Teddy Roosevelt, he of the Roughriders and of the era of Manifest Destiny and the Monroe Doctrine....even with all of that crap he could see that there were many cock-ups with regards to the then push into the territories west of the Mississippi....imagine Teddy riding out to the Dakotas and actually govereeting with "the people" and realizing that they got fucked and fucked good. He could see the beauty in what was then a virgin landscape, no fences, no interference.....and this was all after Teddy was a conqueror for all things Etats Unis.....sometimes a road trip cleans the head of the detritus of the times....Bless Teddy R for he had the good sense to see that some things needed to be preserved for the future generations.
There were others who were visionaries like Audubon, Muir and Adams....but they came after Roosevelt, he of the gilded age....post Transcendentalist movement. Those good "Walden" folks had some great ideas that to this day are still considered radical or too romantic. Now one can beg the question as to why America has taken several steps back from that movement? I shudder sometimes. I shudder for the future of America because I believe that too many folks have become disconnected from the vision of Roosevelt....when did America become a dollar store of apathy?
Who knows....all I knew then was we were getting to our hotel in Bowman, North Dakota....a classic motel from the fifties and very clean indeed. No crackheads in sight like I had seen in this one poor motel crossing into Idaho from Kingsgate, British Columbia....one can always tell a crack motel from the telltale signs of burn marks everywhere....and the overall skankiness and bad vibes.
This motel was classic....and very comfy and inviting. And at that time, had net access. God bless access is all I can say. It makes for a semblance of assurance but can also be amusing when there is shit to see on HBO.
The next day I cannot recall what we had for brekky or where....all I knew was the map and just how close we were to Devil's Tower....I had to get props for the shoot I had in my mind's eye....I already had one prop but "he" was missing his ship....hehehe. We had to get down further on HWY 85 to Belle Fourche, there would be a store that would accomodate my prop needs.
From what I recall of Belle Fourche was seeing the older architecture....some homes redolent of a particular style of Americana....homes that exuded comfort and security. Oh well, we had a mission and that mission was to get some aluminum pie plates....hehehe.
From Belle Fourche we managed to find the sidespur road #24....that would take us to the Tower and to our first real artistic and childhood mission.
Because of how tourists are generally herded, highway-wise, it can often be a bitch to find these beyond-secondary routes. But hey, why should a small town be obligated to make my journey easier - like I said earlier, the fun is in just doing. Do we all have to be so bloody Baedeker?