We woke up this morning just outside of Sturgis, SD. We cruised west through downtown. Just as we came up to the highway we saw a sign for Deadwood. From what I could tell from the internet, my best guess was that Deadwood is something between Salem and Reno. It started as an outlaw town during the gold rush and was filled with gambling and prostitution. Today it is still filled with casinos and saloons, but all the brothels are now gift shops and boutiques.
All the buildings still retain their historical integrity, but are well maintained and updated to modern stores. There are a lot of historical sights there, but I couldn't find anything that told how the town was founded. Sherm later looked it up and we found out why the founding was not published all over town. From the very beginning it was an outlaw town. It was illegally founded on the American Indian land. When gold was found in the Black Hills the town blew up with outlaws and brothels.
Deadwood caters to tourists today. Although its filled with casinos its also family friendly. Being on main street was a lot like being home on Cape Cod, but instead of a fishing village we were in a wild west town - there were even gun fights in the street. We spent just about all day there being tourists.
We found a tobacconist in the basement of a building: Deadwood Tobacco Co. It smelled so great, it was the first time I ever wanted to get into cigars. We got a Sturgis Limited Edition: Sweet Jane. Its the owners own blend- she was out at a convention when we were there. The man working there was wicked friendly and helpful. We know nothing of cigars, but he was more than happy to help us. We got a Sweet Jane cigar to save for our journey's end celebration.
On the other side of downtown we found Deadwood Dick's Saloon. We walked in to a antique / thrift shop, bigger than any I've very seen. It was multiple store fonts, and there was bar in it. A lot of the big boutique and shops had bars in them. I'm pretty sure its so the husband can have a drink and watch the game while the wife shops. I hope that is why at least, because that cracks me up! It's such a good idea!
Today I really felt like I was on vacation (albeit a working vacation. We stopped at Mustang Sally's sport bar for a snack and a beer and got some office work done). More than the fact that we are not pressed for time, there is something about the bus that forces you to slow down and take your time. We left deadwood and followed the signs for Lead, a mountain town up the mountain a bit from Deadwood. From there we took the scenic route back to the highway though Black Hills National Forest.
We took 85 south of Lead across the Wyoming border. It was a breathtaking ride through the Black Hills, and a true testament to just how awesome our bus Neil is. Out of Black Hills nation Forest we took 585 back up to I90 in Sundance, WY. Route 585 was flat, with mountain in the distance on either side. Finally, after thousands of miles through cow farms, (how appropriate it wasn't until Wyoming) we saw cowboys hearding their cattle across the street! Well, it was a cowgirl and her cowchildren - a mom and her kids all on horses.
As soon as we got onto 585 we saw a giant cloud all along the horizon. It looked like a snow covered mountain. I thought the road was going to descend and the cloud would be above us by the time we got to Sundance. I was wrong. We got closer and there were clouds right above the buildings. A little further along it started to get foggy. Then we were IN the cloud. Thank goodness the road was through flat land! A few locals passed us going the other way - they didn't seem to mind driving through a cloud. We were going so slow we had our flashers. The cars that passed was a very good sign that a town was coming up, but still, I avoided saying "this is how horror movies start."
Neil is a champ and just as Sherm was starting to have trouble seeing we saw the glow of a hotel. Once we bunkered in we heard thunder, then some kind of tapping. "Is it raining?" I asked Sherm. "Maybe it's a truck," he said as we opened the door. We were both wrong: it was hail. Everything about this trip and the weather has been perfect timing for us (today in the plains - which we just got out of - there are up to 80 mph winds! 15mph was bad enough for us!) Karma is a wonderful thing. We always do our best to be positive and things always seem to work out for us.