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Flag of United States  , South Dakota
Wednesday, October 24, 2007

We are heading for South Dakota along one of those never ending interstates, although a little busier than we have been used to lately, still nothing like the traffic infested roads of the east coast. Seemingly leaving the mountains behind, we pass miles and miles of dead looking brown countryside, punctuated by small towns that wiz by in a few seconds.
 No wonder there is lots of road kill...we see dear flanking the highway apparently unperturbed by the vehicles streaming past them. The multitude of suicidal bugs that find our windscreen irresistible are not so lucky though. Signs warning of heavy winds don't make us nervous anymore.

In fact I think I've caught Malc with a relaxed smile on his face more than once this trip! Never complacent though we are sorry to see an accident up ahead, though thankfully I don't think anyone was hurt. Just as well the road wasn't packed. Our route takes us through Deadwood - no sign of the stage though! Or even Doris Day. We have chosen a campground in Hill city, a lovely little settlement close to Mt.Rushmore. Most of the town is closed for the season, it must be one of the only places in the country where even the Comfort Inn closes. Our campsite has only a few days left before it follows suit. We disconnect the water pipe at night so it doesn't freeze!
We're up and out early as we've read that early morning is best for photographing the "Presidents" So far we seem to have been extremely lucky with the weather, choosing good days for sight seeing and travelling on dry but maybe not such bright days. I suppose Yellowstone was the exception, but you know it was kind of magical in the snow! Anyway, those grand old gentlemen do not disappoint, it's a bit strange when you stand and gaze at such a well known icon. I don't think we ever imagined we would be able to travel to so many interesting and famous spots. But as we have said many times, because we're off season, we feel we get a better deal in a way. We rarely queue anywhere, roads are quiet and we're not part of the "throng" so to speak. The road/car parking etc at the monument indicate that at peak times quite a few people make their way here. But today it's almost deserted.

Not far from this spot there is another epic sculpture underway, so we decide to drop in and take a look.

Even if you never follow any of our links, try this one The story of the Ziolkowski family and the Crazy Horse Dream is indeed an inspiring one. During our travels we have long felt that the Native Americans did not get a fair deal - the story is long and complicated. Now it seems there is someone trying to redress the balance "My fellow chiefs and I would like the white man to know the red man has great heroes too"- Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear. Korczak who was an apprentice on Mt Rushmore, knew he would never complete his sculpture and has left detailed plans so that one day it will be finished. His widow and children continue the cause. There is an excellent visitor's centre crammed with fascinating Indian artifacts, all of which have been donated.
We came away with the vision of a man with strong beliefs, courage and incredible determination. "Never forget your dreams" is indeed a good motto for life.

We explore the surrounding area as well, driving to Custer which was a bit more alive than Hill City and to the Pinnacles, interesting rock formations that make us feel rather small and insignificant!

There are lots of photos in the album for this entry, so much to say thought we'd say it in pictures...take a look.
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