Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mission Trip Day 2

Today was travel and sight seeing day. We drove to Mount Rushmore and then to the Crazy Horse Monument. Seeing how, in both of these monuments, man can literally move mountains was amazing! I can't wait until Lydia is older and we can load the family up in the station wagon and drive off to experience the wonders of the US. For now, I can't wait to share all the pictures I have on my camera and on my computer.

So, here is the recap. Mount Rushmore was amazing....but I kind of knew it would be! I took tons of pictures and felt very patriotic.  Seeing Rushmore was the thing I was most excited about prior to coming on this trip.  I was kind of like a kid in a candy store at the monument. 

I squealed with delight and started snapping pictures at the first sighting... from the road! 

I knew the sculptures on Mount Rushmore would be impressive, but I was unaware of how beautiful the surrounding area would be designed.

You enter through these massive columned entries that reminded me of both a modern version of Neoclassical architecture (the style used in our capital building, Supreme Court, etc.) and Egyptian architecture... both timeless, strong, and modern.  Good Job Parks and Recreation department!

Inside were all these state flags and patriotic banners.  So great for framing your photographs.  Again, impressive in almost every detail..... but again I kind of expected that!

PS. Did you know Mount Rushmore was unfinished?  Here is the artist's scale model of what he intended it to look like.  Unfortunately,the sculptor passed away and the start of WW2 halted the project as we see it today.  Still impressive... but again you kind of expect that.

However, the monument we visited next caught me completely off guard.  I was really blown away with the Crazy Horse memorial. It is also being carved into a mountain, but is still a work in progress.  Unlike Mount Rushmore, they are actually still making progress so you could really see how it and Mount Rushmore were made.  Below you can see the artist's model set against the current view of the mountain.

The man who was hired by the tribe elders worked for years, probably decades, alone with very low tech low expense tools. Eventually his family members joined in (he had 10 kids)and now that he has passed away, his wife and kids continue the work of making what will become the largest carved statue. Only the face is finished today, but eventually the entire mountain will become his body and his horse. The hole goes under his arm, which is resting on a horse and pointing to his people's lands.  You can just make out the white line marking the face of the horse. 

Today there was a HUGE banner wishing Ruth a happy birthday. She is apparently the widow of the sculptor and mom to the kids who have taken over their dad's work. This monument is truly a labor of love for the native Americans and for this family.  They have all invested heavily in the project and have refused to take any federal funds to complete it.

Our last  sight seeing stop of the day was Wall Drug in Wall South Dakota. We knew we were nearing Wall because they have TONS of billboards for miles and miles advertising the home baked doughnuts, the 5 cent coffee, and the free ice cold water. Apparently the owners were a young couple in the 1930's trying to build their business. Nothing seemed to help them gain any customers, until the wife got the idea to give  the hot tired drivers who had just crossed the badlands as much free ice cold water as they requested. Within 6 months they had to hire 8 extra workers.

Today Wall Drug takes up most of the buildings on main street and extends across an ally and into another row of buildings behind that. It is unbelievable! Now there are numerous restaurants, specialty stores, games, statutes to pose with for pictures, and even a few dinosaurs!

While we explored, our rental cars got pelted with yet another freak hail storm! Fortunately we don't seem to have any damage and when we needed to drive it was only rain, but I hear it was crazy hail.

I was buying cowboy boots and could not be interrupted to look at the weather.  I mean....really!  Those boots are MESMERIZING!!!  Would you look at them or at a hail storm.  OK it was a freakish hail storm but keep in mind that we JUST had a different freakish hail storm the PREVIOUS night.  We hadn't seen ANYTHING like these boots! When I did go outside (after buying a very lovely pair of clearance boots.... nice but NOTHING like the $500 boots pictured above) some of the cars looked like they had a pile of snow on the wind shields!  So, that is the recap of out travel and touring day, mission trip day 2.

 We made it to Mission (the town where we stay for our mission trip) around 7, are some pizza, and we are now relaxing and preparing for bed. Wish us luck as we get to work tomorrow! Good night.

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