June 16 Mt Rushmore and Ellsworth AFB


Thought we’d head out to Mt Rushmore today ..  in that we’re close’ .. we need to check it out .. Took us 2 hours to get to Mt Rushmore .. almost all I 90 W driving ..  speed limit is 75 .. no traffic … nice !  Good news .. no charge to enter park .. BUT .. there was an $11 ‘parking’ fee … Which reminds me .. my ‘Senior’ Pass (also know as a Geezer Pass) .. is the greatest .. bought it a few years ago for $10 … it allows us to enter all National Parks for free .. as you can tell .. we’ve been using the heck out of it on this trip :)..  Anyway .. Mt Rushmore was pretty interesting .. amazing how it was built from a a mountain of granite using mostly dynamite to do most of the work ….  mastermind sculpturer .. Gutzon Borglum (Danish) and a team of 400 mostly local workers worked on this project from 1927-1941 ….  Alot of stories of the project and how it was built … very interesting … After our tour of Mt Rushmore .. we headed to …. Keystone for lunch .. Keystone is town just before Mt Rushmore .. population of approx 340 .. It’s a town built on tourism .. numerous stores, shops .. gunfighter shows  .. lots of Wild West stuff that us tourists love … 🙂  Missed the gunfighter show .. but .. did see a gunslinger who was at least 7 ft tall !  Had lunch at a deli called ‘Teddy’s’ ….  (as in Teddy Roosevelt) ….  On the way home .. we stopped at a Airforce Museum near Grand Rapids … small museum .. but they did have quite a few planes displayed outside … 2 of the ‘antiques’ on display were planes I worked on while I was stationed at Edwards AFB .. T33 and T38 .. Those planes were old when I was working on them .. now .. they’re in museums …. so .. how old does that make me ??  :).  Also spent $8 to take a bus tour of the base and also to check out a Minuteman Missile training module … It was an actual training module of silo that housed the missiles …  these missiles have long since been de-commissioned  .. they were built primarily for ‘Cold War’ ….. There were approx 134 missile silos in and around South Datkota area … missiles were controlled by ground control stations that were located away from the silos … tomorrow we may go see an actual control station … if we can get reservations .. we will be able to get into the control center .. very interesting stuff !!  The ‘tour’ of Ellsworth AFB was a bit misleading .. bus driver just pointed out areas on the base .. ie.. ‘there is base housing’ .. there is the motor pool .. there is the fire dept  .. etc .. and I’m saying .. ‘where are the planes .. where is the flightline’  … sadly .. they were NOT on the tour … Bus tour was just meant to drive us to a Minuteman Transporter .. and the Training Module .. Ellsworth is now home to about 34 B1 bombers .. and it is the ground control station for the ‘Reaper’ .. a drone aircraft …. drone ‘pilots’ can ‘fly’ aircraft based anywhere overseas from Ellsworth .. amazing technology ….. Ellsworth has alot WW II history behind it ….. Interesting stuff !!!


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