Tuesday, November 1, 2016

On the Road Again (Deadwood and Belle Fourche, South Dakota)

After spending two memorable days in Rapid City, S.D., Mary and I headed west, making stops in Deadwood and Belle Fourche in our whirlwind journey.

We drove through Sturgis, home of the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Last year it attracted one million visitors. Maybe I'll return if my wife lets me buy a motorcycle (I'm not holding my breath).

Cowboy statue
Deadwood, a town of about 1,300 founded in 1876, has a lot to offer for tourists,  from history of the wild west (Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane), gambling, museums, historic buildings, gold mines, and the Mount Moriah Cemetery. The historic district was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1961. Now that's a lot of history.

And you'll find lots of casinos, if that's your thing. 

Hickok memorial 
We took a self-guided walking tour of the town, ending at the famous cemetery with the grave sites of Hickok and Calamity Jane. Hickok's bronze memorial was dedicated in 2002, following a $4.8 million restoration of the historic and sacred grounds.

Sheriff Seth Bullock's tombstone was placed at the top the cemetery, another 750 feet from the others, so his wish of being on a plot facing Mount Roosevelt (he and President Theodore Roosevelt were friends) could be fulfilled. 

Gunfights are reenacted several times a day but we were there too early in the morning to witness the gunslingers do their thing. I suppose I'll have to watch reruns of HBO's "Deadwood" to experience those bloody encounters.

Center of the Nation monument
After Deadwood, we made a quick stop in Belle Fourche (pronounced Foosh), a town of 5,600 near the geographic center of the United States. The actual center is about 20 miles north of town, but it's on private property so the monument is located behind the Tri-State Museum and Visitor Center.

Lebanon, Kansas, held that distinction until Aug. 21, 1959, when Hawaii was admitted as the 50th state. It's now the "Geographic Center of the 48 Contiguous States." I wonder if the citizens of Belle Fourche are concerned about Puerto Rico becoming the 51st state?

Buckskin Johnny Cabin
While there we toured the museum and visited the Buckskin Johnny Cabin, built in 1876. As with most places, we wished we could have stayed longer but time was of the essence. We had to take the highway (according to our Tom Tom).

For more images, visit my Facebook page by clicking here for Deadwood and here for Belle Fourche.

Next stop: Devil's Tower.

Until the next time....

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