The Black Hills of South Dakota
I know I’ve gotten a bit behind in my recent postings. That’s because we were busy having lots of fun! Not that we’re not now, but we are now settled in for a little bit, so I’m going to try to catch up.
After we left Devil’s Tower, we all headed over towards the Black Hills in South Dakota. For Sal and I, it was our first visit to this area. The drive to Custer was a very pretty one. We arrived at the French Creek RV Park in Custer, SD fairly early on a Sunday. Dave had called ahead the evening before and talked with “Rock” who is the owner of the place, so we all just picked some sites and got settled, knowing that he was in church. Well, “Rock” showed up with his gun on his hip after he got back from church. He invited us all up to the office to fill out paperwork. On the way though, he stopped outside and opened up a freezer while he told us about BBQ’s he does in the summer months and such. Inside the freezer was a shelf full of different liquors and he wanted all of us to “pick our poison.” We all thought he was joking and quickly found out that he was not joking, and was not going to easily take no for an answer! It is definitely a different kind of RV Park and we had so much fun!! If you’re planning a visit to the area, check out the French Creek RV Park for sure! It’s even a Passport America park too!
So, after we took care of everything at the RV Park, we headed off towards Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Along the trip there, we ran into a group of these Mountain Goats (Oreamonos americanus), also known as the Rocky Mountain Goat.
Added at the time of the Bicentennial of the Declaration of Independence in 1976, there is a flag-lined entrance that is the formal Avenue of Flags that creates a very impressive approach.
Over 450,000 tons of rock were removed to bring out the faces. Most of the rock was removed with dynamite, about 10% had to be done with jackhammers and facing bits! They had to use air compressors at the base of the mountain to operate them. They still have one of them on display. An 1800-foot, 3-inch pipeline is what carried the air from one of these up to the top.
We finished our visit to the memorial itself and so then we drove along the Iron Mountain Highway, which includes tunnels that were blasted through the rock, where the faces on Mt. Rushmore are framed through the tunnel.
The other views from some of the overlooks were pretty amazing as well. We continued to drive through parts of Custer State Park and came across this beautiful White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) hanging out.