We thought today would be the better day to check out the Black Hills and the Mt. Rushmore sculpture given that we had to drive 2 hours to get there so didn't think rain would curtail that activity.
We also decided to check out the PrairieBerry winery whose wine we sampled last evening - something called 3 Rednecks ( the label has pheasants in hunters' caps), a cabernet sauvignon that was a winner at the 2010 San Francisco Chronicle wine festival.
As we drove west and south, the terrain changed again from grasslands to rolling hills to what looked like the Canadian shield - craggy rocks, ponderosa pines, black spruce all in the 2 hour drive. This is what terrain around Mt. Rushmore looks like on a sunny day.
The winery lunch was terrific. Paul had buffalo meat with wild mushrooms on homemade foccacia panini, and a black bean soup. I had a goat cheese and olive tampenade panini (they marinate their own small raw olives) with a greek orzo salad and more of the wondrous olives. We sampled (sampled!, small amounts only!) three more wines - Red Ass Rhubarb - a very sweet dessert wine of rhubarb and raspberries that I liked a lot, and that Paul said tasted like cough syrup; Phat Hogg Red which didn't have near the body of the 3 RedNecks, and BuffaloBerry Fusion - a white chardonnay-type wine which was lovely but no different than others we tried in the past. So we're coming home with a couple more of the 3 Red Necks.
As we has travelled south of I90 to the winery, the weather changed from rainy and 55 degrees F (not warm I grant you) to rain, mist and 42 F (downright cool). The mist enveloped us as we started up to Mount Rushmore ( don't know why my brain did not compute that this was a mountain!) and near the top we realized the likelihood of seeing the presidential sculptures was getting slimmer.
And so it was - the presidents never appeared, and the exhibits seemed less than exciting without the real thing to gaze upon. This is what the monument was supposed to look like. Mt. Rushmore monument
and this is what it actually looked like, at least on May 29, 2011.
So we headed back to the nest - tired, somewhat frustrated but happy with the winery meal at least - and the fact that the rain cleared up and the temperature went up to over 50F (again with the small mercies!)
Tomorrow we hike in the badlands.