Mount Rushmore is a "cannot miss" attraction during your visit to South Dakota. I mean, you can try to skip it if you want to but I'm pretty sure that if you do biker gangs will track you down and force you to see it. By the way, bikers LOVE South Dakota. I'm not sure why but we ran into gangs of them where ever we went in South Dakota. Maybe biker gangs like Free Ice Water.
Our drive To Mount Rushmore was very interesting mostly because we got lost. Ok, I'll admit it. I got lost. I was driving and in spite of 47 million signs pointing the way to Mount Rushmore I managed to drive in the exact opposite direction of where we needed to go. In my defense, at a crucial turn I was distracted by a man on the side of the road carving a log into the shape of a bear with a chainsaw. I mean, he was using a chainsaw to do it. He wasn't carving a bear holding a chainsaw. Although that also would have been very distracting.
Once we starting seeing signs directing us to Wall Drug we realized we were going the wrong way and turned back around. I may have cried a little bit. Remember, pregnancy + naturally emotional personality = crazy person crying because when she drives past the bear carving guy he's just sitting there eating a sandwich and not carving.
Once we got to Mount Rushmore I scored an awesome parking spot in the parking garage. I considered sending out postcards that said "Wish you were here ... to admire my parking spot!"
Then we started the long walk up to to monument viewing area.
From about this point on Jesse demanded total silence from the kids. I think he wanted them to appreciate the majesty and the beauty of Rushmore. Or maybe he had heatstroke and he thought we were in a library. Who knows? We were no longer speaking at this point.
Of course I have the two most talkative children on the planet and they chattered all the way up the hill. The best part was when Elle yelled "I tooted and my dress go-ed up in the back!" The other best part was when Joseph kept whining that he couldn't see anything and why were we even here and oh my god, why didn't we realize he needed glasses? I think this next picture nicely captures the general mood of the moment once we got to the top of the hill.
Because I am an awesome wife I tried to get the kids into the spirit that Jesse wanted them to be in and to be patriotic and stand with their hands over their hearts. Elle asked for clarification on which hand to use.
While I was showing her what to do Joseph laid down on the ground. "Knock it off and put your hand over your heart!" I snapped. Even the tourists around us complied.
I kid about the majesty of Rushmore but it actually is fairly impressive.
Old dead white guys in the house! There's George Washington!
Three things you need to know about Lincoln. 1. He is sporting a major Conan O'Brian pompadour. 2. Is it just me or does he not look totally done? Like the sculptors got about mid-cheek and said "Eh, good enough." 3. Joseph was obsessed with Lincoln. He had heard there was a secret room inside Lincoln's head and he would not let the subject drop. He wanted into that room. He would not stop talking about it. Finally he asked a Rushmore employee if there was a secret room in Lincoln's head. I stood behind him and made frantic "NO!" gestures. This woman happened to be gesture-interpretation- challenged. "Oh yeah" she said "but it's mostly just used to store fireworks and stuff." Thank you lady. The only thing that would have made that answer worse was if she had said "Oh yeah. The
Super Mario Brothers live back there and they have 8 billion Legos and also unlimited Nestle Crunch bars and sometimes Violet from The Incredibles stops by."
Eventually Joseph stopped crying over not being allowed to go in the room. And Elle stopped crying over Joseph crying. And I stopped crying over having such easily crushed kids. And Jesse agreed to be within a 100 foot radius again. Anyway...
We were all confused about what was going on with Teddy's head here. Elle thought he was wearing a hat. Joseph said "What face? What are you talking about? What's on his head? Huh?" Because I knew Lincoln had a head full of pyrotechnics I thought it might have had something to do with a fireworks display but I also liked Elle's hat theory.
As we stood and admired Rushmore I started to notice that people around us were eating ice cream. Yes, I had wicked all-day sickness and yes, we were in front of America's most famous monument but I wasn't going to not notice ice cream. I wanted that ice cream. So I told Jesse "Let's get some ice cream! It's like a thing that people do, getting ice cream at Rushmore."
It didn't take much to convince Jesse. It was (as far as I can recall) 147 degrees out that day. I had also spent most of the trip refusing to eat (thanks morning sickness) so when I expressed an interest in food Jesse was all over it.
We waited in line for 47 hours for that ice cream and it cost us $47. I chose mint chocolate chip aka neon green frozen milk with brown wax chunks. Elle chose chocolate soft serve.
Joseph chose cookies and cream and decided that instead of eating it he would smear it all over his face and absorb it via osmosis.
I don't remember what Jesse got because we were still not speaking at this time. Probably some cranky old man flavor like butter pecan.
But as the time passed and we ate more ice cream we all calmed down and chilled out. The ice cream made us get along! It had magic powers! We started to have fun! Once we were done eating we decided to hit the gift shop. Still high on ice cream I offered to buy Joseph a souvenir. He yelled "I want a giant eraser! Why don't they have giant erasers? All this other stuff is crappy!"
Then we left Mount Rushmore. As we left I got a tear in my eye. Maybe it was the patriotism, maybe it was the sadness at leaving a beloved national monument. Maybe I didn't want to give-up that sweet ass parking spot. Whatever it was, it made Jesse mutter "Jesus, did you see another bear carver eating a sandwich?"
That's all for now! As always, visit flickr for more pictures and be sure to stay tuned because next time we visit Bear Country and see and a raccoon do things that one should not mention in mixed company.
One year ago today we had a Slip n Slide.
Two years ago today I took Joseph to a crack barn.