Headed to Mt Rushmore, Custer State Park, Mammoth Site and Crazy Horse. I am stoked!!!
After 8 days of what it seems like non-stop traveling, we are headed to Hill City, SD. We will be staying put for 3 nights. It will be a nice break from packing up, emptying the poo tank, hitching up and driving a few hundred miles.
It was a sad morning leaving the majestic Badlands, but we had a mere 94 miles to drive to the Mt Rushmore KOA. We were elated that we only had a couple hours of driving. Trucking right along the highway, not a care in the world and then it happened… Entering the Black Hills National Forest at a snail’s pace pulling our 30 ft trailer up into the steep mountains. We made it to the top, but little did we know, we had to go back down to get to Hill City.
I had researched braking with a trailer, steep grades and we have the added braking system on the trailer. We are good right? The grades were steep and even with slow pumping of the brakes, we land at the bottom in Keystone at a red light with smoke billowing from our front end. We all know the firefighters that stand on the side of the road to collect money in the boots several times a year. While stopped at the red light, the firefighter comes over and lets us know our front end is smoking. I rolled down my window and told her, no problem, our brakes were burning, LOL. At least if they caught fire, we were covered. I am the researcher in our family, so told my husband, Joe, to pull over and there we sat for 30 minutes waiting for the pads to cool down. As the good wife that I am, I am telling him he needed to be down shifting to prevent that from happening and did he do his research about that like I did before we hit the road,(not sure if you can call me a bitch or a typical woman, but I accept responsibility for either or both).
Of course, now, my husband is paranoid driving the rest of the way to the campground, but we make it and it is a beautiful site to see. We unhitch and head to Mt Rushmore. In lieu of Memorial Day Weekend, it is definitely fitting.
We have all seen the pictures on TV, but when you stand in front of this massive structure, it is an amazing piece of history. Mt Rushmore was built by 400 workers earning $8 a day and completed over 14 years from 1927 to 1941. The flags for each state are represented and the pillars list the name of the state below the flag and the year that state became part of the union.
We decided to head on over to the Crazy Horse Memorial before heading back to camp. Crazy Horse is a very different experience. Crazy Horse is more remote and there is no way to get close to the structure. It is more impressive from the highway than at the Memorial itself. What makes this memorial appeal to so many is the amount of history and culture that is packed into the museums as you walk through each of the buildings. It has been under construction since 1948 and while there is a model of the completed memorial and the surrounding area, we were not able to find a completion date even with the use of modern construction equipment. After our visit, I am certain that it will not be completed in my lifetime.
Choosing to travel full time was a wonderful decision for our 11-year-old son, Nick. He has experienced firsthand more history, geology and geography over the past week than most kids do in years. Full time traveling is not for everyone, but if you don’t think your kids might enjoy these types of trips, they may surprise you. I have seen more smiles from my son learning about history firsthand.
Tomorrow we head over to Custer State Park in search of buffalo and then on to the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, SD.
Over the past 9 days, we have traveled 2093 exhausting miles. Less than 400 left to go and then we get to start working.