Badlands National Park
Our dog, Shadow, attracts a lot of attention. Wherever we go, people want to touch him, take his picture, or ask questions about him. We call this ELS – Everybody Loves Shadow. This trip we’ve added a new phenomenon: ELC – Everybody Loves our Coach. At least once a day we’ll encounter a gent walking slow circles around our motorhome, whether it’s parked in a campground or sitting in a lot by some attraction. They eye it up and down, and typically start the conversation by asking if it’s gas or diesel. I usually let Tim handle the questions. But this morning a guy startled me as I was having coffee at our picnic table. His question was, “Where do you buy one of these?” Not being properly caffeinated yet, I mumbled something about the factory in Florida, and beat a hasty retreat inside.
Today we did the obligatory stop at Wall Drug, in Wall, SD. This self-famous attraction started out as a simple pharmacy in 1931 and quickly learned the value of billboard promotion, not unlike See Rock City. We’ve been seeing their signs since Yellowstone, so of course we had to look around.
|Our Mood Pencils!
North By Northwest
|Tim & Friends
|Crazy Horse To Date
|Work to be done
Deadwood, South Dakota
We galloped on into Deadwood today. This town is famous for its Gold Rush days, circa 1875, and for where Wild Bill Hickok was killed in Saloon No. 10. Wild Bill was seated at a table with his back to the door, a position he was always superstitious about, when the coward Jack McCall shot him from behind. He was playing poker, holding aces and eights, which will forever be known as Dead Man’s Hand.
We hung out in Saloon No. 10 and watched a reenactment of the scene. Then I played some cards there, just so I could brag about it later.
Deadwood is a lot like Bardstown, only with steep mountains and gambling in every possible building; restaurants, coffee shops, hotels and motels, wherever they can stick a slot machine.
Wild Bill and Calamity Jane are buried next to each other way up on Boot Hill, in Moriah Cemetery, where the wind howls just like the song:
“Moriah makes the mountains sound
Like folks were up there dying”
We are camped at Whistler Gulch, the site of a former gold mine. The campground is situated on a hilly slope, and at the top are the slag heaps of ore tailings and the old mine entrance. We rummaged around in the piles for gold findings that may have been overlooked, but I think all we got were just rocks.
|Gold Mine Tunnel
1903 Mining Compressor