Friday, September 20, 2013

Mount Rushmore and Return to Buffalo, WY

We got new driver's licenses yesterday.  Apparently there is some question as to whether full time RVers will be able to renew online.  The capability exists, but we may be a special class of citizen who has to re-up in person.  Rather than return, I think we'll "move" to Texas.  The place is just too damn far from everywhere.
Afterwards, we went out to Mt. Rushmore.  Call me jaded, but I'm not sure why this is such a tourist attraction.  The area is surrounded by hotels, RV parks, tee shirt shops and other assorted stuff designed to separate people from their money.  So, been there, seen that.

Then we went to the SD Air and Space Museum, it's outside the main gate of Ellsworth AFB.  They have a base tour done in a bus, which allows one to visit a Minuteman missile in its underground silo. 

This is a B1B.  We were fortunate to see one in the traffic pattern over Ellsworth.  They are a noisy airplane.  However, cooler than that, we saw a B52H fly over the airport.  I have never seen one in the air.

This is in the museum, it's a control room for the Minuteman missile.  These things were all over the midwest during the cold war.  There was a combination of missiles in silos, as well as missiles on mobile launchers roaming the fields of America's heartland.

This is outside of Gillete, WY.  The stacks belong to a plant that processes coal, makes electricity and does something with natural gas.  It's huge.  It's part of the Wyodak Mine complex.

What I found interesting is that they are strip mining right up to the edge of I90.  See the black?  That's coal.

This is the mine as seen from space.  It's enormous.  The coal trains are also enormous, some of them stretch for a good mile.

As I have previously mentioned, there is much construction on I90 in both directions.  In many places the freeway in one direction is down to dirt, so traffic is diverted into the oncoming lanes, resulting in two way traffic.  This doesn't work so well when there is an oversize load.  We came to a complete stop on the freeway, due to its being closed to allow this to make its way down the road.  It's mining related, whatever it is.

More road construction.

Today has been full of agita.  We've been doing short drives so that we can get in to the campground early and get the satellite going in time to see the America's Cup.  Emirates-New Zealand has to win ONE more to take the cup, Oracle would have to win the next seven in a row.  Being stopped on the freeway waiting for the wide load to pass was the first aggravation.  Then, when we got in to the park, the race was no longer on the NBCSports lineup, too much wind given as the reason.  To date, two legs of the race have been called off due to excessive wind speeds, both times E-NZ was in the process of beating Oracle.  Finally, they got a race off in very light air, E-NZ was again beating Oracle, and the race was called due to not making the time cut.  We are never going to make it back to Seattle if the Kiwis don't get this race done and take the cup back to New Zealand.  They did get a second race off, and Oracle won.  If E-NZ doesn't win one more, they're going to have seek asylum, they will never be able to go home again.
We're back at Deer Park in Buffalo, WY.  I like this park.

Later we went for a walk and saw pronghorns in the field next door.

Tomorrow we are up and out for Garryowen.  It's where George Custer met his end.


  1. We've always felt the same way about Mt. Rushmore. I bothers my husband, a history teacher, that they have made such a big deal about something with no historical significance. Someone was paid to sculpt these faces. It truly is a tourist trap. You can see it beautifully from several spots out on the road. Crazy Horse is my favorite.

  2. I actually loved Mt. Rushmore. Yes, workers were paid to work on the sculpting crew, but it was the dream of one man, Gutzon Borglum, and his son. I found the film that explained the making of it helped me appreciate it more. And aside from the parking fee, there was no need to spend money. We did buy a magnet, but that was it, and cheap. Ironically, we were there on Sept. 19th, same as you, and I've been reading your blog for some time as we are potentially future RVers, currently traveling without an RV, so it would have been pretty cool to meet up while we were both there on that same day. What are the odds?!