Sunday, August 13, 2006

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Another very hot day was forecast for Friday, so decided to get out early and do some sightseeing before it got too hot. Headed for Mount Rushmore, which is about 20 miles west of my campsite, and got there for opening time at 8am. The whole site is really tastefully done with a discrete underground car park and all the souvenir shops and visitor centre tucked almost out of sight as you walk up the granite paved entrance decorated with granite pillars flying the state flags. I was initially disappointed with the monument. It wasn't as imposing as I'd expected. However, I took the 1.5 mile "Presidents Trail" to the foot of the monument and got a much better impression of the grand scale of the whole thing. An exhibition at the sculptor's studio showed a plaster model of how the monument was intented to look and the left hand figure(Washington) was originally intended to be shown to waist level. If you look closely you can see the outline of his jacket lapels.

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By luck or good judgement the sun was in just the right place in the early morning for good photographs.

Left Rushmore and headed for the Custer State Park in hope of seeing the many thousands of North American buffalo that roam free in the park. The route to Custer takes you up into the Black Hills National Forest along a twisting turning narrow road called Iron Mountain Road. Great fun on a motorbike. The smell of the ponderosa pines was wonderful. The hills are covered in pine trees whcih is the derivation of the name "Black Hills" although strictly speaking it ought to be the Dark Green Hills, but that just doesn't have the same ring to it. Along the way the road cuts through the hills in several short narrow tunnels and each tunnel has been carefully orientated so that as you look through you see Mount Rushmore in the distance framed by the tunnel entrance. Rode through Custer State Park without seeing a single buffalo! Will try again tomorrow.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely Lovely Keep the peddle to the medal! Gulliver Cheerio or TaTa till the next blog

6:45 pm  
Anonymous Roger Dodger said...

Cloke Bloke
Finally back on the left coast and hooked up to the internet after 14 days. Great site, white on black & lay out are 'D'esigner approved, my man. Photos and comments are just right. Sign me up for a small group ride - there or here. Keep the shiny side up!

6:05 am  

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