Monday, July 17, 2017

Mount Rushmore - Monday July 17

This morning was rough to get everyone up. We were all exhausted from a late night battling against Andrew's will to stay awake. His tantrums were monumental as always. He rocked his pack and play, banged against the wall and yelled at the top of his lungs until 11:30 pm. Constantly.

When I awoke it was shortly after 7 am, so we rushed the kids out the door for breakfast while I stayed behind to get myself ready. After breakfast, we all drove ten minutes from Palmer Gulch KOA, where we are staying, to Mount Rushmore.

There is no entrance fee, but they do charge $10 for a parking pass that lasts a year. Wo hoo! I wonder how many people take advantage of it? 

At the visitor center, we picked up Jr. ranger packets for the kids to complete and spent the next several hours helping them complete the requirements. 

The program really forces you to learn about the park.

Stella's favorite part was the Flag Walk. It is made of pillars with state flags hanging from each of their four sides. 

Ath the end of the walk is a large open area where we stood for a family group picture. A walking loop begins on the right and reconnects on the left of the plaza.

The kids learned much about the process from the sculpture room. It was a daring undertaking to sit on a 'swing' on the side of a mountain with a drill eight hours every day but many men were willing to do it in exchange for a steady paycheck during the great depression.

The monument was not nearly as large as I expected it, but still, the skill it took to complete was impressive.

We returned to camp for lunch and we chose to let the kids swim while others visited the Presidents wax museum.

Andrew has had a hard time sleeping and napping during the trip. He was so tired on our walk to the cabin that he started nodding off sitting in the wagon but awoke when we stopped to let Stella out. I walked back to our cabin to wake Todd for dinner, and by the time returned to the RV he could hardly hold his head up so we borrowed a pillow from Vicky, placed it next to him and tilted him to one side. He was out cold.

The plan was to visit Crazy Horse Memorial after dinner, but right through our meal we were hit by a deluge of water and wind that soaked our canopies, blew anything that wasn't anchored down and rattled the kids.

In the end, we decided to attend the lighting ceremony at Mt. Rushmore. It wasn't what I had in mind, and again a little disappointing. Yet the program was redeemed by our singing of the national anthem at the foot of the memorial and honoring the veterans who were in the audience. 

On our way out we were stuck in the parking lot and didn't get out for a really long time. The only redeeming fact is that it gave Andrew time to fall asleep and he didn't wake up again until the next morning.