As promised, the update as to the change of plans. Originally the plan was to drive to Devils Tower for the day on July 3. Well on when my wife and I, planned this trip, the plan was to see Mt. Rushmore on the Fourth of July. Then we learned of Trumps’s plan to be there on July 3rd, so we shuffled our plans to avoid 45 altogether. We went to visit Mt. Rushmore a few days earlier, see previous report. After surveying the landscape I realized that with my trusty Sony A7r IV and a 200 mm lens with a converter, that I might be able to get a shot of the fireworks over Mt. Rushmore from a safe distance of up to 10 – 12 miles away. The entire trip was planned with the design of avoiding close contact with large crowds, due to the Covid beast. So, the plan changed. I found a spot along a trail that had a great view and should not be crowded. Decided to visit Deadwood, don’t waste your time, swim in a lake in the Black Hills National Park and then head to the trail, alone, isolated, just me and my isolation partner, my wife.
Again, we plan, and the universe laughs. All was going well with the Deadwood visit and the lake swim, but as we tried to access our section of the park, that was set to remain open, a large group of Native Americans were protesting Trump’s visit to the land that was stolen from them. This was better than any picture I could hope to capture. More power to the Native Americans for standing up for their rights. After two hours of driving around trying to get a view to Mt. Rushmore without getting close to crowds, fate would have a hotel parking lot on the edge of a town called Keystone, SD available. In another odd twist, a friend from college texted to ask me if I was still in SD, as she had seen my posts and she was in Keystone. She offered to let us watch from her hotel balcony. Very nice of her. Unfortunately, we would have had to walk several blocks through crowds of unmasked Trump supporters. Not worth the risk. We did not quarantine for 3 months to walk through this crowd of losers. More on that later. First, we start with Deadwood, SD.
Deadwood is a tacky tourist trap filled with low end gambling halls, tee shirt sellers, storefronts and window displays celebrating prostitution. This town should be avoided at all costs. Do not waste your time.
I could no longer resist the urge. I walked into a tee shirt shop that had displayed several pro-Trump tee shirts in the window. I asked the woman behind the counter if the Trump shirts sold well. She replied that they sell well all year long. I told her I was very surprised by that fact. She told me he is the greatest president that this country has ever had. I asked her if she paid taxes. She said yea what has that got to do with anything.
Fast forward to later that day. After being turned around and redirected by an army of SD State troopers and an army of local volunteers we ended up trapped on the edge of Keystone, a small town nestled in the foothills of Mt. Rushmore. Population 320. This town is also tourist driven like Deadwood but at least this town has an actual tourist attraction. As we ended up forced to the outskirts, we parked on a hillside a few blocks outside of town and walked to get a closer look. Several hundred Trump supporters lined the street of this one block stretch. They could be overheard asking each other if “He” had driven through yet. Later as Presidential helicopters roared by overhead most of the crowd was still looking to see his motorcade drive through town.
We ended up in a parking lot on a hilltop overlooking Mt. Rushmore. This lot grew more and more packed with unmasked, drunkenly rowdy Trumpers. As the program began with several very expensive flyovers the crowds roared. Many had the live Fox News YouTube stream playing at high volumes for all to hear. I saw one large group of 20 people taking a group photo. No masks. All ages. Infants to the elderly.
The Fourth of July has always been one of my favorite holidays. Fireworks, hotdogs, cookouts and celebrating our national rebellious freedom loving ways. This year will be no different. As I watched all of the big pick up trucks driving around with the giant American flags side by side with their Trump flags I feel as though they are attempting to change the meaning of our patriotic symbol. Our flag means hope, freedom, a promise of a better tomorrow. Join me in reclaiming Our American flag on this Fourth of July. God Bless The USA.