Monday, April 25, 2005

Mt Rushmore and Cosmos, South Dakota.

After postponing this trip three times, the day finally arrived. The plan to see Mt Rushmore originated during my discussion with our new receptionist. She had talked very high of this place. While discussing this with our colleagues in North Dakota, they seemed interested as well. So, we planned to meet midway and turn this into a reunion. My friend Vinayak booked the hotel and I booked the tickets for one of the caves. I was all excited about this trip.

On the 23rd of April, at around 4:05 in the morning, we left Colorado Springs and headed towards South Dakota. It was going to be a long drive but not as long as our previous drive to Chicago. 

Drive: Colorado springs to Keystone
Start: 4:05 Am
Destination: Super 8 Motel, Keystone, SD.
Distance: 440 Miles
Estimated Time: 6 hrs 44 mins



Jonah drove first. We reached Fort Collins at around 7:00 AM and had our breakfast there. I changed to driving next for few hours. As we crossed Colorado border and entered Wyoming we realised that there weren’t many people around. In the maps I was carrying, in the order of maximum population Wyoming was 50th, that is the last. While discussing this, Sundar understood that the population of Wyoming was only 50. So, he and I started to count. After covering a third of the state we found only half the number roof people outside. The drive was filled with cows, deers and vast plain lands with no houses. 



On our way, we also came across a place called Lost springs which had a population of one. But there were two houses there and for us it seemed like the most populated place in the state thus far. The drive was enjoyable with fun talks. We stopped at Wheatland, Wyoming for lunch. This is where Sebastian realised that he had forgotten to bring his wallet and thus in it remained his drivers permit. Nevertheless, we took a risk of allowing him to drive. Technically you still could if you have a valid permit. A lesson we had learnt after, I had washed my temporary permit with my cloth. 


We reached Custer at around 10:30 AM and saw directions to Super 8 motel. Map quest directed us to take left but the the motel board pointed left. Anyways, we headed to the motel and found at the reception that we were in Custer and not Keystone. We had to drive another 45 minutes. On our way, we did pass through Mt Rushmore and got a first glimpse of the monument. 


We reached the motel at 11:15 AM and the Bobcat guys (Our colleagues who worked at Bobcat division in our company) ad not yet arrived. They arrived by 12:15 PM. 

Reached at 11:15 AM
Actual Time Taken - 7 Hours, 10 Minutes (Including Breakfast)

When our friends arrived we were happy to see them in the foreign land after a long time. Vinayak, Reddy, Shashikant, Ajith and their two other colleagues Vijay and Atiq. 

We checked in at the motel and had some pizzas for lunch. We immediately left to Cosmos- the mystery place.

According to mapquest cosmos was an hours journey form he motel but Ajith told us that the had seen a board on their way. So we followed him and it turned out to be only 15 minutes form our motel. A second mistake from mapquest.

Cosmos is a strange place. It defies gravity. A spirit level was used to demonstrate that the ground was perfectly levelled. But when two people stand opposite to each other their heights are strangely increased or reduced depending on which side they stood. 


Then we entered a crooked shaped room where you can balance at an angle and a ball that would run downwards will move upwards. We tried to find a logical explanation to this but failed. Instead enjoyed laughing at each other standing slanted inside that room unable to stand straight. 

Next, we drove to Mt Rushmore. Here is the famous carvings of four US presidents. We jokingly called it « Chaar Mundi » (Four heads) The larger than life heads looked magnificent. We had a small show at the museum that showed clippings take during the construction. 






After that, we headed back to the room. Got together in our room and played cards. We played bluff. At around 8 PM, we drove to Rapid City and had dinner at a Chinese restaurant. It was a great time laughing and chatting. 

I came back to the room to catch some sleep while others went to watch the night lighting at Rushmore. They returned in 15 minutes with an interesting story.  Sebastian was driving and he was pulled over by a cop for having his high beams on. And then he was asked to produce his permit. Trouble! But luckily, the cop verified his date of birth on his database and confirmed, gave him a warning note and left. 

It had been a long tiring day. So we retired to bed soon. 

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