The Mount Rushmore presidents were the brain child of Gutzon Borglum, a sculptor, who was already in his 60s when he started the project in 1927. Luckily his son, Lincoln, assisted him and saw the completion of his name sake and the three other presidents in 1941, just a few months after Gutzon died!

The original concept was for a much bigger sculpture, with the figures depicted to their waists, but typically the money ran out and we have to be content with just their heads…….. Still an amazing legacy!

This was Borglans original model which the masons and artists worked to.

This was Borglum’s original model which the masons and artists worked from.

 

Washington in profile from the road leading to our campsite.

Washington in profile from the road leading to our campsite.

 

We had arrived early, for once, and made our way down to Keystone; a tourist town that lies at the foot of Mt Rushmore. Chain saw carving by local artists dominate the lower end of the town.

We had arrived early, for once, and made our way down to Keystone; a tourist town that lies at the foot of Mt Rushmore. Chain saw carving by local artists dominate the lower end of the town. As you can see by the number of photos, it was pretty amazing stuff!

Some beautiful work.

Some beautiful work….

.....and more!

…..and more!

ditto!

ditto!

....and finally.

….and finally.

Mount Rushmore as we drove up thinking we were going to be too late for the lighting up, but again we had crossed a time barrier and were half an hour early!!

This is the view of Mount Rushmore at twilight. We drove up thinking we were going to be too late for the lighting up ceremony………but again we had crossed a time barrier and were half an hour early!!

The lighting up ceremony is one full of patriotic fervour. As well as a bit about Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt, there is a lot of flag waving and grandiose statements about the greatness of America. Servicemen and women and veterans were asked to go onto the stage for the national anthem and a to be thanked for their service........and then the lights came up to rapturous applause. Maybe I am a little cynical, but thank goodness there's no room for the present incumbent's head......even if it were of a normal proportion!

The lighting up ceremony is one full of patriotic fervour.

As well as a bit about Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt, there is a lot of flag waving and celebration of the greatness of America. Servicemen and women and veterans were asked to go onto the stage for the national anthem and a to be thanked for their service……..and then the lights came up to rapturous applause. Maybe I am a little cynical, but thank goodness there’s no room for the present incumbent’s head……even if it were of a normal proportion!

Back down onto the plains and on our way to Deadwood.

Back down onto the high plains and on our way to Deadwood Gulch. The yellow fields are mile after mile of sunflowers. The silver space ships on the right are the local farmers co operative silos. Judging by the landscape, they must travel miles of farm tracks to bring there produce to the road.

The Deadwood trail still exists next to the road and there are occasional 'Stage Stations' where the stage coaches would have changed horses.

The Deadwood trail was one of the main gold rush trails bringing prospectors, gamblers, settlers and good time girls out east to seek their fortunes. The trail still exists next to the road and there are occasional ‘Stage Stations’ where the stage coaches would have changed horses. Every year there is a reenactment that travels the length of the trail…..I don’t think it’s with wagons though!

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Off the plains and back into 'them thar hills' on the way to Deadwood Gulch.

Off the high plains and back into ‘them thar hills’ on the way to Deadwood Gulch.

Deadwood, of Calamity Jane fame and Dorris Day singing ‘Oh the Deadwood stage is comin on over the hill’, is now a tourist town, but at the height of the gold rush it was a bustling, dirty, lawless muddy street with boardwalks, brothels and boozers. We pitched up in Saloon No.10…..named for the fact that it was the 10th saloon to open in the town…..not very imaginative!!  It was here that Wild Bill Hicock played his last game of poker and was shot down by a no good dirty varmint. We timed our libation too perfection and were there to see the reenactment take place!

Wild Bill filling us in on the life he led.

Wild Bill filling us in on the life he led.

 

 Outside Saloon No.10 on the High Street.

Outside Saloon No.10 on the Main Street.

 

.....and inside.

…..and inside.

 

Another inside. What suddenly struck us, here in Saloon No.10, was that the Saturday morning cinema westerns we were brought up on, were not about the real olden days, because the history of the wild west is here on the walls of the bar in photographs!

Another inside and an epiphany!
What suddenly struck us, here in Saloon No.10, was that the Saturday morning cinema westerns we were brought up on, were not about a centuries old struggle between Cowboys and Indians, because the history of the wild west was captured here on the walls of the bar in photographs taken at the time…….so that must have been after the camera was invented!!

 

Deadwood's tourist information centre in the form of an old Chuck wagon.

Deadwood’s tourist information centre in the form of an old Chuck wagon.

 

Back on the trail across the high plains to the town of Sheridan and back into phone signal range.

Back on the trail across the high plains to the town of Sheridan and back into phone signal range.

Our campsite on an old battlefield in Sheridan.

Our campsite on an old battlefield in Sheridan.

This was two days after my Mum broke her hip and I was desperate to call my sister, Libby, to find out how she was doing. No need to have worried…..My Mum had had an operation to plate and pin the hip and three hours after, she was telling the nurses where I was and what I was doing! She was the stellar patient, having recovered faster than anyone expected and being totally with it. My sister had dropped everything and flown straight over from Ireland to be with her. Being so far away made me feel a bit useless and very concerned! A broken hip at 98 is no small thing.

Passing on therough Big Horn National Forest we were heading for Cody. Pictures cannot do justice to the magnificent scenery.

Passing on through Big Horn National Forest we were heading for Cody. Pictures cannot do justice to the magnificent scenery.

Imagine the determination and logistics of driving a road and wagon trains through this terrain!

Imagine the determination and logistics of driving a road and wagon trains through this terrain!

Awesome......

Awesome……

A selfie at the top of the pass and then down through gorges on the other.

A selfie at the top of the pass and then down through passes and gorges on the other side.

On our way down to Cody.

On our way down to Cody.

Almost there.

Almost there.

We stayed at The Ponderosa campsite in Cody for two nights.

And we arrived……..We stayed at The Ponderosa campsite in Cody for two nights. We didn’t stay in these…..just behind the camera was the tent site.

The site on the Ponderosa we didn't pitch tent......a little too arid and steep for us!

The other tent site at the Ponderosa we didn’t pitch tent……a little too arid and steep for us!

The first night we went to a real live Rodeo.....Marcus bought the shirt to look the part. (you'll see the shirt in a later picture!)

The first night in Cody, we went to a real live Rodeo…..Marcus bought a new shirt to look the part. (you’ll see the shirt in a later picture!)

More from the Rodeo. It's a really dangerous sport and one of the bull riders fell and broke his arm.....he had trouble scaling the fence to get clear of the bull he'd fallen off!

More from the Rodeo. It’s a really dangerous sport and one of the bull riders fell and broke his arm…..he had trouble scaling the fence to get clear of the bull he’d fallen off!

Cody is named after Buffalo Bill Cody. As all of you Saturday morning cinema goers will recall, Buffalo Bill had a travelling Wild West show that toured America. Well in the late 1800’s, he took his show to Europe. His visit to England received Royal recognition in the form of a rosewood bar, presented to him by Queen Victoria in thanks for his entertaining show…..not an easy gift to transport, but they managed to haul it across the mountains and plains and it sits resplendent in the hotel bar. In Cody we met some new friends. Sergio, Veronica and their daughter, Fausta. They were on their return from Alaska, in their RV, back home to Playa del Carmen, in Mexico. More friends to visit when we make our way into the western Caribbean in 2019!

Sergio, Veronica and.....?...out side Buffalo Bill's hotel, waiting for the reenactment of a gun fight.

Sergio, Veronica and Fausta, out side Buffalo Bill’s hotel, waiting for the reenactment of a gun fight.

Tension building outside the saloon!

Tension building outside the saloon!

There's the shirt getting in on the act!!

There’s the shirt getting in on the act!!

 

On the road again, just north of Cody, there is the dam that saves this area from being desert and allows the town and its neighbouring ranches to survive.

On the road again and just north of Cody, there is the dam that saves this area from being desert and allows the town and its neighbouring ranches to survive.

This wooden ball was one of the original 'plugs' that were lowered down the lakeside wall of the dam to stop the flow.......so simple but effective!

This wooden ball was one of the original ‘plugs’ that were lowered down the lakeside wall of the dam to stop the flow…….so simple but effective!

 

More stunning scenery on our way towards Yellowstone Park.

More stunning scenery on our way towards Yellowstone Park.

 

This extraordinary house was on a hill on one side of the road in the middle of nowhere .........

This extraordinary house was on a hill on one side of the road in the middle of nowhere ………

 

.......while on the other we saw this! The inspiration for one must come from the other, but it's horrendous to think of the number of deer or elk that were shot to build this trophy stack!

…….while on the other we saw this! The inspiration for one must come from the other, but it’s horrendous to think of the number of deer or elk that were shot to build this trophy stack!

 

More amazing scenery on our way to Yellowstone.

More amazing scenery on our way to Yellowstone. What must the early settlers have thought when the came across this grandeur?

 

Yellowstone National Park at last!

Yellowstone National Park at last! This was just after we entered the park, before we drove uphill again to Yellowstone Lake, which sits in the caldera of this vast ‘active’ volcano at 8,000′. We booked in to Bridge Bay campsite for two nights….not really long enough to do justice to the wonders Yellowstone holds, but we managed to see a great deal!

 

 

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