Monday, July 27, 2009

Minuteman Missiles, Rushmore and Crazy Horse

Woke up in Wall, SD with plans to see some rockets. There were lots of storms in the area so I decided to go see the Minuteman Missile Site just east of Wall. I drove 30 minutes east (the wrong way) to get there at 9AM, but the tour was full. Doh. So I went out to the sites myself to see what I could see. Pretty cool, even without a guide.


The hardened security vehicle they drove around in.


And a bomb-proof UHF antenna. Made by Collins, for Boeing. Neat! There was a ranger at the site, answering questions and giving history lessons. He let me know that if I couldn't get on the tour today, that the Air Force base an hour or so west had a silo you could actually go down inside. Cool!


I went to the launch control facility too, to get a cool pic.


Continuing west, I stopped by Ellsworth Air Force Base and took a tour of the base and the South Dakota Air and Space museum. The base tour included a trip down inside a Minuteman Missile silo built for training. So I got more missile shots and a few cool planes.


At one point, while heading towards some cool roads, I passed this factory with a logo I had to grab a pic of. Hehe.


I headed towards Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse. A big storm had been brewing all day and I had the fortune of avoiding it thus far, but that luck ran out. I got hit hard by the storm. I had put in my waterproof liner so I was good. But the bike didn't like the rain. Same problem as Jamestown. It stalled out in the hard rain. It happened right after a deer had run out in front of me and I had slammed on the brakes...then it stalled out. So I sat on the side of the road getting rained on while huge trucks blasted me with water. After a while, it started fine and I continued on my way. Annoying.


I stopped by the Crazy Horse Memorial first. I didn't realize how big it really is...they have been carving this since 1948 and it's not even near completion. When done, it will be the worlds largest statue. Amazing.

Here it is today.


And this is the goal.


Next, I hit up Mt. Rushmore. And got more rain on the way. The drive up there is really nice, you start to see large rock formations poking out of the terrain. Despite the rain, there were a lot of people there.


Mt. Rushmore is something Tracy and I always talked about doing, so I just snapped a few pics and left, didn't really stay for the hike, tour or any of the other stuff. Wasn't really wearing the right clothing anyway, and it was sprinkling rain still. Time to head out. I'll be back one day with Tracy and can do it right.

My route for the day.

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Tomorrow, Devils tower and on towards Yellowstone!


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