AUG 31 2021    
Mount Rushmore
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Mount Rushmore

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2020 was the year that COVID-19 hit our nation. Since Neale’s AU International Travel Study was canceled, we decided to take advantage of the time together and take a summer RV trip. Our first destination was the Mount Rushmore National Monument in South Dakota. We left home on June 27, 2020 and arrived at the Mount Rushmore KOA Resort at Palmer Gulch the night of June 28th.  On June 29th, we ventured to visit the Mount Rushmore National Monument.  I was excited about seeing it firsthand, as I was the only one of the four of us that had never seen it.  Having lived in Georgia for many years, we knew that the sculptor of Mount Rushmore had abandoned the project at Stone Mountain Park, which was left to another sculptor to scrape off and start over.  So, after seeing Stone Mountain so many times, I was intrigued and ready to see Mount Rushmore, in comparison to the Stone Mountain carving.

When we arrived at the Mount Rushmore, we discovered that it was under a massive restoration project, so we were limited to how close we could get to the sculpture.  It was very crowded and most everyone was wearing masks.  We took the opportunity to visit one of the park ranger sessions to learn more about the park’s history.  He talked about the four presidents that are carved into the massive granite rock and why those presidents were chosen by the artist, Gutzon Borglum.  He chose them because they were four presidents that represented some of the most important events in the United States (Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln).  The Black Hills area, where Mount Rushmore is located, was (and still is) considered sacred land by the Lakota (a.k.a. Teton Sioux).  After listening to the history session, we did some light hiking, took some photos, and then planned to head to Custer State Park.

President Trump was expected to arrive to the area for a large 4th of July celebration, so we planned to leave town prior to his arrival.  We were being cautious and wanted to clear the area before the really big crowds were there.  The Park was planning a large patriotic fireworks display.  There were a lot of planes flying over the area, police and security detail were prevalent, and they were closing roads in anticipation of the large crowds.  Upon leaving the Mount Rushmore area, we planned to head to Devil’s Tower to spend 4th of July there.

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