Mount Rushmore trip displays work of man, nature

By: Shirley Law

By: Shirley Law

By: Shirley Law

In 46 years of marriage, my husband, Russ, and I have never taken a trip away from work in the summer.

We wanted to go to a Cardinal baseball game in St. Louis, so we called Peoria Charter Coach Co. and the trips were full.

We had a catalog sent to us and saw a trip to Mount Rushmore, where we have always wanted to go. We called and they had only two seats available. So we took them!

We left on a Sunday morning and made three stops before boarding the final bus for our trip to South Dakota. After some necessary stops and hours of riding, we arrived at Iowa 80, known as the world's largest truck stop, which had everything from gas to showers to restaurants galore.

In the afternoon, we spent time on the bus watching the movie "True Grit" and answering trivia on Illinois.

The scenery that we passed included Angus cattle, windmills (different than the ones we see around here), corn and lots of roadwork. We stopped at Sioux City, Iowa, and had dinner and stayed the night.

Monday morning, we ate breakfast and headed out again, arriving at a place called the Corn Palace in Mitchell, S.D.

The Corn Palace, which has been around 100 years and is visited by more than half a million people a year. The Corn Palace is redone every year with bushels of corn, grain and grasses, and hosts rodeos, a polka festival and other events year-round.

We continued westward, where we saw more wheat than corn, and a lot of cattle. As we crossed the Missouri River, we arrived at the heavily-advertised-on-billboard Wall Drug Store, which had large gift shops, soda fountains and many eating places. There we got free water and 5-cent coffee. After that, we traveled on to Rapid City, S.D., for dinner.

Tuesday at Spear Fish, we toured the High Plains Heritage Museum, where we saw everything from saddles to butter churns. We went through Sturgis, which is famous for its motorcycle rallies the first week of August.

We then headed to Deadwood, where we encountered winding roads, very tall trees and bluffs and a breathtaking Bridal Falls, which is formed up in the hills. We then went to Lead, which was the site of the Homestake gold mine, and we watched a movie and heard all about its past.

Wednesday we went to the Crazy Horse Memorial, which is being carved in Thunderhead Mountain as a memorial to the Oglala Lakota warrior Crazy Horse and his people.

His left hand is pointing outward in answer to the question asked by a white man, "Where are your lands now?" "My lands are where my dead lie buried."

The memorial was started in 1948 to honor the culture, traditions and living heritage of North American Indians.

Thursday we toured Rapid City and then we arrived at Mount Rushmore, the site of the monumental sculpture by Gutzon Borglum that was completed in 1941.

The view is unexplainable; the detail on the four presidents' faces was awe-inspiring. We were able to walk on paths right underneath the granite sculptures of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

After Rushmore, we went to Custer State Park and then ended the day with dinner at the Fort Hays Chuckwagon, which was the film set for the movie "Dances with Wolves."

Friday we drove through the Badlands National Park, where the colorful land formations were formed by years of blowing winds.

We got home on Saturday, and the trip is something we will never forget!

Russ and Shirley Law have lived in rural Mahomet for 45 years. They are beyond retirement age but still own and operate, along with their children, Cardinal Pool & Outdoor Furniture in Champaign. Contact Shirley Law by e-mail at sharonpauza@aol.com.

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