The drive from Denver to Hill City, (Mount Rushmore) South Dakota was roughly six hours, a fairly short drive for the iglide car. On the drive, the car drove through Wyoming and passed animals that haven’t been seen on the tour before, including pronghorn and a camel farm (which was very unexpected for Wyoming). Wyoming is exactly what one would expect, acres and acres of plains with very minimal population. One town, Lost Springs, had a population of four. The car had a flash back to the Yukon at the beginning of the North American tour where it passed more animals than people on a given day. But this time instead of pine trees, mountains and bears it was plains, farms and cows.
The plains in Wyoming
Fields of sunflowers
A western sunset
There are a lot of similarities between these stretches of road and iglide bearings. At first glance, they are nothing special; stretches of fields without a human for miles, and a small, light, plastic bearing. Upon closer inspection, however, those vast plains become beautiful landscapes, and iglide bearings reveal themselves to be an innovation in plastic bearing technology – lightweight plastic embedded with strengthening fibers and microscopic particles of solid lubricant. That means no adding grease or unexpected seizures. It also means reduced energy consumption due to their extremely light weight – iglide bearings weigh approximately 80 percent less than PTFE-lined bushings!
The car arrived in Hill City, about 10 miles from Mount Rushmore, and drove through the old west town, with a population of 950. The town was exactly what a classic old western film portrayed it to be, a frontier town. The facades on the restaurants resembled movies about the Old West, down to the rickety steps and creaky wooden doors. The shops were extremely old fashioned, selling rock candy, jaw breakers and home-made fudge, and the roads were lined with sculpted wooden animals.
The town of Hill City
Saloon style buffalo burger
The car’s next stop was Mount Rushmore, one of the most patriotic landmarks in the United States. The Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore near Keystone, South Dakota. The presidents carved into the granite (left to right) are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. This was sculpted by Danish-American Gutzon Borglum and his son, Lincoln Borglum. Doane Robinson was the one who conceived the idea of Mount Rushmore. He was a state historian of South Dakota and picked this location in South Dakota to promote tourism in the region.
From left to right, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln
Initially Robinson wanted four western heroes to be featured on the mountain such as Lewis and Clark, or Red Cloud and Buffalo Bill Cody, but Borglum wanted the sculpture to have a more national focus. The project took 14 years and was finished in 1941, with over 400 workers continuously working on it. The presidents were chosen because of their role in preserving the Republic and expanding its territory.
Roughly three million people venture to South Dakota each year to see this granite sculpture. As an American, to see this famous sculpture almost felt fake. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the sculpture looked pasted into the mountain. Americans see this image many times in their life on posters and in books but few actually get to see it due to its location. Unlike the Statue of Liberty, which is in a prime location, Mount Rushmore is not. It is a more out of reach US attraction and to actually see it was unreal.
The next stop in South Dakota was Sioux Falls, another six hour drive east through the hay and corn fields of South Dakota. On the drive over the iglide car made a few stops. One was to visit “1880 Town”. For anyone who is familiar with “Dances With Wolves”, starring Kevin Costner, this is where a portion of the movie was filmed. Although the car stood out a bit next to the run down town the car learned that some of these pieces of machinery such as the train and an old cars may have broken down due to the rusty metal bearings inside the vehicle. The iglide car was happy that igus plastic bearings were retrofitted into 56 different parts of the car. The car joyfully said goodbye to the ghost town and knew that running on iglide bearings would keep the car from ending up like these vehicles.
The spiffy iglide car next to a run down vehicle, clearly lacking iglide bearings
This sign seems pretty legitimate
Sioux Falls, also called “The Heart of America”, is the largest city in South Dakota. the population in 2013 of 165,000 and is the 47th fastest growing city in the United States. The car was able to stop here, have a good meal and refuel for the home stretch to Minneapolis. The car only had four more hours left of the 14 hours journey from Denver, Colorado.
Next stop, Minneapolis – look for us on the road!
Thanks for reading,