(Number 1 of 3 that I will post today)
Okay, I’m w-a-a-a-y behind on my blog posts, so I have decided to get all of it out of the way today since we will be starting our new “job” tomorrow. We have agreed to step in as camp hosts here at the FamCamp since one of the couples is leaving ahead of time, so we will be working three days on and three days off until at least September 15th.
On Thursday, August 4th, DeWayne and I decided that we needed to get some sightseeing done BEFORE Sturgis week which would start on the 9th. But we were already seeing LOTS of motorcycles and learned that a lot of Sturgis enthusiasts actually come the week before to beat the crowds and some actually leave before the actual Sturgis rally begins.
So off we went to visit Deadwood, and sure enough, saw our share of motorcycles all day. Anyway…..
We took a longer route through Spearfish to get to Deadwood so that we could take in some great scenery. So we enjoyed the ride along the interstate to Spearfish, which is beautiful in itself.
But as soon as we turned south in Spearfish toward Deadwood, the landscape transformed into something totally different. All of a sudden we were in mountains of sheer rock that went so far up that I couldn’t see the top of some of them. Gorgeous!
We spotted a small picnic area, so DeWayne pulled off to check it out. There at the end was a picnic table right beside a beautiful stream, so we stopped and took it all in for a while. The water was crystal clear and it was such a peaceful spot.
After stretching our legs and taking in the beauty of this little spot, we pulled back on the highway to make our way on to Deadwood through breathtaking views and small communities along the way:
And I had to get this picture for our friend Danny:
By this time we were just around the bend from Deadwood, but still ooo-ing and ah-ing at the view.
Since we had brought our lunch with us, we found a nice park right on the main thoroughfare and enjoyed our meal at a nice picnic table in the shade.
We decided to go to Boot Hill first to see the cemetery and the graves of Wild Bill, Calamity Jane and anyone else we might recognize. The street to the cemetery was very steep going up to the parking area. Then the cemetery itself was on a steep hill, so we got a good workout just browsing around. “Sheriff Bullock’s” grave was WAAAAY up the hill past most of the other graves, so we didn’t venture up there, but here are a few pictures of we did see.
The most prominent gravesite in the cemetery was, of course, Will Bill’s. His monument was brass and very dark, so I tried to get parts of it in hopes that you may be able to read the inscriptions. Notice the deck of cards at the bottom of the monument.
And right behind Wild Bill’s grave was Calamity Jane’s. She requested before her death to be buried next to him. Nobody knows how he would have felt about that.
From there, we followed the path to an overlook of Deadwood and what an awesome view it was!
We were getting tired and my calves were screaming at me to get off that hill, so we didn’t wander around much longer, but I did run across “Preacher Smith’s” grave before we left.
We made our way back down the hill to the park that we had just come from so DeWayne could get his after-lunch walk done and I headed off in the direction of all the activities. I made my way to the visitor’s center to check out any maps I could get and information about what was going on that day. The nice guy at the center told me that a gold panning demonstration was about to start right outside the building, so I decided, just in case I ever go looking for gold, that I needed to know how.
The man doing the demonstration introduced himself as “Gold Pan Wally” and was very personable and informative. He also let us know that 97% of the gold in the black hills is STILL THERE, even after over a hundred and fifty years (at least) of mining. Wow! I think I need go to the mining store and grab myself some o’ them thar tools!
Across the street from the information center was the “Deadwood Mountain Grand Stage” where I knew that Travis Tritt and Charlie Daniels had played the night before, but imagine my surprise when I watch the big bus that had been parked over there start down the driveway to the street and I could see that Charlie Daniels (minus the hat) was in the passenger seat. I hoped the pictures I took would show that, but there is too much glare on the windshield of the bus, doggone it! Oh, and Ron White was to play that night, but it was too short notice for us to get tickets. Doggone it again!
In case you haven’t noticed, there were LOTS of motorcycles in town and this was almost a week before “Sturgis Week”. This is the parking lot in front of the visitor’s center:
And those were just the ones that were parked. Many, many more were going up and down the streets. Inside the center, I perused all the historic information. I didn’t realize that the original town was mostly destroyed by fire in 1868 and some of it was once again destroyed in a flood years later. So the “historic” downtown that we walked around later was not the original setting.
DeWayne joined me about this time and we took a walk downtown to see the sights.
Well, that’s all about Deadwood, South Dakota. Whew, this has been a long one! I need to get this one posted and get started on the Mt Rushmore and Bear Country post, so be sure to click on “newer post” for the next two installments.