The City of Presidents

Did you know Rapid City is known as the City of Presidents? I’ll get to that in a bit! We are moving West at a fairly rapid pace – but SO MUCH is still closed due to Covid-19. Right now, we want to get out of South Dakota and Wyoming and away from these strong winds!

Since we left Mountain Lake MN, we have gained 2,340 feet in elevation! By the time we get to Missoula, MT, we will gain another 3,700 feet! We got to Rapid City about 1:00 and stopped in at Camping World to inquire about parts to repair the slide cover that was destroyed in the high winds. They were of little help as we wanted to order the parts to be delivered to a store that we would be near to by the time the parts were shipped and received. They wouldn’t take an order for parts they couldn’t sell from their location which kind of made sense. We later discovered that the parts could take some time to be made and then shipped, so we will figure that out later. Jim ordered the end caps from the manufacturer to be shipped to Montana and held for us — and he can put the parts on the outside of the RV and get them off the floor inside where it is quite inconvenient to have them!

The slide cover pieces take up a lot of our inside space!

We left The Badlands area on Wednesday June 10 just after 8am {Acey 63,278, Thor (the Jeep toad) 66,678} and stopped in at the Minuteman Launch Control Delta-01 for a tour, then went 11 miles down I-90 to see the Delta-9 Missile site. This was all part of the ICBM missiles that we had ready during the Cold War and, fortunately, never had to deploy.

The photos I took don’t really explain well what the site is all about. The main idea was that we had the missiles to be a deterrent for possible war; kind of like an alarm sticker/sign at your home is a deterrent for burglary.
The self guided cell phone our was very informative, and YOU can call it too!
Looking down into the missile silo…

We stayed at the Sacora Station Campground which had a decent nightly rate but is another “parking lot with hookups” which really is OK since we are not spending much time here except to sleep! They do have a pretty cool sign and had live music in the evening. We went grocery shopping and came back to Acey to make dinner.

Thursday, we drove out the see Mount Rushmore. We packed a lunch, not knowing if anything would be open. We were very disappointed that the Rushmore Borglum Story Museum is closed until NEXT YEAR and the Founding Father’s Exhibit was closed – as well as Wind Cave National Park. BUT Mount Rushmore opened last week, and what a treasure it is! Gutzon Borglum was the sculptor and “mastermind” of Mount Rushmore, an undertaking he began at age 60! We were surprised to learn that a lot of dynamite was used – but this is granite and its pretty tough stuff! Over 400 men worked on the carving, and no one died: another incredible fact! What a remarkable piece of work this monument is!

Dedicated in 1927 when the work began.
Work stopped in 1941 – possibly because of the War; also the year Gutzon Borglum died. There is a possibility that George’s waistcoat and buttons may yet be carved.
A view of the sculpting from up close!
A profile view of George Washington!

Another project of similar magnitude that is still underway, and will be for years to come, is the carving of the Crazy Horse Memorial not far from Mount Rushmore. It may never be completed; the stone here is not the hard granite of Mount Rushmore.

We watched a Lakota dancer do a Hoop dance – it was quite interesting to see what she did with these hoops! (No hula hooping here!)
This is what the Crazy Horse Memorial looks like today
The drawing is superimposed on the current status of the mountain.
This is a model of the finished product – including the inscription. It will be many, many years from now until it is completed!

OK on to “The City of Presidents”! Downtown Rapid City has life sized bronze statues of the Presidents on many of the street corners. Some are seated, some standing – all showing some of their personality; some with their dog or child – very well done. As we approached each statue, we tried to guess who it was and did guess several correctly. We walked around downtown on Thursday and Friday. Here are some of the Presidents we took photos of – you’ll have to Google to see them all. We saw Obama, but Trump is not there yet since he is still in office.

Jim looked on as FDR gave an address. Nice that he was depicted standing, not in a wheelchair!
Ronny looked to be fresh off a ride at his ranch.
We saw George Bush and thought about the worldwide pandemic.

Friday, we biked around Rapid City and found an interesting display about the Berlin Wall at a park.

2 pieces from the Berlin Wall and 2 tank traps.

Saturday, we biked around Deadwood and also hiked to this Friendship Tower and a few nearby waterfalls.

Mt. Roosevelt, near Deadwood, is home to the Friendship Tower created by Seth Bullock, in memory of the friendship he had with President Theodore Roosevelt
Quite a view from the top of the tower. We packed lunch again. as it is hard to know if there would be a place to eat. Things seem to be opening up rather slowly.
This little waterfall/rapids was just off the road
Spearfish Falls, near Lead, SD
On the walk to Roughlock Falls
Roughlock Falls – could not get a good shot of the cascade in the center of this photo.

We ended the afternoon stopping in Sturgis at the Harley Davidson store to get a t-shirt for Linda’s brother Rob. 2020 is the 80th Anniversary of the Sturgis Rally – apparently Sturgis is a BIG worldwide motorcycle “Mecca” We headed back to Acey to have dinner and prepare to leave in the morning.


3 thoughts on “The City of Presidents”

  1. The Petersons made a trip to South Dakota around 1966 and saw Mt. Rushmore, etc. We camped in Spearfish Canyon and suffered through an intense heatwave. In those days, Spearfish was famous for holding an elaborate outdoor Passion Play. It was rather magical and such a pretty setting. You can Google to learn more about that long running play. I remember we splurged on my birthday and had dinner in a nice restaurant and I received a Girl Scout wristwatch. Your trip and your blog is really triggering memories for me!

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