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Day 23, Sunday June 11, 2017:
Deadwood, South Dakota - Mount Rushmore -> Rushmore Cave -> Keystone, South Dakota

This was a breakfast in the room day so that streamlined things a little. Instead of coordinating to be ready to leave for breakfast we can just keep pecking away at things including breakfast until ready.

We were a little more than an hour down the road when Mount Rushmore came into view. From the highway, it looked like a miniature of what I expected. Big things on bigger mountains can look that way. We pulled over and got a few pictures from the distance.

The site is a national monument and once again nobody was checking passes. The parking concession did collect ten dollars without fail. The monument becomes more and more impressive as you get closer and closer while learning more and more about it. I was amazed at the granite construction that had gone into the viewing areas and site in general. The walkways, stairways, Avenue of Flags, Amphitheatre, museum and everything in between were all finished granite blocks. The monument with faces 6 stories tall gets bigger and bigger as you approach. The Presidential trail is actually an elegant railed boardwalk gets you up close from below. We also got to visit the Sculptors Studio to learn more about the creation and watched movie in the museum. By the end it all seemed pretty awesome even before considering the technology of the day when created.

That consumed the morning and it was a short doubling back to Keystone, where we would be staying for 2 nights. We were in town before check-in but in good time for a late lunch. We settled on Ruby House & the Red Garter Saloon. I had a buffalo melt burger. I think I have had buffalo before but I can't remember when or where. It was beef like, lean and benefited from the juice of the toppings. It had a grand old west hotel feel with much of the dining room rising in a 2-story atrium space. The downtown in Keystone isn't huge but it has a nice vacation place feel with boardwalk sidewalks. They have the usual range of casual local restaurants, t-shirt emporiums, Indian trading post (gift store) candy and bars. The boardwalk wound around the corner right to our hotel placing this in our proverbial back yard.

We settled in to the hotel with much of the afternoon still ahead of us. We decided to check-out the Rushmore Cave. All the brochures showed happy people with colorful helmets and headlamps. I was bummed out that we didn't get the cool helmets to wear but the hour hike through the cave was refreshing on the hot day though pretty much like other caves we had been through. Sometimes slippery walkways, steps, stalactites, stalagmites and a few other variations of crystalline accumulations formed by dripping minerals. The guide was good and the crowd nice.

Our hotel was now a Ramada Inn but until recently was the Whitehouse Resort and included that part of the main street that would around the corner. The desk staff had a hard time telling where the guest laundry was and Lorna never did find it. The room had some wallpaper accents at the tops of the walls that must have gone badly and were partially peeled away, a work in progress apparently. Old bedding was stacked in the parking lot and signs of construction could be seen down the corridors. When we arrived, the rooms were numbered with post-it notes on the walls. When we left room number plaques had been affixed. The place overall was quite OK and will be nice when finished; location, location, location. The village is packed into a gulch and real estate is scarce. The parking slots were perhaps the narrowest I ever needed to use.

A light dinner sounded good and we ended up at Teddy's Deli at the far end of the boardwalk. It was neat to leave the room and just roam. Whatever I first asked for they had run out of late on this Sunday afternoon. The fallback was a tuna melt, with pickles and homemade chips, it was a nice simple meal enjoyed on a boardwalk table.

We roamed around the town, learned about the death and devastation from the 1972 Black Hills Flood, browsed in a rock shop, bought taffy, got gas and breakfast milk. We came across several rock shops along the trip that have cool big rocks in large quantity for small money. With that it was time to head back and settle in for the night.

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Created May 14, 2017