Brian Hester Reporting
June 30, 2020
This trip was planned with the Covid beast in mind. The “curve” had already begun to flatten in the NY/ NJ area but Covid cautions will be with us, well the smarter among us, for the foreseeable future. The is still no cure. Unfortunately The President of The United States spent so much time telling the country this was a “hoax” that it turns out many Americans that did not witness what NY & NJ saw firsthand are left to actually believe the statements of the President. He has done them no favor.
Trip plans included precautions such as staying in campgrounds in our tent as opposed to staying in hotels, gloves when pumping gas and entering stores along the way, lots of disinfectant wipes and of course our beloved masks. We wanted to get out, but we also wanted to be smart about taking steps not to spread or contract the virus.
With all the precautions in place a road trip to the great wide-open spaces and a visit to Mt. Rushmore seemed like a safe bet. Unfortunately, after we had planned our trip and about 3 days prior to leaving we found out that Con Don had planned to use Mt. Rushmore on July 3, 2020 to hold a private rally for those still supporting him. His plan closed Mt. Rushmore all day on July 3 but according to everything we read the National monument would remain open with the exception of July 3. So, we adjusted our plans to visit a few days earlier believing that we could get in and see everything. What a lie. We went on June 30, 2020 and most of the ground were off limits. Shame on the National Parks Service. I have never been so disappointed at a Federal Agency. What they did was tell us the park was open. For all practical purposes most of the park was off limits to the public. The were nice enough to pretend that we were going to be able to see the site and take out money at the gate. Once you entered the ground you quickly realize the plaza has been blocked off. Basically, you just paid to enter and see what you saw from outside the gate. What a scam. Probably going to call AmEx to have that charge reversed. All this so #potus can hold a private rally? And why did he choose this site. I am willing to bet that it has to do with statues and monuments. I am predicting that he will make comments about statues of our great leader’s past, three of four not so great it turns out.
Many of Mr. Trumps die hard fans believe his every word and that may come back to hunt them. No masks on most of the people that we saw at Mt Rushmore. Locals that work the park are being exposed to travelers from around the globe. We wore our masks, most did not.
Shifting focus to the animals and wildlife, we found a plethora of creatures roaming the parks, many with their new babies in tow. Bison brought back from the brink of extinction. Antelope. Prairie dogs. Horses. And of course, the scenery. The Black Hills offer some of the most majestic views on the planet. The roads carve through stones and wrap around step cliffs.
We meet lots of interesting people, maintaining our social distance of at least 6 feet apart. A local photographer shared some tips and gave us some pointers for locations to shoot from around the park. Another group we met from the north east struck up a conversation with us over the fact that we, like they, wore masks. We theorized that if people haven’t seen the ravages of Covid up close they just don’t get it. I hope they never do get it, the disease.