We drove west then south from the Cheyenne River Reservation towards the Black Hills this morning, pausing briefly in the gold rush town of Deadwood, an area stolen from the Lakota people in the 1870s. After so much flat land over the past few days, the mountains, thick with trees, were almost shocking.
Jennifer flew east this afternoon (we'll be meeting again in Nashville next week) so I visited Mount Rushmore – undoubtedly this region's most famous attraction – and, nearby, another enormous sculpture. The Crazy Horse Memorial was begun in 1948 and is still very far from completion. It is a private, and somewhat controversial project.
I was one of five Scottish writers chosen by Edinburgh International Book Festival to undertake extraordinary journeys across the Americas in spring and summer 2017.
I will be travelling through the United States for three weeks, from north to south, beginning in North Dakota, through Appalachia, and ending in Louisiana. For much of this time I will be accompanied by the novelist Jennifer Haigh.
You can follow my progress on Twitter and Instagram, and keep up-to-date with all the travellers using the hashtag #Outriders.