A long trip across the plains today, and into the mountains - through Rapid City to Mount Rushmore. I'm impressed by the way these National Parks, monuments and forests are presented and organised. There's a pride and a devotion to national image here that would put even English Heritage and the National Trust to shame. Mount Rushmore represents what democracy stood for at the time of the Founding Fathers - and it's a pretty safe bet that Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln would be appalled at their successors' actions today.
There are union flags everywhere, as expected. Although I find the show of patriotism a little overwhelming, I still go to the gift shop to buy a copy of the US Constitution, which they sell in a nice handy little format for $9.99.
Leaving Rushmore, we head down the road on a short journey to the Crazy Horse monument - the Native American answer to Rushmore and very much a work in progress. As it's still being carved out of the stone in the mountains there's not that much to say about it except that it'll be quite spectactular when it is eventually finished! Astri and I pay $3.00 to travel in a clapped out school bus to the bottom of the mountain for nothing more than a photographic opportunity. Oh well.
Camp tonight is at Devils' Tower - a campsite at the foot of a somewhat sinister looking rock formation in Wyoming and which was also a principal location used in Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Apparently they show the film regularly on an outdoor screen - though it's very cold tonight, and I don't sleep too well.
Everyone in the group is beginning to bond quite well now, though I still can't help thinking it's a bit like Big Brother on wheels!