Arriving at Mt. Rushmore
At some point during our last few months in Oregon I got the notion to take Bear, our dog, to Mt. Rushmore.
I know that makes me sound crazy. But taking Bear to Mt. Rushmore meant that when we packed up the car to drive east we weren’t just driving to Ohio to deliver the dogs to their new home, we were going on vacation. We were going to Mt. Rushmore.
So in my fragile mental state, distraught over leaving our dogs behind while we traveled, the obsession began in earnest.
I found myself singing songs to the dog with award-worthy lyrics like: Bear, Bear, we’ll put you in the car. Bear, Bear, we’ll drive you very far… to Mt. Rushmoreeee. And I’d ask her incessantly, like an inquisitive five year old, Bear, do you want Mommy to take you to Mt. Rushmore? And she’d look at me with those big doggy eyes and I could see her desperate answer. Yes, mom. Yes. Take me to Mt. Rushmore.
Somewhere along the way I learned that dogs were not allowed at Mt. Rushmore.
But I’d made a promise to Bear and that promise would not be broken. Some way, somehow, that dog was going to see that damn mountain chiseled with the faces of dead presidents.
So we set off from Oregon and on our second night we stopped in Rapid City, waking early the next morning to make the thirty minute drive to Mt. Rushmore. It was a beautiful route through South Dakota’s Black Hills, save for a few billboards sprinkled about the side of the road, beckoning us to VIEW THE WORLDS LARGEST BULLS HEAD and stop by the CRAZY VORTEX THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE IT.
Maybe it was the fact that it was early and I’d had only one cup of Motel 6 coffee, or maybe it was because I was actually excited to see Mt. Rushmore, but at this point I’d downgraded my expectations. Bear didn’t need to go inside the park, she just needed to see the monument with her own doggy eyes. And I needed to get a picture.
So we arrived at Mt. Rushmore and left Bear and our other pooch, Macy, in the car. Brian and I shuffled towards the monument.
As we made our way towards Mt. Rushmore we walked past an outdoor hall of flags. Each flag represents a state.
The entrance to Mt. Rushmore
After exiting the walk of flags we arrived at a viewing area. Mt. Rushmore is striking. Brian and I gazed in wonder, analyzing the size of Jefferson’s nose and agreeing that Washington’s eyes looked slightly vacant.
Mt. Rushmore: Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, Lincoln
As we set off on the President’s Trail, an interpretive walk dotted with informative placards, I found myself enthralled with the stories of the 400 men who carved Mt. Rushmore. I vowed to read the biographies of Jefferson and Lincoln. Mt. Rushmore was making me a better, more educated, American.
Travel-related Presidential trivia
We spent about an hour and a half touring the grounds of Mt. Rushmore. As we walked back to our car I hunted for the perfect spot to show Bear the monument.
And I found it.
Bear at Mt. Rushmore
Bear likes Mt. Rushmore