Wednesday, November 8

Covering a lot of land

So, remember those scary girls waving those terrible signs promoting the Anti-choice law in South Dakota? Well, they lost and we're back to that scary town to spend the night. Stef's been tormenting me all day about how this was her plan all along. The hotels in Sioux Falls were sold out and this was the next best thing. I will say that place looks much better under the dark of night and on the other side of the freeway.

As for our day it was another good one. We packed a lot in. That being said, I'll let the pix do most of the talking since it's getting late.

The wind was really blowing and whipping dead leaves up all around us. We braved the wind and visited the Deadwood Visitor's Center then walked to the #10 Saloon where Wild Bill Hickock was shot. The interior of the place looks old but they were refurbishing most of it so it was hard to get a close look at the pictures and memorabilia on the walls. We did our best to step around the workers, ladders, and newly finished floors. After a quick look around we stepped back out on to Main Street. For those interested in Deadwood history, I can tell you Hickock's killer didn't get far. He was caught across the street about three doors down.

Next we hit the Adams Museum. It has everything from the door from the last brothel in Deadwood to a small trunk brought over on the Mayflower. They had a buggy, as in "horse and buggy" and I had no idea they were so small. There were a couple of guns on display said to have belonged to Bill Hickock and Charlie Utter. If you're a fan of the show you wander around the museum and recognize a lot of names. It was fun.

We then drove up to Moriah Cemetery to visit Calamity Jane and Bill Hickock grave sites. The two rest right next to each other. It's a lovely place but we agreed that it seemed strange that folks had left coins and smokes on Hickok's grave. He does have a nice view of Deadwood though.

We then hit the road and headed towards President's Park. I'm sorry, but I love a strange roadside attraction and this one qualifies. It has 25 foot busts of every President of the United States. We walked in to pay and were greeted by an adorable 3 month old puppy named Buster. He was sliding and runnning all over the hard wood floors. We paid a small fee and again braced ourselves against the wind and started out up and around the trail to see the Presidents. (Shandon, you can tell Sean I go the pic with Harrison, as promised.) My favorite spot was the "Watergate Memorial Picnic Area". It made me laugh almost as much as the childish pic I took of me holding up a certain finger in the same frame with W. Sure it was immature but it felt good. I'd post it here but my mom is reading this and well, it just wouldn't do.

We had to get across as much of South Dakota as possible so we headed out again and stopped at Wall for some lunch. We saw even more of Wall Drug than we saw the other day. There was a whole section we missed. I'm glad we got the chance to catch it again especially for a shot of this sign:

We then headed down the 240 to see some of the Badlands. They are incredible. It was getting late, around 4:00 pm, so the light was especially dramatic and harsh on those mountains. It was beautiful but spooky. Again, being the off season, Stef and I find ourselves all alone in very barren places on this trip. I guess I just keep thinking, as usual, of the pioneers and how much they must have suffered while going west. What a nightmare. I can't even imagine how bad it must have been for the poor souls who wandered into the badlands. It's got that name for a reason. We drove about 15 minutes in and realized it was going to be an extremely long and winding road so we decided to back track and get as far as possible along the 90.

It gets so dark out here. Also, the openness is oddly unnerving to me. I'm used to mountains even if they are far off in the distance. I've never been in such a wide open place. I don't know what I think is going to happen but I know that I've never seen darker nights. It's so dark it almost looks as though there is a moonless ocean out there on the horizon or that we're driving through a pitch black tunnel. Finally, I looked up to see the most amazing expanse of stars. Eventally the moon showed up behind the clouds an washed away most of the stars but that sky was just as beautiful.

Of course we've been running around checking out the sites but we knew all about the recent political events thanks to Mom and Tony. Yes, most people I know are thrilled. One family overheard Stef and I talking about Rumsfeld resigning and exclaimed "It's about time!" In an attempt to catch up on the days events we found a PRI station and listened intently to the days events and relished every minute of it.

After a few hours of driving, we stopped at Al's Oasis for dinner and a gas stop. First we looked around the town of Chamberlain but there wasn't much in the way of restaurants so we drove back a few miles to hit Al's. Dinner was really good but Al's hosts a strange mix of people. It turns out it's hunting season and as the "Hunter's Welcome" sign indicated, the place was full of hunters. Ladies, here's some good news: there is no one in the ladies room at Al's during hunting season. (Once again, how much am I loving this off season thing?!) After dinner, and looking around the fairly large gift shop, we got some gas and made our way to our old stomping gorund, Mitchell, for a good nights sleep.

It's really late and I've got to get some sleep now. Good night! P.S. I've just looked at the blog and it looks like the photos are not lining up with my comments. I'd try to fix it but I'm beat. Sorry!

1 comment:

Chris said...

Great pics and story!!! I'm secretly enjoying your trip from afar. I've only been to Sioux Falls, so haven't seen the western half of S.D. Sounds like a lot of fun!