After camp breakfast (cold oatmeal, made with lukewarm water heated over the remains of the campfire), we headed out to Mt. Rushmore.
In spite of the cold beginning, the weather was glorious today. We had a great visit with the presidents, including a brief tour with a guide who was clearly still honing her skills.
From there, we thought to stop by the Crazy Horse monument on our way to Jewel Cave. But when we drove in, we discovered it was nearly $30 just to get a closer glimpse than you do from the road. Oh, and also for the opportunity to buy souvenirs. So, we turned around after taking a picture.
We went onward to Jewel Cave, only to learn that we should have called ahead to make reservations for a tour. So, we made reservations for a late afternoon tour, and drove back to town for some lunch.
We had lunch at the Cowboy Cafe in Custer City, where I had a buffalo burger, just for some authentic something or other. It tasted unsurprisingly a lot like hamburger. It was drier, and I think that’s because it’s a leaner meat, rather than overcooking. But who knows.
After lunch, we went across the street to the mini-golf place that only took cash, and played a round of 18, which takes nearly forever with a family of five. Two of the children took turns being cranky.
From there, with a little time to kill, we stopped at the National Museum of Woodcarving, also about $30 to get in, but it seemed more worthwhile than Crazy Horse. After having paid, we learned that it is really a gallery of one person’s work. An amazing artist, to be sure, but I found the name to be rather deceptive.
Then finally, our appointment at Jewel Cave. And the cave did not disappoint. We had a tour of about an hour and a half, which started with a 27 second elevator ride down 230 feet. It’s an amazing cave, with many large caverns, and they’ve built in platforms and stairs and catwalks and sidewalks for a great walking tour (lots of steps, though!) The kids did not get bored, even though much of the crystal structure was the same throughout. This guide seemed much more at ease and practiced. Highly recommended.