Saturday, July 29, 2006

Day 23 - Rushing to Rushmore

TDSCF5617Went out to pack the car at 5:45 AM and Bill R was sitting on the glider ready to go and John and Judy were almost packed, also. Got fuel and off we went on route 18. J & J started out with their usual one headlight until the car warmed up and then they had two! Bob said he had gotten rid of an annoying knock in his car (tightened up the float a motor bolts). I wondered what he meant because I hadn’t been talking for a mile or so. We stopped beside the road to watch the sunrise. We knew it was going to be a scorcher when we saw the red ball rising in the east. The country side was absolutely gorgeous. The sharp contrast of the light color of cut oats and then alfalfa was just like a TDSCF5609painting. We had the road to ourselves and it was cool. All of a sudden we saw small dots darting back and forth across the road. As we approached, we discovered that they were young pheasants and their parents. Very narrowly missed a couple of them. They were eating gravel from the side of the road. The ring necks were beautiful. There was a family of turkeys in the oat field. Then we came to prairie dog town, funny little creatures sitting up alert and then scurrying to their hole.

Hey we have been to Dallas! Now we do not have to go to the national in 2008. Just because it was in South Dakota it still counts. And yes I have signed a paper with signatures from witnesses stating that I WILL NOT go to Dallas in 2008.

Rolled into Pine Ridge for fuel and lunch at 11:00. This little native American burg is a crossroads with construction, one big building for food and fuel and it has pine trees! Took off on route 18 looking for 79. We went through Indian reservation land, many of the residents had a small “shack” with numerous junk cars around it. Passed a road sign, Lone Tree Road and of course there was one tree. Bob that sign said reduce your speed! Don’t have to, we are already reduced.

TDSCF5621J & J and Bill went ahead to try to get out of the unbearable heat. So we kept creeping along and getting nervous as we approached each hill, flirting with vapor lock on each climb. Everything was fine until the last climb before Keystone. So steep, we even had to go to LOW gear. I worried us to the top but not before we boiled and had vapor lock also. Pulled off the road under a tree and began spraying the radiator, everything was so hot on the poor little black coupe. After a few minutes we took off down, down the road to Keystone. As we pulled into the parking lot, there was a welcome committee to greet us. The east side gang (a very welcome site), J & J and Bill all together. It was so good to see everyone. Each day I am so thankful for our air conditioner.

TDSCF5623Got settled in a cool room and all 4 ladies sat down to read the blog and comments. All went to dinner and then to town to shop and have ice cream. We drove to the top of the hill to Mount Rushmore. This has changed drastically since we were here in the 70’s. There are two huge parking garages, and an avenue of flags from each state and an amphitheater. We found a seat and waited for the show. The heads are very impressive. As one sits admiring them, it is very difficult to understand how each 60 ft head was shaped using dynamite. All of a sudden we hear, hey SCVC. Yes you are right, it was Jack C and Don S! We can’t understand how they found us among 1000 people. Again they traveled over 400 miles. That is one tough little roadster and guys also. The program was very patriotic and moving. It was long after a hot day but well worth it. Tomorrow, more record heat predicted, fortunately it is a less mileage day.

Day 20,21,22 063


Anonymous said...

Horray!! You all made it to Rushmore. Now you don't have to rush any more! (now the little black coupe can relax a little,too) "Hi" to everyone! Hope the cars keep running well in spite of the heat. We were surprised of all the changes at Rushmore since we were last there, also. It really is a nice show at night. Have Fun!!!! Chris and Sharon P.

Bob & Mary B said...

Just leave early in the am and keep the sun to your back. When the sun gets in your eyes, call it a day. It's downhill to California.(sort of)
"Two up and two down" or is it "One Up and Three Down?" Anyway, it's cool in Calif.
-Bob B.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on making it to Rushmore! You are not that many states away from California, but unlike the east coast, all of the states are big. Hope it cools off a little. Great temps here.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

July 29, 2006

We left the Fort Randall Motel before 6AM, in the dark, with one headlight on (the other seems to work when it chooses). As the sun began to rise in the clear South Dakota flatlands, we pulled over to the side of the road and snapped a quick shot of the fiery red ball ascending between the Model As. Cornfields interspersed with wheat stretched as far as the eye could see, and the two-lane was running by grouse, and pheasant, and wild turkey…and towns of prairie dogs, warming themselves in first light. Towns with strange sounding names reeled by…Bonesteel, Vetal. We stopped in either Mission or Winner for gas, and a tall lanky Sioux, parked behind us struck up a conversation of sorts. No shirt, with a toothpick in his mouth, Elmer Blue Thunder introduced himself and when I told him who we were, he actually said “how, how”… just like that. Nice guy and very curious about the cars.

Nice road again today, not too much traffic, but hot as blazes out there. We stopped at the Pine Ridge settlement, missing the Wounded Knee site, had a quick lunch, and watched the only main intersection in town under construction billow in dust.

Then came the final push on to Keystone, some 80 miles away under a scorching sun. Somewhere there was a range fire, covering the sky with a dull haze, smelling faintly smoky. We reached Keystone, the gateway to Rushmore after a grueling climb up the mountain in first gear. The cars were hot, we were hot, but we spotted Ray and Bob in the parking lot…and were instantly happy again. We’d finally hooked back up with our friends.

Just a final postscript. Last night, after exploring the town, buying souvenir T-shirts that are too tight, and eating a filling meal I could have done without, we went to Rushmore by Candlelight…sat on hard benches and listened to the Ranger presentation. As we sat down and waited for the show to start, who do you think appears? No, not Santa and his eight tiny reindeers. Jack and Don come out of the waning light into a theater of about 1500 people. “Hi, were here”…

John/Judy, Bob/Patti, Ray/Linda, Bob/Shirley, Jack/Don…reunited

Keyston, South Dakota

Anonymous said...

Just a quick update.

Well today, the tail gunners covered Lacrosse, WI to Sioux Falls, SD. We left early to beat the heat (another good idea that didn’t work!). While cooler than the main group, it was still 100+ when we got in.

We went to breakfast with the Kafer’s to visit their cousins who drove up from IA. Will & Karla found a scenic by-way early in the day and went their own way. At noon, we pulled in for gas and a rest stop at a DQ and SURPRISE—Lancasters were there. We decided to take another scenic by-way the rest of the way in to town. All we saw was corn and beans.

Today was another test of car and driver. Ted had a bolt strip on his alternator which led to 30 minutes on the side of the Interstate.

I started to have major issues with gas, which I thought was Vapor Lock. Finally dead on the road, we spent over an hour in the blazing sun tracing it. It is a long story, but in the end it was a loose electrical connection in the Terminal Box turning off the fuel pump. I also discovered today that I have a significant leak in my transmission. I filled it tonight and I guess Bob M. and I have a lot in common now—check transmissions each night.

Tomorrow we go to the oven known as Rapid City. Weather channel says 107 tomorrow. WOW.

Wish us luck tomorrow,
Susan and Dave

Anonymous said...

Hi to all!
Glad to hear you are doing well and that you are getting the group back
together. The temps are something
else. Luckily, it has cooled down
back home - low 90's. I have been
reading the blog and catching up, but
usually it's late at night and I haven't stayed to write in. Happy trails the rest of the way =). Try to keep COOL!
Kim M.

TubaDad said...

I remember seeing that little movie at Rushmore about 7 years ago. It was really interesting, and I couldn't believe how big the monument is.

Did you go see the other side of Mount Rushmore?

Have a safe drive in the heat. It's cooled off here a lot.


Anonymous said...

Hi to All,
We are enjoying your stories and remembering our trip home from KC in 2000.
We also enjoyed the Native American Museum at "Crazy Horse". By the way that is where I got my "Pet Cat" in a Taxidermi Store. You know the cat that grossed out Bob B ?

Patti if you signed that document,The No Travel Treaty, on an Indian Reservation it is probably worthless.

We will not be home to greet you. We are going to Reno with my Brother and taking our A to Hot Aug Nites. My Baby Brother has been working to finishing the restoration of his 1939 Ford Coupe that he has owend since he was in High School. He and his friends would work all week getting it running for Fri Nite and blow the engine on Sat. Then start over on Mon. I hope he has out grown that.

Have a good trip to Yellowstone. Try to see the museum in Cody, WY.