September 24, 2010 ~ Mental Equestrians and Big Headed Dead Presidents

I suppose this entry could have been called “Even More New Beginnings” or “New Beginnings Continued Even Further” or something like that, but I got bored and figured I’d name it after the Facebook albums I put these pictures in.  Oh yeah…if you and I aren’t Facebook friends, we really should be because you are missing a lot of great stuff.  The pictures posted to this GREAT (well I think it’s great anyway) new blog are more like the abridged version of the albums posted to Facebook.

Anyway, back to the adventure.  After our Nebraskan foray, we traveled North for what seemed like years.  As we were going through the tip of Nebraska I noticed we were going smack through another cyber friends’ town so I got in touch with her and we were able to meet too.  Mister left his flip-flops at the park they played in for a while…that boy and shoes I’m tellin’ ya.

After visiting with my Lewellen friend, we headed to the next destination…4 Big Headed Dead Presidents.  You probably call it Mt. Rushmore.  We stayed in a hotel in South Dakota and before heading for the hills (no really the monument is seriously in the hills), we discovered this:

What’s left of the kamikaze bird that hit our car in Lewellen.

It was pretty gross that’s for sure.  Mister and Come-back Queen decided to be brave enough to attempt pulling it out.  Neither one had much success.  Sass Master wasn’t coming anywhere near it and actually vowed to never eat meat again…ESPECIALLY chicken and so removing the bird remains from the light was up to me.  Come-back Queen handed me the bag she had tried using but failed to tell me she had flipped it inside out…I got the remains out alright.  I got covered in bird blood and guts too…everybody now SCREAM….EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW.  Thankfully my good buddy Super K is diligent in honoring my requests and I had hand sanitizer pens from my school in the glove box.

Ok so now that we’ve slept, showered, eaten breakfast, de-remained and de-ewed it was time to head for the hills.  The Minis were so excited and the chatter was getting on my nerves severe, but I had to let is slide…it was excited chatter and I was excited for them.  (Yes I know that’s a LOT of excitement)  So we’re driving toward the monument or national park or whatever it is and Mister screams (yes literally) something like “MOM LOOK IT’S RIGHT THERE!!!!!!”  GPS said he was wrong, but being the good Mommy I am, I indulged his shrieking and went the direction he insisted.  It was NOT 4 Big Headed Dead Presidents; it was a mental equestrian.  A $27 mistake that turned out to be an unexpected blessing.  Thanks Mister, without you, we wouldn’t have gotten to see this:

Crazy Horse Monument…at least it will be one day.

This is what it’s going to look like finished…minus the three cute kids in front!

This area will be wonderful once it’s completed.  The plans say there will be a Native American College, Medical Center, the Crazy Horse Monument, the Visitors Center and more…they are no where close to done though.  Unlike Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse is all privately funded.  Our “fee” to get into the Visitors Center helps fund the sculpting effort.  Consider making a donation by clicking here.  The Visitors Center had some really amazing things…I can’t post all of them here but you can find more pictures on Facebook.  Here’s one of my favorite things from the Visitors Center:

An AMAZING piece of beadwork.

I think the Minis probably liked this the best:

A life-size replica of a tipi.

We were at the Visitors Center we didn’t even know existed for a good two hours.  Now it was time to head on down the road to Rushmore so we could keep on keeping West.  I was just about done driving for REALZ.  We arrive at Rushmore and spent another 3 hours looking around there.  We learned that the monument is actually not finished finished, we met the last surviving monument driller, we ate ice cream, bought souvenirs, and found it a little rough to motivate ourselves to get back on the road.  By unanimous vote, it’s somewhere we’ll return.  Here are a few highlights from the experience:

This is the 1st view you get as you go up the hill…or in our case the last one as you come down.

See, this proves we were there!
See, it’s 4 big headed dead presidents.
Nick is the last living monument worker. He told us a great story, autographed the copy of his book we bought and let me take pictures.
What Rushmore was SUPPOSED to look like.

The story Nick told us was how Borglum died and Wold War II Started and so funds for the monument got cut off.  Borglum’s son decided, even though he had all the plans for monument and could have built it as his father designed it, that the monument as-is would pay great tribute to his father so it was pronounced complete.  Ok wait, I don’t know if it was officially pronounced anything, but that IS the reason it looks like it does and not how it was supposed to.  We also learned that behind the monument and completely off-limits is a hall of records where some of the most important historical documents and artifacts are kept.  Mister wants to climb Rushmore and sneak in…why does that not surprise me?

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