(Black Hawk, SD) Hi 92 Lo 78 – (Jim) - Today we took a trip about 20 miles north of us to check out the towns of Sturgis and Deadwood, both towns on the “don’t miss” list when you’re in this area. Sturgis is right on I-90, and most famous for the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally every August. To be honest, if it weren’t for it’s motorcycle heritage there wouldn’t be a reason to see Sturgis. Just a lot of t-shirt shops and motorcycle-related businesses. It was kind of neat to see the town’s name on the side of a nearby hill. Their version of a “Hollywood” sign. (Click on photos to make them bigger.)
We didn’t get started today until close to lunchtime, so we stopped at The Knuckle Saloon for lunch. I had their famous steak tips and Dee had a chicken quesadilla. Both were very good.
Outside the saloon is this neat mileage post. Apparently all roads lead to Sturgis.
State Hwy 14A heads west out of Sturgis about 14 miles up into the mountains to the famous wild west town of Deadwood. The scenery was beautiful! Here’s some examples.
We finally reached Deadwood.
Deadwood was pretty lawless and violent back in the late 1800’s. They’ve done a good job of retaining the character of a wild west town along Main Street.
It is touristy looking, but in a good way. The shops don’t look tacky like in a lot of tourist towns. And there are casinos everywhere! It seems every business has a small casino inside.
One sight we didn’t want to miss was the Mt. Moriah Cemetery.
Dee is a little bit of a cemetery junky, and she loves walking through old graveyards to see how old the gravestones are. Mt. Moriah had hundreds of graves from the 1800’s. Most of them are so worn over time that it’s hard to make out the lettering. The town is replacing the oldest gravestones a few at a time.
We had to climb a couple of pretty steep hills on our walking tour. The 90-degree heat and 5,000 ft. elevation took its toll on us. We got bushed!
There were some beautiful old statues like this one.
Deadwood’s most famous residents were Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane. They’re both buried in Mt. Moriah Cemetery, side-by-side (at Jane’s request, as you can read here).
Wild Bill got a statue, but Jane has only a small marker on her elevated grave next to him.
After our workout walking around the cemetery for about an hour, we drove west out of Deadwood about three miles to the very small mining town of Lead.
Lead is a lot smaller than Deadwood, with none of its charm. It’s most famous for a tour of an old gold mine, where you can pan for your own gold. We didn’t take part in that. We figured if that panning for gold thing worked there would be a lot more people lining up to do it. :)
We made our way back to the RV park just ahead of a small thunderstorm that dropped a little rain and cooled things down. It was a fun day. We never cease to be amazed and thrilled by the beauty of our great country. And to have the opportunity to travel and see as much of it as we do is, well… priceless! Growing up and looking at pictures of Mt. Rushmore in school books, we never thought we’d have the opportunity to see it in person. And tomorrow we will. We can’t wait!