Or so they say. Today we drove through 3 different states, starting our day in Wyoming, touring a bit of the Black Hills of South Dakota, and finishing our day in North Dakota. If I wasn’t so lazy I could have made it a 4 state day, as we’re only about 25 miles from Montana, but maybe we’ll tackle that tomorrow.
We started our day bright and early but as we were packing up the trailer it started to rain a bit. Before we departed Lusk, I decided to top off the fuel tank, as we were heading into rather unpopulated territory, and the lady who owns the RV park warned us that there were reports of bad fuel at one of the only stops on our selected route. Things started out fine, but by the time I got our tank full it was starting to rain heavily and lightning was flashing all around us.
By the time I paid for the fuel I was soaked, so we pulled into the back lot of the station and decided to wait out the storm as we figured it wouldn’t last long. Well, over the next 30 minutes or so we watched a world class lightning storm crash all around us. This included several minutes of pea sized hail, so heavy that it started to fill in the area where our windshield wipers sit under the back of the hood. For a while we could hardly see across the street, so I figured that driving was out of the question. By the time we could see properly, the parking lot was a muddy lake, and the shoulders of the roadway had about 6 inches of water running down the gutter. We finally figured if we didn’t get started we’d never get anywhere, and off we went.
We had spent some time the previous night going over the maps to determine our route for the day. One option we had was to tick another item off our bucket list and visit Mt Rushmore. As we were so close, we thought we’d better try even though the weather was really not good. We drove through several more heavy rains, which slowed us up a bit, but by the time we drove up the last little parkway to see the Presidents, it was actually starting to lighten up a bit. The presidents still looked like they were sweating though.
Despite the weather, the place was packed with tourists wearing all sorts of raingear. The gift shop, museum and theater were packed with people trying to get out of the rain, including us. The work on the faces was completed over 14 years from 1927 to 1941. The plans began in the early 20’s when the country was flush with cash and optimism, and managed to continue through the Great Depression which must have been difficult for the government to fund. The original plans included several more mountain tops and spires being carved into historical figures, but those projects have never been tackled.
Thomas Jefferson was originally supposed to be to the left of George Washington, but as they progressed with the work they found the granite too fractured so his bust was eventually blasted off the mountain and work was began to put him behind Washington. Do you think they can find a spot for Sylvia up there?
What with the storm delay, the side trip to Rushmore and the slow drive through the various towns in the Black Hills area we ended up not making great time today so we put in a long day and didn’t stop until after 6 in Medora ND. We should be in Regina by mid afternoon tomorrow to visit friends, and if we can’t get an RV site there we’ll be planted in my Aunt’s front yard in Moose Jaw for a couple of days.
Oh, have we mentioned that we miss Colorado? It is nothing but FLAT here.
We are on the edge of Theodore Roosevelt National Park though, and the Badlands it contains do look interesting. Hopefully we’ll be able to get some decent pictures of it tomorrow.