He Said:Again, I am writing this from 3 days into the future. Notes, please...ah, yes. The KOA. I know I've badmouthed them before and they are definitely parking lots but man are they loaded. They're great for the kids. Or a family reunion. The kids instantly make friends with the other kids in the park (of which there are at least 3), and bond. Play games, bike, laugh. It's how I envision old-timey neighbourhoods. There's two pools, a splash park, slide pool, hay rides, horseback riding, paddleboats, the works. They have deluxe cabins here, over $200/night. AC, plumbing, the works. Before I came here I used to think, "why would you do that when you could get a hotel?" Now I know why. Definitely seems to be split between those who choose to camp here, and those who have to camp. With us somewhere in the middle.
Anyway. Last night was horrible wind. I thought the tent would lift up. This morning some whooping kids (spoiler alert - they're not kids. See next day.) rode through camp hooting and hollering at 6:45, waking everyone up. We went to Mount Rushmore. It's 4 heads carved in a mountain alright. There was a ranger program there again, so the kids filled out all the activities in order to get their badge. That makes two. The town, such as it is, is basically Banff with twice the commercialism. We went to Tramway, where you take a chairlift up then ride Alpine slides (toboggans with wheels) down the hill. Kids loved it. There was a girl there backing everyone up, so we got a complimentary ride. She looked older than Gillian, so I find it hard to believe she was that scared, but she was moving SLLLLOOOOW. When they eventually got her off she was bawling. Everyone assumed she was terrified. I'm thinking maybe her sled didn't work and she was upset at everyone yelling at her. Either way...FREE SECOND RIDE! I had to ride with Ryan due to his age and he was crazy. Barrelled down that thing. Gillian and Mara took the fast lane the second time around. They're awesome. Still cold, still no pool. There was a candy hunt at 9PM that night.
The interesting thing about Mt. Rushmore is its history. The spectacle itself is " - I've seen this on TV". As I listened to the expert give the talk about the making of it, I kept thinking that there was no way it would get built today. So expensive. Also interesting is that, unlike other massive projects (World Trade Centre, Hoover Dam) nobody died while working on it. The story goes that the sculptor was such a stickler for safety that he wouldn't tolerate tardiness of even 2 minutes. Plus jobs were few back then and there was always someone else in line for the work. The question I had was "with all the precise blasting, were there any mistakes?" And the answer was "Yup, they had to blow away 18 months of work on Jefferson and move him from Washington's right to his left because of an over blasted forehead." Just one complaint about the info centre (sorry Karen). They sell postcards and if you mail them from there it will actually get postmarked "sent from Mt. Rushmore", but they don't sell stamps. Weird. So it took a few days to find stamps (the last place I would have guessed - our very own campground).
The Alpine Slides were fun. I wasn't going to go on the slide itself (didn't seem worth the money) and just do the tram both up and down. But it turns out I've become quite afraid of heights in the past few years and the ride up got me nervous enough to pay the few bucks to slide down rather than face certain death on the tramway down. My kids think it's funny to freak mommy out. It's so weird to me. I used to ride ski lifts much higher than this was and on gusty days and not be scared. But this was beyond my control and completely irrational. I get nervous thinking about it. Eesh.