Nose to nose with Washington

One of Mount Rushmore’s close neighbors

After last week’s visit to Ontario and our stopover with Limonada in Wisconsin, we considered our options for the remaining twenty-something hours to Utah. We’ve driven Interstate 80 on several occasions, and El Guapo felt that he’d be glad to put off doing it again.

Why, you ask? This song* can answer in less than a minute:


It wasn’t only a desire for more scenic variety; if we took the more northern route on I-90, El Guapo could add Minnesota and South Dakota to his list of US states visited (which would then total 48). Also, we could get a look at Mount Rushmore and the Badlands. Off we went.

Mount Rushmore had nearly 2.5 million visitors last year. Though we’re not hermits, we’re definitely not crowd lovers, so we were somewhat reluctant to join the hoards in the official park. We were also beginning day four in our un-air-conditioned drive,† so a “let’s get this over with” feeling was generally uppermost.

The crowd at the entrance that we didn't join

The crowd at the entrance that we didn’t join

We stopped to read the grandiloquent historical marker about the sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, and admired the four stone presidents from afar. We nodded hello as we drove past the park entrance, and then stopped a quarter mile further on at a small lot that gave us some rock scampering options, and a nice view of George Washington’s profile. 

We have been known to imitate statues and paintings as we pose for photos, but that day we were a little more deliberate about it, trying to achieve an effect using forced perspective.


George and Ninja, nose to nose

A plaque at the park indicated that George Washington’s nose is 20 feet tall. Ninja’s nose is probably not quite two inches. That’s forced perspective for you.

Mount Rushmore

A view taken by a someone who doesn’t mind crowds as much

*Meaning no disrespect to farmers or farm country, though perhaps some disrespect to industrial monoculture tracts that put family farmers out of business. But that’s a topic for another day. In any event, the song is good for a laugh.

†This wasn’t a desire to prove our toughness, or a nostalgic look back at the way things used to be–the AC failed during hour one of day one, and various commitments prevented us from stopping to address the problem. We hope we don’t have an opportunity to repeat the experience in the foreseeable future.


[Images: El Guapo, Wikipedia]

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