Ooooh we! What a wild and crazy ride we had today! First up was that old American favorite, Mount Rushmore with those 4 wild and crazy presidents on the hill. And to think that, after hearing how small Mt. Rushmore is compared to everyone’s expectations, and me expecting something that would basically fit into a shake-up snow globe, I would be blown away by how freaking HUGE these guys are – well, it was pretty spectacular. Especially considering that there weren’t ANY billboards advertising Mt. Rushmore all the way across the plains. Am I babbling? I feel like I’m babbling. (must be the Bloody Mary I had at dinner. 3 olives!)
Ken, inspired by the sight, strikes a Presidential pose for posterity
Next, we motored on over to the Crazy Horse monument. OK. It’s not done. And when you realize that they’ve been working on this behemouth since 1947 and all they have done is Crazy Horse’s face, it’s apparent that we will never, in our lifetime, see the completion of this 8th wonder of the man-made world. It’s possible that only alien life forms will be able to finish this thing. It’s a pretty ambitious project. Maybe it should be called Mt. Crazy Idea. The admission fee was $20.00, and I think they’ve used most of the money collected over the past 60 years to build the visitor’s center – which is frickin’ huge and real expensive-looking.
Observant, demonstrating how the Crazy Horse monument will look after it’s completed in the year 3007.
Last, but not least, we took a leisurely drive through Custer State Park. The folks around here are practically eaten up with Custer-worship. We also ate lunch in a town called Custer. You’d think there’d be some embarrassment about Custer and his spectacular defeat at the hands of the Indians, but nooooo. He’s a freaking icon here. Go figure. Anyway, we did the “wildlife loop” where you’re supposed to see all kinds of cool animals like elk and bison. We did see a prairie dog (one), but you can see those in Kansas, for cryin’ out loud. In fact, there’s a whole goddam prairie dog town in the middle of Dodge City, so seeing a prairie dog in S.Dakota was no biggie for us. We drove for miles and miles, keeping our eyes peeled for the legendary herds of bison that are supposed to roam through the park and saw nothing, not even a bird, for the longest time. Figuring it must be an off day for the wildlife, we had almost given up when what to our glimmering eye shoud appear?? “Tatanka!” shouted Ken, pointing up ahead. “Where? Where tatanka?” I said, in my best imitation of Stands With Fist from Dances w/Wolves. “There! On the road!” And by god, there it was. Tatanka. Big hairy tatanka. Strutting down the side of the road. Me and every other tourist in the area, with a camera, simultaneously pointed and clicked for our souviner shot of a gen-u-ine bison. Later, Ken and I speculated that the herd probably sends out one decoy bison from the herd each day to distract the tourists, so the rest of them can be left the hell alone. This is what I’d do if I was part of a herd of bison, wouldn’t you?
Tomorrow: Spearfish Canyon, fish hatchery (what the hell, why not?), Deadwood.