Since our campsite was only nine miles from Mount Rushmore, we seized the opportunity to get a little more sleep in anticipation of a long day. I actually slept for 7.5 hours, which is the most sleep I’ve had since we started this trip. Most days it’s been six hours or less. I started the day by making my daily blog post while eating my take-away breakfast that was provided by MINI in Sturgis.
In my mind the pinnacle of this trip always has been Mount Rushmore and the excitement as we have been inching toward it has been great. Just before 9 AM we took the Rushmore exit and as we rounded a curve we could see it from the road. Wow, it was finally happening!
I really wanted a photo of MightyBee and the Beehive in front of the monument, and when we were guided to the RV parking area I thought our chance for that had been slimmed. When we parked I was surprised to look up and see the four presidents, lined-up perfectly behind us. Yes!
Walking to the monument continues to build the anticipation as you see it through the trees and the area lined with all the state flags. And then, BAM, you hit the main observation area and it’s an awesome, jaw-dropping moment. We stayed there for quite awhile, making photos and just staring at it. It’s one of those places every American should see in person, like the memorials in Washington, the 9/11 memorial in New York and the war cemetery in Normandy, because it somehow makes you feel complete.
We didn’t leave Rushmore until 11 AM and had a long drive to Cheyenne, so we headed out. Leaving Rushmore we were treated to a few more views of it from the road and some spectacular, twisty hills before everything flattened out as we headed into Nebraska.
The part of Nebraska we passed through made you check your gas gauge a lot because most of the time you would look up and see nothing but corn or wheat for as far as the eye could see. We did stop at Carhenge in Alliance, NE, a modern replica of the ancient Stonehenge in the U.K., made from vintage American autos. It was a fun break from the droning drive. Nebraska, we owe you a visit because I know there is much we missed by cutting through your state on the way to somewhere else.
We eventually made it to I-90 and an 8o MPH speed limit and that got us to the Terry Bison Ranch at 5:30 PM. The ranch is a cool place that offers visitors a chance to see the Great American Bison up close and they have a campground and a rodeo. So for the first time on this trip we were able to set up our camp and walk to the evening event at the rodeo.
MINI of Loveland, the closest MINI dealer in these parts, hosted the evening with an outdoor barbecue and a real rodeo, complete with a bull riding, bronco busting and barrel racing. It was a fun night and we ate our dinner sitting on a bale of hay. Yeehaw!
It was a short walk back to the Beehive, and when our heads hit the pillows we were asleep quickly. We have a big drive ahead to Park City, Utah, as we head into the final three cities of this long but wonderful journey.