When I was in middle school in Vietnam, I remember seeing in a textbook an image from the U.S. It showed four heads carved into a mountain. It was impressive, but for whatever reason, when I got to the U.S., I didn’t look it up. Later, I found that the sculptures were located in South Dakota, so I planned to stop by Rapid City on my road trip to Yellowstone.
Mount Rushmore is a beautiful sculpture started by Gutzon Borglum and finished by Lincoln Borglum (Gutzon's son). It is a carving of faces of four presidents of The United States into granite in Black Hills, Keystone. The concept was from head to waist of four presidents (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln), but was cancelled in October 1941 because of financial problems.
The mountain was originally called "The Six Grandfathers" by Native Americans until white people came. The creation of Mount Rushmore is a long story of struggles... but that is the history. As a visitor, I can't deny it is a great work of art made by two generations of a family.
Mount Rushmore is my favorite part of South Dakota, and before getting to this place it was a lovely drive from Sioux Falls; below are some interesting points I passed by...
In Minnesota, I came across thousands of acres of cornfields; and this was what made me speechless in South Dakota. I drove between these fields of sunflowers until the horizon.
Another point of interest between Sioux Falls and Rapid City is South Dakota's original 1880 Town. It is a very small town made by a number of houses originally built in the 1880s. They are all collected in this place which creates a lovely area for visitors.
Everything in this town is originally from the 1880s. It was a bit eerie to see black and white pictures of people that lived in these houses back then, but I couldn’t stop looking around because it was so interesting, from the tables and chairs to the spoons and plates . There are barber shop, post office, banks, train, and many other services that make it feel like a real historical town in the middle of nowhere.
If you have a bank account with Wells Fargo, the logo - a stagecoach and horses - of this old town will remind you of Wells Fargo because of the similarity between their logos. Moreover, if you've ever watched the movie called "Dances with Wolves", you will be familiar with this location because it was filmed here.
Me in red t-shirt, blue shorts, and a pair of flip flops walking on this little road.
I wasn't sure where I was... It was like somewhere in cowboys movies. Behind me is the end point of the 1880 town. The town is very small so that you only need about an hour to see the whole place.
I'm not sure these clothes are original, but they look very old...
From here, I saw a vast land with yellowish grass... and I wanted to say "hi" loudly to somebody at the skyline.
The sunlight looked very exotic in this place. Maybe it was about to rain or something...
It was about 2pm, and I saw this flash from the sky, which I've never seen before. The landscape under it was beautiful.
New Corn Palace in Mitchell is also a very cool location to visit. All the pictures you see in the wall are made from several different kind of corns.
And these pieces of art will be changed to new ones every year in the corn season.
The small town of Mitchell from Corn Palace... It was a very quiet neighborhood.
There were so many unexpected places I came by on this journey. Driving west on Highway 90, I caught the Missouri River, the longest river in North America which goes through many states. It starts from Montana and flows down towards the east until meeting the Mississippi River in Missouri. In the picture, I stand at a very small part of the Missouri River in South Dakota.
These are what I remember about South Dakota.