Beginning our trip east
Since it was still snowing all throughout Yellowstone National Park, we decided to drive the larger highway out around Yellowstone, up through Bozeman, Montana and then hang a right and start heading east. The drive was really pretty, even when it was snowing and all the roads were plowed really well.
It seemed as if we were driving forever and it’s really hard to make plans when you don’t actually know where you want to end up for the day.
We knew we wouldn’t make it all the way to Mount Rushmore, so we decided to reserve a spot for the night at Chris’ Campground in Spearfish, South Dakota.
The woman at the front desk was really nice and we had a great conversation talking about our kids in college. We ended up parking on top of a hill with no one else around. It was a great little pull-through spot.
Mount Rushmore National Monument
We ended up leaving early the next morning bound for one of the top attractions of the United States. We drove through the small town of Deadwood, South Dakota and wished we could have stopped a little longer. It’s a really pretty little town and it seemed as if there was a lot to do.
We finally made it up the crazy winding roads to Mount Rushmore and ended up in a small line of traffic to get into the parking area. We have an annual National Parks Pass (we strongly recommend it) and usually entry is free with the pass, however, Mount Rushmore got around this, by using the loophole that another (private company) built the parking structure and area, so we had to pay $10 for our RV. It was worth it, since we only had to walk a hundred yards and we were in the entrance.
Melissa and I decided to do our first Facebook Live video and it was pretty fun. It was great to have good cell coverage in the middle of the mountains.
We marveled at the presidential carvings in the side of the mountain and how timeless they seemed. In order to get a better scope of what we were looking at, we visited the museum on the lower level and really enjoyed ourselves. The museum covered a lot of topics revolving around the mountain, the presidents and the people who worked to make the monument a reality.
I really enjoyed the quotes from each President. One spoke to me, as we travel our wonderful country.
There is really only so much you can do at Mount Rushmore (especially since all the trails were closed – it wasn’t peak season yet), so we decided to head over to see Crazy Horse, which is about a 20 minute drive away.
As we pulled up to the entrance to the Crazy Horse mountain, we could tell immediately that the size of this monument was immense. We paid our entrance fee and drove our RV to the parking area. The parking attendant gave us a two little tickets, that we left in the rig, and I had to run back to get them to actually get into the museum area. It was worth it. The museum is huge! As you walk through, you think you’re at the end and then you go through another doorway and it keeps going… and going. There is an immense amount of local history, American Indian history, early Americana and so much more. We also opted to watch the movie that covers the history and making of the Crazy Horse monument.
Eventually, we paid a little extra and took the bus tour down to the base of the mountain where the monument is all encompassing. The guide gives you even a more in-depth history as you walk around the tailings of the blown up mountain. Melissa even got some beautiful memento pieces of granite rock with flecks of quartz.
It was an incredible day and again, since we were on a timeline, we needed to begin heading east again. Next stop, the Badlands!
Video coming soon!