We left our campsite yesterday morning at 8am (setting a new record). The drive through the Black Hills National Forest was beautiful and we took the Peter Norbeck National Scenic Byway on 16A to arrive at a great vantage point across from Mt. Rushmore. Our very first sighting of the monument was kinda funny when Finn suggested I take a photo of a rock bluff off in the distance — just because it was tall and a nice shot. Neither of us knew I had just taken my first picture of Mount Rushmore until we drove a little further and Finn said; “Wait, that’s it!” After taking in the amazing vista, we backtracked because further on down the road are tunnels that are too low for our RV to fit (good thing we read the signs!).
Next we drove into Keystone, SD and explored the town. One of my many travel books (Frommer’s Exploring America by RV) suggested we hop aboard the 1880 steam-engine Black Hills Central Railroad for a 10-mile trip to Hill City. We saw the train station in town and did just that. We purchased a round trip ride and had 45 minutes in Hill City to walk around and grab lunch. The whole thing took 3 hours and was a nice view of the Black Hills. Not on the “must see” list, but relaxing.
After visiting Keystone we drove to Mt. Rushmore to see it up-close. It’s $11 to get into the grounds and park. Inside there is a museum, amphitheater, walking paths, and of course a great view of the monument. We did a lot of it but not everything. The pass is good until 12/31/11 so we might go back to see the rest. Without a doubt this is on the “must see” list. It amazing to see in person and the story is fascinating.