We left Wall, SD on Thursday morning really early to beat the predicted high winds. That didn’t work; the winds followed us and made the drive here a little unpleasant. After we got set up at the campground we headed off to see Mt. Rushmore. The winds had died down so it turned out a great day to visit the monument. It looked exactly like all of the pictures I had ever seen so it wasn’t much of a surprise. What was a surprise was the National Park there. There is a large amphitheater at the bottom of the mountain, a museum, a gift shop, a snack bar and a restaurant. Also in front of the mountain is a walkway displaying the flags of all the United States. There is even a parking ramp to accommodate the thousands of visitors that come there daily. On Friday we went to see the Crazy Horse Monument that is only a few miles from Mt. Rushmore. The Crazy Horse Monument has been in progress for over 60 years. In the 1940’s the Lakota Indians commissioned an artist, someone who had worked on Mt. Rushmore, to carve a monument to Crazy Horse to overlook the Black Hills. The artist worked on the monument for over 30 years and after his death his wife and 7 of his 10 children continue his work. So far only the head of Crazy Horse is done. When the monument is complete it will be much larger than the carvings at Mt. Rushmore. You can see be the picture with the scale model in the foreground that there is still a long way to go.
We are staying at the Custer’s Gulch Campground in Custer, SD. Custer’s Gulch Campground and the town of Custer got their name because it was the site of the 1874 encampment of Custer’s troops on their way to the battle of Little Big Horn. It is a really nice campground, far from the highway, with no traffic or train noise. Just a couple minor problems, no cell service and although some people in the campground are able to receive two TV channels, we aren’t able to receive any. The wi-fi is excellent so at least there is that. I wasn’t sure I would be able to live without TV for a week but so far it hasn’t been that bad, we have watched a half a dozen DVD’s and listen to satellite radio the rest of the time we are here at the campground. Most of the time we have been off checking out the Black Hills attractions.
Custer State Park is just down the road from the campground so on Saturday we took a drive through the park and got a close up view of some of the wildlife.