A Must-See

I have wanted to see Mount Rushmore for a very long time. When we were planning our drive across the country, it was the only thing that was an absolute must-see. Other attractions were flexible, but not Mount Rushmore.

I am not sure what it is about its pronunciation, but I have the hardest time saying it. For some reason it always comes out Rush Mountmore. Luckily I can spell it better than I can say it.

We went to the mountain twice. I had read about the best time to take pictures, but I couldn’t remember whether it was morning or evening, so we decided to visit it both times. As it turns out, morning is the best time for photos, but it is equally beautiful any time. Going in the evening is wonderful because of the evening lighting program. There is a speech, a patriotic video and then the lighting of the memorial. They ended with all the veterans from the audience up on stage, where they lowered the flag and then told us about their years of service.

In the morning, the rising sun lights up the memorial just beautifully, making it hard to stop taking pictures.

I am so glad we were able to go. It was everything I had hoped it would be and even more.


Scenic South Dakota

Another state to add to our map! We didn’t see much of South Dakota, but what we did see was amazing. Not too long after crossing over from Wyoming, we were at Jewel Cave National Monument. We opted for the Scenic Tour of the caves, which left us with an hour wait, so the kids had time to do the Junior Ranger Program.

The caves were amazing, and cold, they are a consistent 49 degrees year round. Jewel Cave is covered with calcite crystals, which make it shine like jewels. There are no bats inside the cave. The only living thing found inside the cave is a dead-skin-cell eating organism that live inside the water pools along the walking path.

Under the stairs, there are black tarps which capture all of the skin, hair and lint that fall off of visitors over the course of the year. Every year when they clean the tarps, they end up with 100 pounds of yummy goodness. Our tour guide jokingly informed us that you can purchase it by the pound in the gift shop. Ew.

Of all the glorious tidbits of information I could have brought away from the caves, I chose that. Something is seriously wrong with me…