We have spent the last few days camping in State Forest and National Park campgrounds. All are very well-resourced (by Australian camping standards), and it seems to be a standard thing at this time of the year that the state forest campgrounds have a host who takes the camping fees, keeps the toilets clean and mows the grass on and around the sites. The night after our electrifying experience near Sundance, we camped in a little campground near Nemo in the Black Hills. Lovely, apart from the serenity-shattering generator that seemed to be almost constantly running in the large RV parked at the site next to us. And while I’m having a whinge, although this is really just an observation of a cultural difference – Americans love having open fires when they camp. They rarely use them for cooking or to keep warm (they have RVs with loud generators for that!), although they might toast marshmallows to make s’mores (sweet biscuit, Hershey’s chocolate & marshmallow sandwiched together, way too sweet for me), It is totally against our nature to have a campfire in summer.
So, to touristy stuff, sort of … we visited Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse monument-in-progress yesterday. Actually, ‘visited’ might be a bit misleading. We parked a few hundred metres either side of the carpark entrance to Rushmore and looked at it from face-on, and then at the profile of George Washington. As it was a Sunday, the queue to get into the carpark was long, and we didn’t want to pay $11 . It’s ‘free’ to get into Rushmore, but they get you by charging you to park, and there’s no parking anywhere outside near the monument. I really liked the profile, and it was much closer than the face-on view would have been, even from inside the monument’s grounds. The Crazy Horse monument was started in the late 1940s, and is expected to take many, many years to complete. So far only his face, the upper edge of his outstretched arm and part of the horse’s head and mane have been done.
And here’s the song you’ve all been waiting for – the lyrics are there so if you don’t know all the words, you can sing still along