Mount Rushmore and a day off.

Custer, SD —  I’m finally back in civilization, meaning that I have access to WiFi, cell phones, and laundry facilities.  I’ve added several blog posts today in an attempt to catch up.

I’m currently spending my second night in Custer before heading back north towards Wall and the Minuteman missile silo turned national park.  After that I need to point south and make significant progress towards my sister’s place in MO. I’ll probably pass through parts of Nebraska. I don’t know that there’s much to see, but someone at the barber shop told me that you can’t get a steak that’s less than 2″ thick in Nebraska. Armed with that bit of info, there’s no way I’m bypassing that state!

Yesterday I stopped at Mt. Rushmore.   The sculpture is impressive to me, not so much for what it is, but for the scale of the ambition.  It’s quite humbling to compare one’s own accomplishments to both the sculptor and the sculpted.

While I didn’t speak to the gentleman,  they actually had one of the guys who worked on the monument sitting at a table in the gift shop.   It was hard, dangerous work, for which the men earned about $8/day.  That was probably good money at the time.   It’s amazing that no one died in making the monument.  It was certainly dangerous work.

I trekked down to the sculptor’s studio where I saw the 1/12 scale model used during construction.  As you can see from this picture, the sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, could view both the model and the mountain at the same time.  Apparently, the model was regularly modified to accommodate the realities of the rock they were carving into.

Sculptor's Studio
Sculptor’s Studio

This last picture proved a bit of a challenge.  I couldn’t get the exposure right for both  the 1/12 scale model and the real-thing in the window.  I admit, in this instance, to a bit more editing than my other pictures.  Still, this isn’t a composite image, it’s a single picture.  I’ve just had to work to pull out the detail in the shadows.

Here are the stats after my idle day:

Miles Today: 0
Total Miles: 1522
Avg Miles/Day: 217

At this point in the trip my lodging costs are averaging $16 per day. The park that I’m in now for two nights is $15/night with the Passport America discount. The national forest parks that I stayed in before getting here were free, and it cost me $33 for the night in Yellowstone. With fuel, it’s been costing me about $60 per day which is certainly cheaper than hotels, never mind fuel costs.  Food is a don’t-care since I would have been buying groceries anyway.

2 thoughts on “Mount Rushmore and a day off.”

  1. I was amazed at the off season crowds in Yellowstone too. I think the majority are from Europe and Japan. Fortunately the park is huge so you can still get around okay. Looks like the weather is still great for you. Are you going near Independence, MO? Truman’s library. I enjoy the Presidential libs because of the up close look they give of history.

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