By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 7/17/2019
Occurred: 8/19/2004
Topics/Keywords: #BlackHills #Cheyenne #MountRushmore #Sundance #Wyoming Page Views: 1872
All about the third day of the trip Michael and I took Mom on to the last of the'48 states' she hadn't yet visited.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Day 3 Mom and me at a Wyoming rest area.

The morning dawned bright and beautifully, or so I assume, since the sun shone in a blue sky when we awoke at ten.

Today's plan was to drive to Sundance, Wyoming, with a stop at Mt. Rushmore National Monument—which would satisfy the trip requirement of visiting South Dakota. Again, this depended on getting an early start. Again, there were things we absolutely had to buy; so another Wal-Mart was located and, again, we didn't get on the road until after 1 pm.

Mom second-guesses the route.

About this time we re-arranged the car so that Michael or I could stretch out in the back while the other drove. That put Mom in the front seat, where, armed with the overview map of the trip, she was able to second-guess the route.

We arrived at Mount Rushmore National Monument around 7:30 in the evening. Fortunately, the sun had not yet set at that latitude. The monument is surrounded by the natural beauty of the Black Hills of South Dakota, and we made several stops at scenic areas where people were swimming, fishing, and hiking.

George Washington's Head First sight of Mount Rushmore

At one of these turn-offs, I spotted Michael waving frantically and pointing into the sky.

"What?" I asked.

"Look!" he shouted back.

"What?" I repeated. It took me several tries to spot what had been right in front of me: The giant head of George Washington. It was hard to spot because it looked so different, from this angle, than the view of Mount Rushmore to which we have become accustomed.

Although it is a National Monument, and our Parks Pass should have gotten us in at no additional charge, Mount Rushmore has turned the parking franchise over to a private concern, which charges $8 per car for the privilege of spending time at the Presidential Memorial and visiting the museums. I did not see any evidence of a Park Service shuttle; so Mount Rushmore is now effectively a private tourist attraction.

Nevertheless, it's an impressive one. If we'd been able to stay longer, we could have viewed the Illumination Ceremony (Illuminati Ceremony?) at 9 pm. However, anxious that we would arrived late again at our next motel, Mom urged us to continue on.

I got another couple of photos and then we continued to Sundance, Wyoming, where we awakened the proprietor at 12:30 am.