Day 70 – Yabba Yabba Doo!

Today’s exciting walk begins in Custer, SD. A town I last visited when I was about 9-years old. My memory consisted of walking into my uncle’s house, how BIG Mt. Rushmore was, and Flintstone’s Bedrock City. No matter what happened today, I had to at least see Bedrock! 🙂

While there wasn’t time to visit Bedrock, it was satisfying seeing a pleasant memory of childhood. In the Black Hills, it wouldn’t be a good day unless there was hills to climb. Leaving Custer there was a good-sized hill, but the rest of the day was pretty tame. First stop outside of town was the Crazy Horse Monument. I had seen pictures of it, but in person it was absolutely huge! I just wish it was DONE! 50 years have passed creating it, and I’m pretty sure it will be another 50 before it is done. I encourage all of you to read about the history of the monument and what is planned in the future. It’s an amazing project that truly will be a fitting tribute to Native Americans and their culture.

Carved model and actual 500ft monument in the background

No time to lounge around and hang out with the tourists, I have another monument to get to before the day is over. In the hills, the weather is absolutely perfect today! 80 degrees, light wind, blue sky and the most gorgeous pine trees I have seen in a long time. The hills are very similar to Western Montana, just not as big. I can’t believe I haven’t taken the time to vacation here over the years.

Rushmore isn’t what I remembered. Yes, the big heads on the mountain are the same. They are just much smaller than I remember. This is either because I was about 3 feet tall when I saw them, or, because I saw the monstrous Crazy Horse monument earlier today. In addition to not being as large, it is much more modern than I remember it.  Parking garages, auditoriums, cafe, and of course…gift shops! No matter, it is a beautiful tribute to our country and our great leaders!

There are a LOT of other tourist type of things to do in the area. Wax museums, reptile gardens, water parks, alpine slides and everything else you can imagine. Pretty much everything that would make bored kids scream with excitement! Now that I think of it, I think my parents took all the quiet back-roads to access Mt. Rushmore. Brilliant on their part! They weren’t smart enough to avoid Flintstone’s Bedrock City though. Ha!!

My stop for the evening was a campground just outside of Hill City. After today and yesterday, my clothes were all dirty and as close to radioactive as one might guess. There wasn’t laundry services at the campground, so Aaron and I went to town to find a laundry. No public laundry, so I just used a motel’s in town. In between loads, Aaron and I hung out at a local grill and watched all the motorcycles in town.

Speaking of motorcycles, the Sturgis motorcycle rally begins in a month. That doesn’t stop people from starting the party early. You absolutely can’t believe how many motorcycles are on the road in this area. I’m told that during the week of the rally, 100% of all motels are booked within a 50-mile radius of Sturgis. The rally brings in over 800,000 cyclists over 7 days, doubling the population of the state!

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