We strolled down the Avenue of Presidents before leaving Rapid City and stopped for a couple of obligatory photo opportunities. Well – it has to be done doesn’t it?

We we are covering a lot of miles on this trip. it changes your whole concept of distance being in a big country like this. everyone drives everywhere and think nothing of driving 2 hours to see a movie if that’s what they want to do. I like the photo of the Chevrolet line – they fill the parking lots here. A long road trip means you have to live out of a suitcase though and that means you need to do some laundry now and then. Tim – ever practical – turned himself into a tumble dryer this morning. The photo doesn’t really capture the force of movement here – the wet clothes are in the towel – video would have been better, but the moment is gone now…

We stopped to visit Devil’s Tower. This was a bit of a detour, but worth the trip. It stands so high from the road, you can see it for miles around. It is probably the core of an old volcano. At the entrance there is a big expanse of prairie which is inhabited by prairie dogs. these little creatures are fascinating – but don’t be tempted to get too close – they carry plague. don’t put your hand in the holes they dig either – there are black widow spiders living down there (so the signs said).

People actually try to climb up it – we saw one while we were there. There is no climbing allowed in June though as this is a sacred time for the native Indians. This is a holy place for many people. There are prayer rolls and cloths tied to the frees all over the place. We decided to take a hike around the base of the tower to get a good look at it from all sides. A patch of bad weather blew in as we were about half way around. The tower took on a menacing look – you could immediately see why people would regard it as sacred – a symbol of the power of something greater/almighty.

We went on to the battle of the Little Bighorn National Monument, near Hardin. This battle was really all about a clash of cultures. The Indians were being increasingly confined to Reservations prior to the battle on June 25th 1876. gold had been discovered in the Black Hill of South Dakota and the U.S. wanted it. They offered the Indiands cash – but the Indians didn’t want this – they just wanted to be left alone to live their peaceful nomadic life. The US government made many promises and treaties were signed – but they Were not honoured. Eventually, The Indian tribes that had refused to co-operate were branded “hostile” and the resulting battle became an inevitability. Sitting Bull versus Custer – it is called Custer’s Last Stand, but it would be more fitting to call it the Indians’ Last Stand because they won this bloody battle, but they lost their lands anyway. sitting Bull fled to Canada and later surrendered to the U.S. – and was murdered by the Indian Army. Not what you would call a victory really. The photos tells little bit more of this sad tale… What, I wonder are the lessons this little piece of history has to teach us today?

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