Sunday, July 19, 2009

Deadwood, Keystone and Mt. Rushmore at Night

Brenda has been waiting all summer to go to Deadwood with their 80 gaming establishments so we drove there on Saturday. This place is aptly named in my opinion. It has a “bad boy” reputation because local drinking, gambling and prostitution laws were never enforced. It was as late as 1980 that outside law enforcement brought them into line with the rest of the nation. Their other claim to fame is that Wild Bill Hickok was shot in the back and killed during a card game here. So much for resting on your laurels.

It is a very narrow valley and the town has been destroyed by floods five times and burned to the ground twice. We visited the Adams Museum and they do have some interesting things that have been uncovered in all the rebuilding that has gone on over the decades.

But our first impression wasn’t great when there were parking meters at the Visitors Center … and a meter maid walking around writing tickets. There are meters everywhere in town. If there aren’t, there is a parking lot with an attendant. Sure makes you want to come and gamble in this town!

We drove to the edge of town to a small park (with a few free parking spots) and had a picnic. There was an archeological dig going on right next to us. Then we bit the bullet and paid to park in town. We went to the Golden Nugget because Brenda had found $5 rack cards for all of us. When we signed up they gave us another $5 so we started off with $10 each of their money. Their slots are not interesting at all and I couldn’t find one that I liked. Ted’s name was called and his card was given another $15 so he had plenty to play the video poker. When we left, I had lost their money and $20 of mine. Ted had almost $28 of theirs so we came out a bit ahead even after paying to park. Brenda did OK but I think Rick was in the same boat as me.

We came home and had dinner and left about 8:00 to go to the night Lighting Program at Mt. Rushmore. They do a nice job with a story of the west though the U.S. never takes any blame for what was done to Native Americans and we saw a film on why these four presidents were chosen. All active enlistees and veterans were invited on stage. Then there is the lighting of the sculpture followed by the lowering of the flag. Each man on stage placed his right hand on the flag and gave his name and branch of service. It was quite a ceremony and I’m glad patriotism is alive and well … at least in South Dakota. This was the third time Rick was honored as a veteran - the free coffee and donut at Wall Drugs, at the Chuckwagon Dinner and then at Mt. Rushmore.

We had to get up early this morning for church. It was filled unlike our experience last week. We had a big breakfast back at the RV and then left to take the 1880 train from Hill City to Keystone.

The train ride is an hour which is just about right. We enjoyed Keystone much more than Deadwood. We had almost three hours to spend there and had no trouble filling our time. When we entered one store the lady asked both Ted and Rick if they were veterans. When Rick said "yes" she asked what war and he answered "Viet Nam." She gave him a hat that says I'm a Viet Nam War Veteran and Proud of It. Apparently she asks every gentleman who comes in and gives them a free hat. What a great reception veterans get in this state. We arrived back at Hill City around 6:00. We came home and had a light dinner.

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