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New and traditional ways of exploring the globe, and your own backyard.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Mount Rushmore was a little disappointing...

July 4 (cont.)

So, what’s a more patriotic location to be on Independence Day than Mount Rushmore? Really, I consider myself very lucky to be here in front of the countenances of such great leaders as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.
However…it actually was not as impressive as I thought it would be.
I don’t know. Maybe size does matter, especially when I’m looking up at a big granite monument that I’ve seen in movies and found in photographs for years.
Maybe I just saw it so much that my expectations outmatched what the national monument could offer.
Washington’s stone nose may be bigger than a person, but it just was not as….grand, as I hoped.
I almost feel like I need to apologize for saying that. Like I am making the most unpatriotic of remarks about a place that took years and millions of dollars to complete.
But, that Is my opinion.
Is it worth the $10 parking fee? Um...yes. But, honestly, you get just about as good a view as you are driving up the adjacent mountains. To save some road trip cash, you could always just pull over and get your photo there.
Unless you are a history buff and want to pay tribute to these extraordinary leaders.
Admission also included a tour on the Presidential Trail near the base of the monument. Our guide explained how the four presidents were chosen for their contributions to the country – Washington’s leadership, Jefferson’s foresight with the Louisiana Purchase, Lincoln’s tough decisions during the Civil War, and Roosevelt’s world contribution of the Panama Canal.
It cost about $5 million in the 20s and 30s to build and now it would cost about $17 million.
There is normally an impressive fireworks display at Mount Rushmore for July 4th but there were some environmental issues, namely with beetles this year, so the woods were too dry and the forest fire possibility was too high. I found out later that it is illegal for fireworks displays throughout the state unless a hard-to-obtain permit is acquired.
As we walked out through the stone pillars lined with state flags, I couldn’t help but look back one last time at the sculpture engrained in the Black Hills. It may not be as impressive as I thought…but it’s still pretty cool.
And it was also a great place to continue my photo collection of license plates.


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