About this time I started getting tired of being in the car. It's a good thing I was still excited about life and this particular journey. We left early, which is really easy to do when the sun wakes you up around 5:15 in the morning, and headed to Mt. Rushmore. There are so many conflicting opinions about Mt. Rushmore that again, I didn't know what to expect.
It didn't matter, I thought it was awesome.
I'm not too sure what to say. I really liked reading about why each President was chosen and seeing all the state flags. It's a pretty incredible piece of art though we didn't go to see Crazy Horse which I've heard described as more impressive.
One day we'll bring the girls here. Hopefully the annual stability crews are able to keep the rock from crumbling before that happens.
From there we headed to Wind Cave National Park. Jim and I have been through a few caves on this National Park journey and this one was completely unlike any of them. For one, it was really dry inside. Second, there were no typical stalactite/stalagmite formations in the caverns we saw. What there is instead is something called boxwork, which is prolific and not found in any similar extent in any other cave. It was nice to see something different.
We took two tours through the cave. The first was an hour and a half, and the second was an hour. They covered different parts of the cave but the first was our favorite of the two. The guide was more knowledgeable, we saw a greater variety, and everything still felt new. Our favorite detail about this is the way we've clearly adapted to Oregon weather. Up front we were told that the cave is consistently 53 degrees and we should wear a sweatshirt or jacket to stay comfortable. Even without one, I thought it was the most ideal temperature ever and was completely comfortable for the entire 2.5 hours.
The little hole at the bottom left of this picture is the natural entrance to the cave and one story says this is how the cave was discovered. Air pressure differences between inside and outside the cave create an air current of up to 70 mph in either direction (based on relative pressures) and supposedly blew the hat off a cowboy who rode by and looked into the hole to see what was up.
South Dakota also exceeded my expectations. It was lovely, but hot, and we were happy to get on the road with our cooler of drinks and air conditioning.
South Dakota antelope count: 19