Friday, October 22, 2010

Spearfish, Lead, and Deadwood

We are currently staying at a funky sounding campground---No Name City Campground outside of Sturgis, S. Dakota, with a Passport America discount making the daily rate 18.00. Woo-hoo! Now Sturgis is infamous for it's motorcycle rally held every August. The town of Sturgis, population 6500 people, swells to about 700,000 people (yes, you read that right) in August for about two to three weeks as all the riders come into town and let loose. Aren't we glad it's not August!?  Yesiree! Campgrounds jack up their rates to take advantage of the population swell in business, food and drink. One campground went from $31.00 to $145.00 a night for that week! Yikes!

We stopped in Spearfish today to get some information--that's a great, interesting, pretty town...we will be going back there this weekend. There's a disc golf course there! Oh boy, says Eldy. On through Lead (Leed), the "mile high" town and on to Deadwood. Incredible views and scenery on the way to Deadwood, via Highway 14A. Spearfish has a beautiful, fast running major stream that ran along the highway with log cabin after log cabin after log cabin along the route. And of course, the Black Hills tower over you all the way....we hiked a trail to some waterfalls inside Spearfish Canyon as well--the Roughlock Falls Trail, about two miles up and back. The trail had some of the most beautiful seating areas and stamped concrete sidewalk right next to the falls that I have ever seen. Very impressive and very beautifully built. The literature for this area cautions about rattlesnakes and mountain lions in the area...oh, my! Made me a little nervous! If you see a mountain lion or a bobcat, you are supposed to "make yourself as large as possible" and make a lot of noise....but don't run! it! I think I'll run like hell if I see one. Eldy, having great presence of mind and less likely to panic, will remind me what to do.....We not sure what you are supposed to do if you see a rattlesnake except leave it alone!

We went to Deadwood today to see an old time town reminiscent of the good ole western days...Deadwood is the place where "Wild Bill" Hickok got shot to death in a local saloon and he is buried in Deadwood, w-a-a-a-y up high at the Mount Moriah Cemetery. Calamity Jane, a.k.a. Martha Jane Canary, is also buried there right next to him. The town has been historically preserved and the entire town   has been named as a National Historic Landmark. Lots of interesting saloons, hotels, and just about all of them are gambling places with slot machines, the fun ones that pay out nickels coming out at the bottom. Just ask Eldy, he won 10.00 playing with just 2.00 to start with, in a place called Miss Kitty's. We picked another place to explore, the Number 10 Saloon in Deadwood, the site of where Wild Bill Hickok got murdered---there's memorabilia all over the joint. Great food can be found on the second level of the saloon at the Deadwood Social Club...excellent food, very reasonably priced. Any place that makes their own homemade blue cheese dressing is a great place to eat in my book! 

Deadwood is an interesting town, but most of it has been built and rebuilt because of fires, so you would not see original buildings when you visit. However, the essence of the town, what it was like in the gold rush days, is very evident. You can almost imagine the commotion, the hustle and bustle, the money, the women, the action of a gold rush town in all its western glory. The town is nestled into the hills and the large hills in the background were devoid of any living trees, hence the town's name "Deadwood". 
Number 10 Saloon

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