Mount Rushmore, South Dakota – The Shrine of Democracy


4- 27 – 2017  Mt. Rushmore

After an unsuccessful attempt to see the monument the day before, we returned the next morning and were happy to see sunny skies! We took the fast route there from Hot Springs on the return trip. Enjoy the views on our drive from Hot Springs to Mt. Rushmore, it was one hour from there. It is located in Keystone. We arrived at 6:40 AM.

The Iron Mountain Road we took the day before led us to this historical marker about the designer of the monument.

The route up the other side from Custer was beautiful the next morning.  We saw a mountain lake reflecting the blue sky, the trees flocked in snow.

 

We made it to the top, the view just before pulling into the parking ramp.

We were among the first people here, arriving before the museum opened. Outside is a sign posting events going on there daily.

The Avenue of Flags paves the way to the Grand Terrace to view the monument close-up. in a niche on the left is a bust of Borglum.

We made it! Seeing this work of art up close is amazing. The blue sky really made it stand out.

We had the pleasure of chatting with other visitors from around the world and we helped take selfies of them with Mt. Rushmore in the background. There also are two viewing scopes, it costs 50 cents to use it.

We enjoyed exploring the museum inside too. There is so much to see there, here is a general overview. There are a series of displays in the entryway.

Holographic display

 

This is the largest main display room, the Exhibit Hall.

There is a scale model of Mt. Rushmore. Also videos and artifacts such as tools used in the building of the monument.

A large mural depicting the Presidents.

It was almost time to go, we took the elevator back up to the Grand Terrace and noticed more people arriving.

Walking back through the Avenue of Flags, we saw a beautiful white Mountain Goat on our right regarding the crowd!

It was now 9:15, we planning on leaving by 9:30 so we made a stop at the gift shop first.  Enter under the first awning on the right, you can also just see the statue of Borglum on the right. We stayed three hours.

We give Mt. Rushmore a thumbs up!  We were so happy to be here today!

Black Hills, South Dakota Adventures-Day 3


April 26, 2017

We spent the day exploring the Black Hills of South Dakota riding along in our friend’s truck. He and his wife have lived here for 20 years so they know it well!  Here is a map showing the area that we covered today.

We headed north from where they live in Hot Springs.  They gave us the grand tour of the Hot Springs area the day before.

First, we drove through Wind Cave National Park. If we come back in the summer, we can see the cave itself, April is still in the off-season.we went into the hills, there was quite a bit of snow since we were at higher elevation, we were also brushing the bottom of the rather low cloud deck.

The Elk Haven store at the Elk Haven Horse Camp, you can see the low cloud deck.

Enjoy a drive through the park, plenty of bison too!

Next, we drove through Custer State Park, at least partially. Our goal was to connect with Highway 16A, also known as Iron Mountain Road. It is 17 miles of amazing views, bridges and forest. Also tunnels carved right in the mountain!  It is the scenic route to Mt. Rushmore. Unfortunately, the low cloud deck prevented us from seeing Mt. Rushmore from the third tunnel.  I superimposed the view in the video to show you what it would have looked like.

Enjoy the ride!

The wildlife was abundant and were close enough to the road for easy viewing.  It is recommended that you stay in your vehicle so not to scare them or in the case of bison, starting a stampede!  We also saw Antelope, Elk, Bull Deer, and Prairie Dogs. Even Mountain Goats at Mt. Rushmore! So wonderful to see them in their natural environment.

After our drive through 16A, We went to Mt. Rushmore.  Admission is free, parking is not however. It was $5 for our friends’ vehicle since he is a senior, $10 normally. Unfortunately, the cloud covering the monument didn’t lift. The elevation is at 4528 ft. and we had a low cloud deck all day. This is what we saw. disappointed, we left.

We then went to the Crazyhorse Memorial.  It is about 1/2 hour away from Rushmore. This is a carving of Chief Crazy Horse  that was begun by Korczak Ziolkowski after 1947 and continued until his death on Oct. 20, 1982.  The weather was very different there, the cloud was clearing and we had sunshine!

A close up of the memorial.

You can make a day of it here. It costs $28 for a carload. The have a large museum that we explored. Also the Laughing Waters Restaurant, we enjoyed dinner here, the windows give you a great view of the monument while you are eating. The food was delicious and we hope to be back in 2018.

We all had a great day exploring the Black Hills. We hope to see more on our return visit and go back to Crazy Horse for one of their special events in the summer. As for Mt. Rushmore, we returned early the next morning and were blessed with sunny skies!

Aladdin, Wyoming-A Coal Mining History and Custer


4-27-17

Aladdin, Wyoming has only 15 residents currently,  up to 500 when coal mining was done here. It has a charming General Store.  This tiny town is also for sale for $1,500,000. We stopped by the store, it attracts people from all over.

We also paid a visit to the nearby Coal Tipple. a structure built to assist in the mining.  It was built in the late 1800’s. After parking in the lot, we walked up the path leading to the top.

Plaque near entrance.

The tipple is on your left. We could hear some people talking at the top and we went up to investigate.

Almost to the top. This is where the fan housing was,this is on our left.

It turns out we happened upon a meeting by the Crook County Historical Society.  We met local historian and author Pam Thompson, also Treasurer Rodney R. Knudson and a couple of engineers.

The were discussing whether the tipple should be restored or torn down.  It was becoming unstable and if anyone tried to climb it, it could cause injury.  The fence around it is easily scalable by someone who wanted to get in. They were happy to talk to us fellow history fans from two states away and I recorded a message they had to our readers.

Pam wrote two books on the area,

Around Aladdin

 Sundance   co-author Rocky Courchaine.

It was a pleasure meeting all of them and we hope the coal tipple can be saved. The view at the top was great!

Behind us was a coal car and Hoist House building.

Other signs there.

 

Not far from here is the spot where the Custer Expedition was. We went to see the marker.

The picture in the sign.

Our visit to Aladdin was short but very educational.  Well worth the stop if you are in the area.