We drove into South Dakota yesterday (9th) and it looked like Wyoming. I keep thinking we're in Colorado...what's up with that? Anyway, the weather was perfect, a little warmer than we're used to, but it's good for us to get reacclimated before we head east for good.
I wanted to head through Deadwood because of the history associated with it, and so we did. There's still history, but you have to look for it nearly submerged under casinos and gift shops. It would be a neat town to stroll through, but we were on a mission to get to camp. Hill City is another quaint little town, lots of shops and the tourism industry is obviously the driving force behind the economy. Still, lots to look at and plenty of people out and about.
Got to camp, the Rafter J Bar, and were pleased to see how clean and well run it is. Lots of campers but not jammed in like some campgrounds do it. We hurriedly set up camp, realized that instead of having no electricity, we have power in the outlets, just no overhead lights. So, things are improving, but we're still ticked off at WY roads for shaking our camper to destruction.
Left camp and went to Mt. Rushmore where we had to pay to park. The park is free but he parking garage isn't. Gotta make money somehow. We were directed to park on the top because of the pod we carry on top and John kept saying how he didn't want to because a storm was brewing. I am a rule follower to a fault so I insisted that we park on top as directed. I was to regret my suggestions and I remembered all the lessons in BSF about wives submitting to our husbands. I remembered them too late.
The park is beautiful and very patriotic with lots of flags of the states, great views of the presidents and giftshops. We were, at first, a little underwhelmed at the size of the sculptures, but as with all things out here, distances and sizes are misleading because everything is so huge.
We had dinner at the Carver Cafe, another overpriced National Park restaurant, and went out to tour around. No sooner had we stepped out than lighting appeard over the prezzes and we went scurrying off to the giftshop. Then the fun really started when crazy hail began to rain down and all I could think about was the van parked on the top level of the parking deck. I was miserable, but John was philosophical. His theory was that the van is the car I drive, so the dents would be mine.
Rain finally ended, and we went to watch the evening show. Ice cream first, then off to the amphitheater where a stiff wind was blowing making everyone miserable. John trotted back to the car for jackets and a blanket and we were cozy for the patriotic ending of the day. The most touching part for me was the lowering of the flag because all servicemen/women both retired and active were called to the stage for recognition and the standing ovation for them was beautiful. It went on and on. Finally, the flag was lowered, folded and saluted and the people filed out. We stopped a little out of the park for a lit view of George Washington's profile and then back to camp to sleep.
A great first day in SD!