Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mt. Rushmore Close-Up Photos of "The Guys"

For those of you who haven't made it to Mt. Rushmore yet, here are some photos of "the guys" close-up and why Gutzon Borglum decided each should be on Mt. Rushmore~ enjoy!!

George Washington, being our first president 
represents the BIRTH of our country.

Thomas Jefferson symbolizes the EXPANSION of the nation,
he is credited with Louisiana Purchase in 1803.

Theodore Roosevelt represents the DEVELOPMENT of our country. 
He promoted construction of the Panama Canal. 

Lincoln embodies the PRESERVATION of the nation in
confronting the challenges of the Civil War.

Easy and affordable - no matter where you are! 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Custer State Park in the fall, South Dakota

We enjoyed a drive around Custer State Park to see the fall foliage - lots of yellow, but very little red and orange ~ still beautiful, though.  We enjoyed our drive along the Pig Tails, Iron Mountain Road, the Needles and Sylvan Lake. Here's a link to more pictures when we tok a longer version of this drive in May: link.
Easy and affordable - no matter where you are! 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Purple Pie Place Restaurant & The National Museum of Woodcarving, Custer, South Dakota

After our foray into Jewel Cave, we drove into the City of Custer (not to be confused with Custer State Park) for a bite to eat.  Having been for pie before, we stopped at the Purple Pie Place for lunch and has a fabulous meal ~ chicken & veggie potpie for Suzanne and since it was the last one available, a turkey Panini for Brad ~ both great! Of course, peach pie with lots of ice cream was the perfect finish to the meal. Definitely, definitely this is the place to eat when in the city of Custer, South Dakota ~ yum!

So the “National” (quotes are ours) Museum of Woodcarving……hmmmmm……  The only reason we went was because it was on the VIP card, so we could get in for free (normally $9 per adult). Basically, a man named Harley Niblack (1894-1966) had a passion for woodcarving and was financially sound enough to retire at the age of 42 and spend the rest of his life woodcarving and creating little engines so the woodcarvings could have movement. To his credit, he did have three of his woodcarvings displayed in The Smithsonian Institute. We could appreciate the fine detail that went into these carvings, but at $9 per person, for us, this is not something we would have done if it wasn’t free.  (Now, ask our neighbors what they thought – they loved it – to each their own, as they say.)

Easy and affordable - no matter where you are! 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Jewel Cave, South Dakota

At 160.02 miles (as of 9/5/2012), Jewel Cave is the second longest cave in the world, and still only 3-5% discovered. We went on the 1 hour 20 minute scenic tour (free for us under our VIP card, normally $8 per adult) and enjoyed our time.

Jewel Cave is very different than Wind Cave, with it’s large rooms (one, which we did not enter, named the Bug Duh is 570 feet long, 180 feet wide and 30 feet tall) and calcite crystals that sparkle (thus the name). Photos, as you can tell, were difficult to take due to the largeness of the rooms.

Cave Bacon ~ below.

So the VIP card we have mentioned fairly frequently in our posts is a card that gets us into many Black Hills attractions for free. VIP stands for Visitor Industry Partners and the goal is to give employees the opportunity to visit area attractions so when visitors ask a questions about where to go or what to do, we can give informed answers. One question we often get while working at the Mt. Rushmore Bookstore: “We’re short on time and can only visit one cave – which one should we go, Wind Cave or Jewel Cave?” And now we can answer it with our own experience, not just that garnered by others…..and the answer is……Wind Cave!  Why? Because if you’ve visited Mammoth Cave in Kentucky or Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, or most any other cave in the US, you’ll basically see the same thing as Jewel Cave.  Wind Cave is different – it has 98% of the world’s boxwork formations, and if you can only go to one cave in the area, then that’s the one we recommend. 

Final note ~ it is suspected that someday it will be discovered that Jewel Cave and Wind Cave are connected, so then the only decision to be made is whether to call it Jewel-Wind Cave or Wind-Jewel Cave...........
Easy and affordable - no matter where you are! 

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