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A while back, Andy and I had the opportunity to travel to South Dakota and see some famous sights such as Mount Rushmore, the Badlands, the Black Hills, Wall Drug. A trip that would take most people a week, we were able to knock out in a weekend, thanks to our close proximity from north Iowa. We decided to take advantage of one such weekend soon after we moved here, knowing that soon Andy’s job would pick up, my college classes would pick up, and we would have less time to travel. We may spent two nights sleeping in our car on the way to and from there, but it was so worth it!
Our first stop when arriving in the area was Mount Rushmore. It’s typically $10 per vehicle to park, but active duty military get in free. It was neat and definitely an American thing to do, but honestly, we were in and out of there in about 30 minutes. One of Andy’s coworkers said it best: “It’s kind of underwhelming.”
But hey, we got some nice pictures!
Afterwards, we headed down the road to the Crazy Horse Memorial. Crazy Horse was a warrior in the Lakota tribe and helped protect his people from encroachment by the white settlers during the Native American battles with the military. In 1948, a Lakota elder commissioned Korczak Ziolkowski to carve the Crazy Horse Memorial into the side of the mountain.
What I found interesting about this monument is it is much, much bigger than Mount Rushmore and also, it is being funded for solely with private donations. It is still under construction today, and on our tour when we asked when it will be completed, they said at least another 20 years. It was really neat to see all of the construction equipment they use to carve the memorial, since much of it was the same equipment Andy used as an Army Engineer!
It’s a little pricey to visit the Crazy Horse Memorial at $24 for a car with 2 passengers (which was free for active duty military) and then another $4 per person to take a bus ride closer to the monument. There is also some controversy as to whether carving into the Black Hills (which was Native American burial grounds) is appropriate.
Nonetheless, they were great first stops on our trip to South Dakota!
Have you ever been to Mount Rushmore or Crazy Horse Memorial?