Category Archives: National Parks

Mt. Rushmore and Beyond

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On this day we headed out of Sioux Falls and made our way through the Black Hills as the morning sun slowly rose.  We stopped at the incredible Mt. Rushmore.  Mt. Rushmore is one of those places that you see on TV and movies and print, and you suppose it’s great and all but really have no clear comprehension of that until you are standing right in front of it. My 11 year old wouldn’t, couldn’t stop talking about “how cool” it was.  And it really is.  Stunning.  Absolutely.

There is an amphitheater where the nightly Evening Lighting Ceremony is held.  The boys loved getting on stage and performing and just playing around.  It was a great place for us to sit as well and take in the magnitude of the place. I am not sure how long we were there, but it didn’t seem long enough. I personally could have sat there and admired the sculpture all day.

We spent the night at Best Western Golden Spike Inn & Suites in Hill City.  The bikers that were either coming from or heading to Sturgis for the motorcycle rally were everywhere, and the younger boys were thrilled to be surrounded by so many bikes. “I want to ride a motorcycle!” would yell the 4 year old.  “Me too!” would chime in the 2.5 year old.  At one point, as we unpacked the Routan to head into our room, the 4 year old quietly walked away from us and towards a group of bikers tending to their bikes. “Can I please ride your motorcycle?” he asked.  They all laughed.

My son was not pleased.  “They laughed Mama, but I want to ride their motorcycle!” he sulked.

The rooms in the hotel were nice, the pool was very nice, but the water was cold.  I loved that they had a great coffee shop in the main lobby. Turns out that finding a good cup of coffee has been a huge challenge during our trip.  They have a restaurant, which serves either buffet or a la carte.  We had our dinner as we watched the thunderstorm that seems to be following us finally arrive to where we were. Not bad, but not great food.  Service was great though, everyone was extremely nice and helpful. We slept comfortably in our room, and slept a bit longer than the previous nights.

As we repacked the Routan the next morning, I saw my 4 year old sadly looking at the motorcycles and not saying a word.  I took his hand and walked him over to one of the bikers who was wiping down his bike from the rain the night before and getting ready for his morning ride.

I smiled and wished him a Good Morning, he smiled and greeted in turn.  “Beautiful bike,” I said as my son looked on.  “You know, my husband was a big biker dude before he met me, and we had kids.  He’s been watching you guys drive by as he drives our minivan and just sighs.”  The biker laughed.  “I think my son is going to follow in his father’s footsteps, he seems to really be attracted to beautiful bikes like yours.”

The biker looked at my son.  “So ya like bikes, eh?” he asked him.

“Yeah, yeah…I weelly like it,” replied my son, almost studdering as he responded, looking at the bike the entire time.

“Well son, want to get on?” asked the man.

“Yes! I want to!” my son let go of my hand and headed towards the bike.

The man picked him up and sat him on the bike while we talked about the rally, the ride, where he was from, where I was from and forth.

“Ok, I want to go.  Let’s go!” demanded my son, wanting to start the bike and drive away.

“Maybe next time honey,” I replied as I took him off the bike, thanked the man and wished him and his biker friends a good ride and a nice day.

His father had been waiting for coffee at the coffee shop in the lobby so he missed the encounter and his son getting on a Harley Davidson.

But it was all my son talked about for the rest of the day and every time a biker passed by.  It was all he talked about while we made our way to Devils Tower.  It’s what he still talks about even now.

Mt. Rushmore and Beyond on Vimeo.

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