Ice Cream with the Presidents

Trip Start Aug 10, 2007
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7
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Trip End Oct 21, 2007


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Where I stayed

Flag of United States  , South Dakota
Friday, August 17, 2007

Arriving in the late afternoon, we were all set to see some presidents...the weather was absolutely perfect for viewing these fine gents and eating some ice cream.  :) 

They have completely updated the premises, since the last time I was here- about 20 years ago.  The vistors center is very nice, with cafes, the "artists workshop"- with the, to scale, sculpture that started it all, and updated movie houses- to watch their informational videos about how it all went down.

We didnīt have a whole lot of time, since we still had to make our way to Denver tonight, but we wanted to take a little walk around...so we caught up to a guided tour and listened in.  The park ranger had very interesting information about the sculpting process and why each of the 4 were chosen to be on the mountain- he felt that these 4 demonstrated various virtues that the United States was proud to be born of...we also learned that no one died during the process of the sculpting, although near the end of the process, they had a skyway incident and 4 people were injured then.  Pretty good record for the amount of dynamite used, the close proximity they were to the blasts, and the height the workers were chiseling at...

(Walking through the paths, I had a big sense memory moment...the smell of the hot, dusty pine forest brought back memories of my summer camp days at The Flying Horseshoe Ranch, in Ellensburg, WA.  Nestled in the Teanaway Valley, my brothers and I spent about a month there, each summer...thatīs where I learned how to ride horses- rising up through the various levels of horsemanship, eventually going back to become a counselor.  Ahhhh...makes me wish we could saddle up and finish the rest of the trail on horseback.)

The whole scene is pretty amazing...it never was completed to the artists design, though.  He had grandiose ideas- wanted to build Ļa "Hall of Records", in a tunnel behind Jeffersonīs head.  He dreamed of storing all of the USīs big documents there: Constitution, Declaration of Independance, etc....along with a long speech about what this mountain is about and what these men meant to the formation of the US....for all future generations who come upon the monument and wonder about it- maybe like what the Mayan ruins are like to us now... well... the government did a little surprise check-in with him one day and found out that he was using the money that was alloted to finish President Jeffersonīs hand and jacket, to build a "nonsensical cave", behind his head...they pulled the plug on the whole project.  The cave is still there, unfinished- they did a little dedication ceremony and put a time capsule in a steel vault there, so if those future generations do stumble upon it, they will have the explanation that the artists wanted them to have.

Anyways...we finished up at Mt. Rushmore then we were off to visit Benīs friends, Neil and Sarah in Denver, CO....itīs gonna be a late night.  :)
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