‘Twas a pretty active day.
Had a happening breakfast buffet in a bright open space, with a patio , at Tru Hilton, with decent eggs and good Lavazza coffee.
The semi-tough looking crew of bikers beside me all seem to be in real estate, from over hearing their loud conversation. C21s Angels. There are a lot of bikers in Deadwood.
The 4th floor view from my room would have been great if not for that 5-story wall in the backyard. Hilton Tru is the nicest room I’ve had to date though, very new and fresh, 52” flatscreen, double queen.
My accent was picked up on again and I had an extended conversation with lovely Mary Maynard Née McDermott, from solid Irish American stock.
Mary considers herself non denominational but had strong religious beliefs. Like a lot of people, she lost faith in organized religions. Mary had 9 children in ten years, though her original plan was three. Sadly she lost a son to a motor cycling hit and run, a block from her home, a few years back , her heartbreak still evident. We also talked about her concerns about the drinking of some of her family, a common Irish thread. Mary’s not a drinker. Mary kindly gave me her number and told me to call if I was in need, she was very warm and thoughtful.
And she was responsible for the excellent coffee.
Mary also explained how Sturgis is now just a town for the bikers, functioning solely for their big event each year. Probably not worth visiting today she said.
I got a big hug goodbye.
Started out today at the Days of 76 museum. A celebration of Deadwood history. These guys had great nicknames Deadwood Dick, Potato Creek Johnny . I’m guessing I’d have been Potato Dick back in 76.
The museum has an impressive collection of muskets and carbines and early rifles. Housed in the museum is also an impressive collection of beautifully preserved covered wagons, carriages and other wheely western things.
Teresa, working at the Museum was extraordinarily well versed in the history of Deadwood. She had actually read all available periodicals of the day as well as available history. I was delighted to hear that HBOs Deadwood was remarkably accurate, though chronology was switched a little. We talked a bit about about the cultural influence the Western has had globally.
Teresa is also a gold prospector, with a few claims , and explained the Potato references here refer to the shape of the stones nuggets are quite often found in.
Headed into Deadwood to stake a claim and find the Adams museum.
Seems I’ve hit the Deadwood Jam Weekend, two days of non stop free music. Sweet.
Looking for the Adams Museum, located near thd music venue , I once again asked security if he knew where the museum was” No clue”, he said .It was right behind his back. Is Deadwood the Manhattan of SD? No one is actually from here?
There was an impressive looking text book on the counter with lots of unlining going on. Elizabeth, another young expert on local history, explained that the Adams building was constructed mid depression, in 1930, to house artifacts of Deadwood and regional history. It’s an ideal museum for the area. But that stuffed two headed calf – why? Nightmarish.
Elizabeth recommended The Green Bean coffee shop in Spearfish, Dough Traders for dinner ther and a fish hatchery. Elizabeth again was a huge help. She’s studying history at college in Spearfish .
Right by Adams I happened on Pump House , a combination Cafe , bar and glass blowing center. So I bought a coke and watched a dude blow.
Where history is the needle, Casinos, bars and souvenir stores are now the Deadwood haystack. But the needle is still there. Deep.
MT. Moriah Cemetery, a little outside Deadwood center, hosts the mortal remains of Calamity Jane, right beside Wild Bill, as was her dying wish. Potato Creek Johnny snuck in there too, sneaky old spud.
Buried above them , up a quarter mile incline, is the grave of Bullock and his wife.
For those of you that don’t know who I’m talking about , read more or watch the series!
A young couple at his graveside advised I skip North Dakota , Nebraska and Kansas. As Granny used to say “ You should never ignore advice given from the side of a grave”.
The cemetery is beautiful and has a full view of Deadwood below.
I’m going to have to hit the thesaurus soon , but the Deadwood through Wyoming drive, on route something or other, was stunning.
Talked to Randy for a bit, working at the Devils Tower Gulch Bar, where I had a pit stop. His son had been to Ireland with a singing group this year, loved the place and hopes to get back very soon. Dublin’s a long haul from Devils Tower, WY. He showed me photos of a Buffalo herd that got in his way when he was doing some hauling yesterday.
Devils Tower , WY – the parking spot of choice for any Close Encounter of the Third Kind.
Well, yet more stunning stuff. The 1.4 mike hike around the base of Devils Tower is a trip highlight, although the climbers way up there are giving me vertigo. I did give myself a quick start to get ahead of a Japanese group with a wheelchair guy, broken foot. They had a lot of slow moving drama going on. They’ll be sending out Park Rangers to find them after dark.
My OMD t-shirt was a conversation opener with a couple from Michigen. They’d left their animals with family and friends an we’re taking their first vacation in years. They had just seen Jeff Beck. Another couple out of California gave me a bunch of Utah recommendations. Everyone chats on these trails.
A fabulous hike.
Booked a room at Gillette last minute. I cut it close. Drove an hour, checked in at 8.
In the hour across WY, I counted three cars.
Roxy, the pretty 31 year old Mexican receptionist sat and chatted with me for an hour while she folded towels, beside the reception desk, and I waited for my laundry to dry. The hotel had a washer and dryer so I took advantage. It’s a privately owned hotel and Roxanne multi-tasks. They are lucky to have her.
Roxanne has been in the country since she was twelve , when she moved to Minnesota with her Uncle. She stayed there until three months ago when she moved to Gilette, where she had a friend. She is a single mother of two pretty and charming little girls, five and eight ( I met them there). Roxy works each evening until midnight and also does some cleaning work during the day for a different outfit. Something which she enjoys because she gets to see some of the fancier homes in Gillette. She’d like to get different shifts to have more time with the kids. Her Mother is visiting soon, they enjoy driving around together and she does get to México every couple of years.
A customer needed an extra key card, the towels were folded and my drying was done.
I hope everything works out for Roxy and the kids.
I’m in Wyoming.
Hotel: $58 Arbuckle Lodge
Dinner at Old Chicago Pizza: $15
South Dakota book and movie recommendations:
Books: Little Nig Man; Deadwood ( Peter Dexter); The Midnight Line
Movies: Badlands; North by Northwest ; The Revenant; Little Big Man
… and of course HBOs Deadwood.