Monday, August 5, 2013

Vacation 2013~Day One/ Mount Rushmore

 South Dakota
  • Did you know South Dakota's state insect is the honey bee?  Honey is the only food that does not spoil and was found in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs and has been found edible.
  • Did you know the USS South Dakota was the most decorated battleship during World War II?
  • Did you know there is more shoreline in South Dakota than in California? 
  • Did you know one of Keystone's claims to fame is that Carrie Ingles of Little House on the Prairie, lived here most of her adult life?
  • Did you know the Black Hill started forming approximately 83 million years ago?  If natural erosion never took place on the Black his they would be 14, 000 feet in elevation.  Today, the Badlands are the remains of the Black Hills' erosion.

Keystone was founded in 1891 with the discovery of gold-bearing quartz at the present location of the Keystone Mine, which was closed down in1903 due to several deaths in the mine.  Today Keystone's major tourist attraction is Mount Rushmore.  There are several different attractions in Keystone as well, however due to our time restriction for the day and wanting to get in the Crazy Horse Monument as well we only went to Mount Rushmore on our first day in South Dakota.

Mount Rushmore facts:
  • Each face is 60 feet tall
  • Each eye is 11 feet wide.  
  • Washington’s nose is 21 feet long all other noses are 20 feet long. 
  • The Sculptor is Gutzon Borglum: the four presidents on the mountain represented important moments in American history.  He wanted a Hall of Records behind the faces to store important documents like the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  A  special place to share American history.  Hall of Records Began in 1938 but the US government did not approve funding for this addition, workers were only able to care a doorway and a small hallway before Congress stopped the Hall of Records project.  His daughter, Mary Ellis Borglum Vhay was determined to find a way to fulfill her father’s dream in some way.  In 1998, she and a team buried a teakwood box in a vault at the entrance of the Hall.  The box has 16 porcelain panels, bearing the words of the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights as well as biographies of the presidents and information on how and why Mount Rushmore was cared.  At this time, the only way visitors can view this is by virtual tour at
  • Carving dates 1927 to 1941
  • Number of workers: 400
  • Total cost $989,992.32
  •  Why these four Presidents were chosen:
    • George Washington: Birth:  first president.
    • Thomas Jefferson: Expansion: Louisiana purchase  
    • Theodore Roosevelt: Development: Panama Canal,Trust Buster, and National Parks  
    • Abraham Lincoln: Preservation: saved the union during the civil war.  
Selecting President Lincoln was the most controversial because the failure of Stone Mountain.  Roosevelt was the most ridiculed.   Originally Jefferson's head was to be on the left of Washington, however someone poorly placed a dynamite in the wrong spot which sloped the forehead beyond repair, so Borglum had the entire head blown off the mountain.  This forced Roosevelt's head to be further back.  A hidden fault created the head to be placed even further back. 

Pine Beetle Infestation- Black Hill of SD.  Once infested the tree will die slowly.  To protect the forest, staff at Mount Rushmore embarked on an extensive thinning program to return the forest to a more sustainable condition. It was very sad to see so many Black Hill Spruce down like this, so very sad.

Once we parked we walked up the steps to Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
 The Avenue of Flags leads the Concession Building to the Grand Terrace.
 I loved walking through this area.  The flags of 56 states and territories lined the walk way.

 Each flag's column has the name of the state or territory and when they became part of the United States.
Continue on you then enter the Grand View Terrace.  Below the terrace is an amphitheater where visitors can sit and view the National Monument and at night they place lights on the National Monument as well.  There is also Presidential Trail where visitors can walk and become closer to the mountain and to the Lakota, Nakota, and Dakota Heritage Village.

Shortly after I took the picture below, I told everyone my idea for my fun picture of the guys posing as Mount Rushmore.  If you have not seen it yet, you can by clicking here
Do you see my two clowns?  These two always love to show off and make people laugh.  We had someone take a picture of all of us, but they cut out the faces of the mountain entirely.  I loved watching and listening to the kids.  They were in awe of the National Monument and the size of it all.  Once we headed back to the parking area I saw this very interesting tree.  I love nature, so you will see some pictures every now and then.
 After leaving the car, we had to drive around the mountain and there is a scenic view area where people can pull over to take a picture of George Washington's profile.  It was beautiful then...
...We had to drive down the mountain and I was so scared.  I mean I was white knuckling the passenger's door and kept reminding Todd the speed limit.  Our next stop was Crazy Horse Monument.  Oh, one last picture of my clown.  He wanted this pose to look like he was picking George's nose, but I was too close.

Vacation 2013~Day One/Mt Rushmore
Vacation 2013~Day One/Crazy Horse
Vacation 2013~Day Two/The Drive to Cody, Wyoming
Vacation 2013~Day Three/The Drive To/And Yellowstone National Park
Vacation 2013~Day Three/Yellowstone National Park Old Faithful
Vacation 2013~Day Three/Grand Canyon of Yellowstone Park/ Back to Cody
Vacation 2013~Day Four/Cody, Wyoming
Vacation 2013~Day Five/The Drive to Custer, South Dakota
Vacation 2013~Day Five/Big Horn National Park
Vacation 2013~Day Six/Our Last Day Of Vacation



  1. Wow, I love this educational post! It brings out the teacher in me! :D
    I had no idea about the shoreline....How is that possible?
    I had no idea you could see Mt. Rushmore from the highway!
    Your photography is fantastic. :D Thanks for putting this post together for us. I'm going to read it again!


  2. I haven't traveled out west. Makes me want to now that I am retired.


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