Randye and Candace: Goin' West
We checked out of the "hotel from h---" Saturday morning and drove back towards the Black Hills. Candace wanted to see the bear cubs again, so we did a drive-by of the Bear Country sanctuary. I have to admit that they are cute, though.
After that, we backtracked and headed west on I-90. We were so close to the state line with Wyoming, we had decided to go that way so we could say we had visited. Also, the couple from Arizona suggested the Devil's Tower as a great destination if we did go into Wyoming. So, our third detour took us through the Black Hills. To me, it seemed that the moment we passed the state's welcome sign, the terrain changed from rolling tree-covered hills to red, bare-faced rock. It was amazing in its stark beauty.
Soon after exiting onto Hwy. 14, I got my first glimpse of Devil's Tower. Even from that distance, it dominated the landscape. It reminded me that one of the things I enjoyed about this trip was seeing the changing scenery as it, honestly, whizzed by my car's windshield. This site, however, made me pull over three times so I could simply appreciate it without the need to watch for other traffic. And, yes, I did stop before taking the roadside pictures below.
We decided not to pay just to drive through the national park. Instead, we had lunch in the picnic area of the nearby trading post (souvenir shop) and got up close looks at Devil's Tower with the binoculars. I'd pretty much souvenired out, so I settled for a handful of postcards that I put into the post office mail slot even though the next mail pickup on Monday would mean Candace would beat the card addressed to her parents to Maryland.
Candace and I returned to I-90 and slipped back into South Dakota. Our next destination: the town of Deadwood. Somehow, I had fantasies of a restored western town where shootouts occurred for the entertainment of the tourists. Well, the town was more like a typical tourist trap with souvenir stores lining the main street. At least, though, we got to see a shootout. The "sheriff" deputized all of the kids sitting in the area in preparation of the evening reinactment of the trial for the murderer of Wild Bill Hickok (holder of the infamous "Dead Man's Hand" of aces and eights when he was shot) in 1876. After the shootout ended, characters such as "Calamity Jane" chatted with the holiday weekend crowd.
We hopped onto one of the tourist trolleys that took us around the area. The most striking sight to me was how many houses and buildings were constructed right up against the cliff-like hills.
In the remaining daylight and early evening, we got back onto I-90 and drove east. We stopped in Wall (but no shopping at the drug store despite the deluge of billboards encouraging us to do so) and had to hunt for a motel with a vacancy before we could settle in for the night. One nice thing about being in a tourist town, though, is that one can always find a sit-down restaurant open late.