Another fun part of the Needles Hwy are the two pig-tail turns. Where the road curves too tight for a horseshoe or hairpin turn, the highway builders cut a tunnel up high through the mountain, and you come out on a bridge. Then the road curves under that bridge, and therefore circles under itself. In the two photos below Jon is maneuvering a tight pigtail turn, then a photo of the second pig-tail turn, just as we emerge from the tunnel onto the bridge.
The Needles Hwy was a great way to approach Mt. Rushmore. When Jon was a kid, his parents had taken this approach on a family vacation. Part of the fun is trying to catch glimpses of Mt. Rushmore through the trees, and especially through the tunnels, which were like the eye of a needle. (Photo below left.)
We went there anyway for dinner. The streets of Rapid City were almost deserted except for the streets around the brewpub. The place was packed, but I noticed a lot of patrons were drinking Coors Light. The beers were mild flavored compared to the hoppy beers we have out west, but seeing all the folks drinking Silver Bullet, Firehouse probably has to keep the beers mild tasting.
After dinner Jon and I walked around downtown a bit and admired all the new life-size bronze statues of the presidents on each corner. Jon wanted his picture taken with Gerald Ford. Then we headed east to find a spot to park our rig for the night.