Today was the day when I checked seeing Mt. Rushmore off my list. I've already been to the Grand Canyon, so I've been to the biggest natural attraction and the biggest manmade attraction. I'm sure there's a lot of other stuff to see, but those were the big ones. The one I really want to check off next is going to the Pacific Ocean so I can say I've been from sea to shining sea.
And now here's the story of how I got my picture taken at Mt. Rushmore. This old couple here:
kept trying to take their picture with the mountain, but of course it wasn't working out. So finally I asked if they'd like me to take their picture. Which they did, so I did. Then fair being fair, they took my picture, twice.
And then the people behind us asked if I could take their picture too, at which point I should have started charging. Really why is there not someone on staff there to do that? You'd make a killing! Or just have a ledge where you could put your camera and set the timer. So there you go, the photographic proof that I was there--unless I Photoshopped it all, right?
Here are the rest of the pictures of the mountain:
My initial reaction was like Homer Simpson when he first gets a can of Foster's beer in Australia. "It's kind of big. I guess." Really when you see the monument on TV or in books it's always zoomed in, so when I actually saw it in person I realized that it only takes up a portion of the mountain. Of course if you were hanging from one of those trapezes like they used to carve it, it'd look a lot bigger. Incidentally, my reaction about the Grand Canyon was the exact opposite; it seemed so impossibly huge that even standing on the edge it seemed like I was looking into a green screen or matte painting.
Of course there's not just the mountain there. You have a lot of trees and hills and stuff too. I managed to walk the nature trail from the sculptor's studio near the base of the mountain up to the parking lot without dying of exhaustion or anything, so that was a plus.
I didn't see the Crazy Horse thing. I'm not sure where that is and by the time I read people mentioning it I was back in Rapid City. I spent the second half of the day writing at Starbucks and Arby's and running some errands.
One thing I don't understand is why motels in South Dakota have red lights in the bathroom. Both the motel in Mitchell and in Rapid City did that. Maybe so you can develop photographs? Or pretend you're on the bridge of the Enterprise during a red alert?
The next few days are going to be a lot of hard travel to get from here to the coast. What's really annoying is between Spokane and Seattle in Washington there's basically nothing on I-90, just some little towns, so that'll make things interesting. I might have to go into radio silence that day.