Dallying in the Dakotas

Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

If I have learned anything from my Yellowstone National Park foray, it is get to the park as early as possible. So it was that I found myself at Mount Rushmore at 6:00AM. No need to play parking lot bingo and another bonus, parking is free before 7:00AM.

I parked and made my way to the monument, along with the other 12 people early enough to beat the crowds. Since Mount Rushmore is a giant mountain with the heads of four presidents (Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt) carved on it, it is very hard to miss. It stares straight at you from the parking lot.

I walked past the columns identifying when each state entered the Union and passed the (closed) restaurant that featured ice cream made with the same recipe used by Thomas Jefferson. Mount Rushmore looked the same, just a little closer.

I looked at it some more. No stirring renditions of the Star-Spangled Banner blared from loudspeakers, no boy scouts recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Not even a costumed Uncle Sam offering photos for $5.00 a shot. I looked around for a booth where someone would take my picture as the 5th head on the mountain, but if there was one, it was closed.

After 5 minutes, I asked a lady to take my picture. She did. I took hers. Then I left.

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North Dakota

The drive from Mount Rushmore to Saskatoon, Canada takes 11 to 12 hours and goes the length of North Dakota. It is mostly a single lane highway, basically flat, straight and completely lacking in anything I find remotely interesting.

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For those of you (like me) that seek to make border entries as quick and painless as possible, the border crossing at Fortuna, North Dakota/Oungre, Saskatchewan doesn’t have a Nexus line. Good thing there was only one other vehicle there.

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