Mount Rushmore
Weather: It was raining when we left Yellowstone for Montana and it rained on our way to Mt. Rushmore until around 10,000 feet when it started to blizzard and then it turned back into rain that followed us to Mt. Rushmore where it was clear the next day for our photos and then started to rain again on our way to Chicago.

Everybody but Steven and April were playing Nintendo when Steven said we were getting near a cloud. Then he said we were in a cloud. Then he said we just passed a cloud so we finally took notice. It was really pretty cool, we were up high... about 8500ft or so. We took pictures and kept going. Somewhere along the line we switched and I started to drive. The rain started to come at me horizontally and I figured it had started to snow. Then it started to blizzard. The snow covered everything as I switched into 4-wheel drive. The snow around the windshield wipers was getting so packed you almost had to clear it away with your hand. Luckily the road started to drop again after peaking somewhere around 10k and the snow turned to rain.

We continued through Wyoming and into South Dakota where we arrived at our hotel in Custer around 2am. Tired and dirty we fell asleep after getting the keys from the office door where they were taped. We figured we'd take showers in the morning. In the morning I called the office around 9am and then constantly until around 9:30 when I gave up; no answer. Meanwhile April and Chris started to take showers in the respective rooms when we got a call at 10am saying we had to checkout right away. We were pretty mad and quickly through our stuff together. I noticed some kids cleaning and making the bed in the room next to us and decided that was nice of them. Little did I know the hotel was run by children. Chris and I went to check out and the office was closed and dark (explaining the phone not being picked up). So we asked some kids near the supply closet how to check out. They said, "Oh, just leave the keys in the drop box." I explained that I didn't think I had paid to which the 12 year old replied, "Ohhhhh, Ohhh, I'd better call my grandmother." Chris and I exchanged looks as he retreated into the supply closet and another twelve-year old girl stared at us blankly. Apparently the one 16 year old explained that my credit card had been charged, go figure.

We went to eat lunch at a nearby place and were served by some 11 year olds, again, go figure. After that we saw the great Mount Rushmore. It was pretty darn cool. The granite it is made of wears away at the rate of 1in per 10,000 years. So it will be around long after us, longer then the pyramids. There is also a hallway of records with some ceramic tiles detailing the history of the USA and other important stuff so people will know what the faces stand for in the future. Borglum (the sculpter) originally wanted a huge room hewn from the rock with busts and stone tablets but he didn't get a chance to finish that part. We caught a talk on how the heads were carved (90% with dynamite) and got to lift one of the jack hammers that were used (heavy). Of the 400+ men who worked on the monument, none died, pretty good since they did all the work hanging over the edge.

We continued on our way along the roughly 14 hour trip to Chicago. The rain came back and stayed with us with an occasional severe storm warning thrown in for good measure. At one dry point Chris pulled over, drawn by a large sign proclaiming "MAZE". Chris, Tim, Pat, and I proceded to spend 40 minutes running through this huge wooden maze. It was crazy! Difficult, yet fun. Afterwards, we all went across the street (route 80) to the go-cart place. For $19 we able to race for 2 hours along a huge track with many curves and even some tunnels. It was very awesome. After go-carting we played the video game Police 911 which reacts to your body movements, very cool as well. Continuing on our way we drove through the night and got to Chicago around 2:30pm the next day.

Shawn, Tim, and Chris in a cloud (at this point by it)

The blizzard that we hit

Old Restaurant
Some cool old diner made from a train, I can't remember exactly where it was

Us at Mt. Rushmore
Us in front of Mt. Rushmore

MTR again
Closer view of the monument

The maze we ran around in (notice Tim)

Nebraska sign
The welcome to Nebraska sign we took a small detour to see

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© 1997-2001 Shawn Patton