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Day #8: Black Hills, SD

We spent the day exploring three sights in the Black Hills of South Dakota: Mt. Rushmore National Memorial, Crazy Horse Memorial, and Wind Cave National Park. 

I found driving through the Black Hills enjoyable and surprisingly picturesque (not really knowing what to expect). This is a fairly typical view:

Our first stop was Mt. Rushmore. It had far too many Trump supporters. And, overall: meh… like most major yet familiar sights, I’m left somewhere south of whelmed. I’m glad to have seen it, but I don’t have to go back. 

Our next stop was the Crazy Horse Memorial. I hadn’t even planned to come here until it was suggested by Libby before we left. But, I’m glad that we visited the site. To me, it’s far more appropriate in the Black Hills (a land sacred to the native people) than Mt. Rushmore as an icon to our (white) chiefs of the “commander-in” variety. I also found the personal story of the sculptor and his family far more inspiring. Plus, it’s a work-in-progress. Thus, I’d like to return here and (hopefully) see it done one day. 

After grabbing lunch at Crazy Horse, we drove down to Wind Cave NP, which is famous for its windy caves (surprise! –caused by the air pressure variation between inside the cave and the outside atmosphere) and boxwork (think uneven “brickwork” in which the brick has melted away leaving paper-thin mortar patterns). Here’s a view of the boxwork:

After Wind Cave NP, we drove go Wall, SD. We’re staying in a Best Western (again, a surprisingly good motel). We ate dinner at one of the few restaurants in town (Badlands Saloon & Grill — also exceeded expectations) and then visted the famous yet enjoyable tourist-trap (what else can you really call it?) Wall Drugs. 

Tomorrow, we’re visiting Badlands NP before we make the extended drive across South Dakota to reach Iowa (really the only significant driving we’re doing just to “get a state” for no other meaningful purpose). 

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