South Dakota: The Mount Rushmore State

Published: June 7th 2014
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We have now spent three days in this beautiful state .It is interesting that its nickname highlights the monument to the four presidents, when, in fact, for me, the other attractions are more memorable. The Black Hills of South Dakota are filled with sights to see and things to do. We were able to see the major tourist spots but, again, to see everything worthwhile, it takes more than a couple of days.

Bill and I decided to stay in Deadwood, which is just a few miles from most of the attractions such as Spearfish Canyon, the Presidents Monument and Crazy Horse. Unfortunately, the weather the first day was not great and our trip to see Mount Rushmore was hampered by the fog. We were unable to see the mountain clearly. However, we made the most of it and toured a museum dedicated to Borglum, the sculptor of the Presidents (faces of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Thomas Jefferson. We returned the next day and had a wonderful view.

If you have ever travelled across the US, you will notice that some states are all “white” meaning that it is rare to see a person of colour. And South Dakota is certainly one of them. The state has a large population of native peoples but unless you go on a reserve, you do not see many native people out and about. I am stating this fact because when we were in the museum dedicated to the development of the Four Presidents monument; I noticed something that really bothered me. On one wall there are drawings of each president, beginning from George Washington to Barack Obama. These drawings were all done by one author however, when you get to Obama’s picture, it is a photograph. And so being me, I asked one of the curators and was told that the reason Obama is portrayed by a photo and not a drawing is because the artist died. It occurred to me that surely they could find another artist to do a depiction of Obama that matches the rest of the wall. Just saying............

The sculpture of Crazy Horse was fascinating. Most likely this is because of the story that goes along with the “dream” of the artist, a gentleman named Korczak Ziolkowski, who was commissioned by the Lakota Tribe back in 1948 to create a monument to honor the native people. The belief was that not only white men have heroes (the four presidents ‘monument but so do the Lakotas) and so it began. To this day, the project is totally supported by donations and is not government funded. To date, the only completed part of the sculpture is Crazy Horse’s head and work is being done on the horse. On the first day we were there, they were actually dynamiting the horse’s nose! The Ziolkowski family still owns and continues to develop the monument, with no date set for completion.

After two days in Deadwood, we left to begin our trek through the Badlands. If you want to see nature in its most beautiful and undisturbed state, this is the place to go. I wish the pictures showed what you truly experience as you drive and stop at the various points along the way. These images will stay with me forever.

We spent our last night in a small town just outside the Badlands and continued our drive east early the next day. We stopped for “barbecue” as the Americans call it, which was delicious (not on any weight watchers menu) and once we reached Iowa, we proceeded to drive down the state highway I-29 south through Iowa and this is where we encountered a tornado. The tornado hit an area just outside Sioux Falls City. It was travelling south at 10 miles per hour to the east of us and we were travelling south at 80 miles an hour. I think Bill thought he was a “storm chaser”. I am sorry I did not take any pictures of the black, swirling, angry looking funnel, but it is hard to take pictures when you are hiding under a blanket!

We actually beat the storm and decided to come to Missouri instead of staying in Iowa. So here we are in “Kansas City, Kansas city here I come, they got a crazy way of loving there...............”

Our kids are wondering if we are ever coming home and yes, it is time to start thinking about heading back to Canada. Til next time......................

Additional photos below
Photos: 31, Displayed: 25


spearfish canyonspearfish canyon
spearfish canyon

the drive through spearfish is from the bottom of the canyon
Spearfish Canyon Spearfish Canyon
Spearfish Canyon

on e of the many cabins in the area

8th June 2014

The Badlands
that's some lovely country out there. love the red rocks

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