Monday, June 24, 2013

Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse and Deadwood, SD

Yesterday morning we left Cheyenne about 9 a.m. and drove 300 miles to Keystone, South Dakota -- the town nearest to Mt. Rushmore.  Then we set up our campsite, visited  Crazy Horse Memorial about 20 miles away and then visited Mt. Rushmore.   I don’t like doing that much in one day. And I wasn't  even driving, except to the monuments.  But other than this northern detour so Jim could see Mt. Rushmore, the aim of this leg of our travels is to get to Ohio as quickly as we can.  So we’ll be squeezing in a lot of miles plus the sites along the way.

Today we visited Deadwood, SD, about 50 miles north of Keystone.  Deadwood is known for Wild Bill Hickok (who lived there only one month before he was shot in the back and killed), the Gold Rush (when the population boomed to 5,000 people; today only about 1,200 people live in Deadwood full time) and for formerly being a rowdy mining town.  Today it’s a tourist/gambling village located in a very picturesque gulch.  Although using the words “picturesque” and “gulch” in the same sentence seem a little odd.

Mt. Rushmore’s George Washington, as seen from a viewpoint outside the park with help from my new telephoto lens.
The four  Mt. Rushmore guys as seen from the “Presidential walk," a path that takes you a little closer to the monument.  The monument was started in 1927 by Danish American sculptor Gutzon Borglum and his son, Lincoln Borglum.  The heads are 60 feet high and were completed in 1941.
A 1/34 sculpture of Lakota warrior Crazy Horse with the actual but still-in-progress monument in the background.   The story of this monument is amazing:  Korczak Ziolkowskiwho worked under Mt. Rushmore sculptor Borglum, was asked by the Lakota Indians to create a monument for Native American tribes.  While working on it, Ziolkowski married and had ten children who eventually helped their father.  Ziolkowski died in 1982, and his widow, seven of his kids, and now his grandchildren are still involved in the blasting and sculpting.  No federal funds are involved with the monument, which will be 641 feet high. When finished, the site is to include a Native American Educational/Cultural Center and a satellite campus of the University of South Dakota. 
Deadwood's County Courthouse.
Deadwood’s Adams museum.
Another cool building in Deadwood.  A large section of the city was destroyed by fire in 1879; new buildings were made of brick.

Our campsite at Kemp’s Kamp in Keystone, SD is very close to the road.  Despite that, it's very quiet.
Another view of our campsite in Keystone.  We have a beautiful view behind us and are right next to a stream.  About 11 years ago, Ash, Shad, Paul and I  took a trip to Mt. Rushmore in a rental RV.  We stayed at a campground on the same road as where Jim and I are right now.
Jim with Seth Bullock and Al Swearengen, two characters from a recent TV show called Deadwood and loosely based on the actual rough and tumble western city.  Bullock really existed and became sheriff after Wild Bill Hickok was killed.   The cardboard cutouts were at a restaurant called Deadwood Dicks, where we had a good lunch.

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