetery in Deadwood to view the graves of Wild Bill Hickock & Calamity Jane.   After this it was back on the bike & off we went back to Rapid City  via the
scenic road, and it was very enjoyable. We arrived back to Harley Davidson, quite relieved,  to be returning the bike in one piece, & ourselves as well!!!!   We had a ball & lots of laughs. 

From here we travelled to Minnesota to the home of Bob & Ursula Lanners, who we met in the Grand Canyon.  We enjoyed staying with them on their property and had nice chats on many different subjects, including Israel & the Bible. Their little dog 'Kokomo' was a dog not to be messed with, a dog with attitude!  Very cute! They were very hospitable & took us to the Itasca National Park, the Lindbergh Museum (first person to fly solo from USA to Paris in 1927 on the "Spirit of St Lious") and other sites around Minnesota. We also enjoyed a tour of their property on their 'side by side' 4WD.   

We were there for the 'Mud Fest' (held on their property) where people from all over Minnesota bring their Monster Trucks, ATV's & other vehicles, and try and drive through the large mud pond without getting bogged.  Mike was so pleased to go as a passenger, along with Boofie & Dummar & the Australian Flag in Kevin's Monster Truck, through the mud, and ended up very dirty.  He loved it. It was a lot of fun, and we thought it was something Barry & Pauline
could do in the clay pan of Kaleno, Cobar!!! (Australia) People had to pay to come here for the day & the tractor was on hand to pull anyone out who got bogged. A real 'GUY' day, and there were many wild and amazing vehicles.  Lots of fun. 

Finally it was time to leave, we were sad to say goodbye to Bob & Ursula our good friends,
and from here we made our way to Minneapolis where we went to the 'Mall of America', the LARGEST shopping centre in the USA.  Beth, you should have been with me!  I bought NOTHING!!!   

Anyway, I think that's enough from me, Bye for now, thanks for reading the blog, and we LOVE reading your comments ...keep safe and well,  God bless....Miss you all.   

Next blog:  Not sure!!  Our Kids and Grandkids (15 of them!) arrive in 4 weeks ... YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

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Carol Newburg on

It looks like you two are having an absolute ball. What fun photos and some gorgeous ones in there, too. I really enjoy reading about your travels. Thanks for sharing.

yanocrf on

LOVE IT....such a funny story about the Harley. You guys would have had the best fun of this. TOTAL mid life crisis ....we all think its awesome & the kids say " we have the coolest grandparents!" Have fun....& 4 weeks time we shall be there to enjoy with you both. Luv ya xx

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