North By Northwest

Nicholas Quirke was awake and out of his hotel bed early. He had to cover 736 miles on this 14th December which meant about 11 hours driving. He couldn’t leave Sioux Falls without seeing the towns namesake and was glad that he did as they provided a beautiful and contemplative start to his day. He was deeply impressed by the frozen water. Once on the road he found the vista bleak and flat and long long, long with the  rain and snow adding to the never-ending view. At one point when he stopped to refuel it presented the most dismal picture of his journey and on his way back onto the endless road west through South Dakota he came across a missile site which housed a now defunct missile in a silo. Then suddenly, as he approached the Badlands both the landscape and weather changed and brought a significant change in Nicholas himself who became overwhelmed with nostalgia.This was the landscape of his childhood, of the Sunday afternoons watching westerns: The Searchers, Shane, How the West was Won,  Calamity Jane, on TV. He knew these Prairie lands, these rolling hills, theses Black Hills of Dakota and he was here for real amongst them. Then there, in the heart of the Black Hills Mount Rushmore. The sun was shining, the snow was melting, and his heart was leaping as he viewed this Iconic, immense, landmark folly. Typically at this point his GoPro technology decided to stop working. He enjoyed a conversation with the information staff before heading off on the next 367 miles he needed to cover. Nicholas spotted another interesting though less famous landmark close by, and also cut into the hills, of  a resistance fighting Native Indian, ‘Crazy Horse’, which was commissioned by Sitting Bear and begun in the 1940s to commemorate and remember the Indian People and their Heros. This put Nicholas an hour off schedule for his next stop where he planned to spend the night, Boulder. The landscape continued to be spectacular as he drove out of South Dakota into Wyoming but as night fell he realised he had not seen a town or gas station for over an hour and he started to panic. There was no sign of life, no lights and the road seemed endless after 30 minutes of worry Nicholas came upon the town of Lusk and was so relieved he decided to stay here for the night. He topped up with petrol and took a room at the Covered Wagon Motel for the Night. It was a lot cleaner and pleasant than his last motel experience and he particularly liked the artwork on the wall.

 

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