Mount Rushmore and the Badlands
I left Deadwood this morning and headed south through the beautiful Black Hills National Forest, probably the best ride I've had yet. The weather was sunny and clear with temperatures in the 70's. There were many bikers leaving Deadwood as the rally ended yesterday. Several were on the same route as me, so there was a long caravan of bikers with whom to keep pace.
By around 10:30, I'd made it to the monument. It was very impressive.
Afterwards, I stopped in the little mining town of Keystone, where I had a bison cheeseburger for lunch. Not bad...sort of like a very lean beef burger.
Looking up Main Street in Keystone...
And looking down Main.
Keystone has a working locomotive and cars and folks can pay the fare to take a short ride. Here they were watering up the tank of the steam locomotive. Hearing its loud whistle and the chug-chug-chug was very cool.
I had my bison cheeseburger lunch in Ruby's Cafe, which had a very wild west, pioneer motif...guns, hides, war bonnets, old photos...all backed by the bright red wallpaper of the day. Above is the main dining room.
A little over an hour down the road headed east is Wall Drug. This is Main Street in Wall, South Dakota. Tons of bikers here, too.
This little town and it's namesake drugstore are sort of South Dakota's answer to Pedro's South of the Border on the North Carolina-South Carolina state line. Like SOB, one sees signs for Wall Drug for hundreds of miles before one is actually anywhere near the place...but once one arrives, the place has EVERYTHING.
Need cowboy hats? They've got hundreds.
Need cowboy boots? They've got hundreds.
Need cowboy belts? You get the idea.
Probably anything else you need... they've got that, too. Amazing.
Wall is sort of the gateway to the Badlands...a landscape that would make one think they were on Mars if they didn't know any better.
About an hour east of Wall is a little place called the "1880's Town." It's a collection of period correct buildings that were built here for a movie but then abandoned when the project was cancelled. A man bought the property and added more and more buildings, but rather than building them, he found actual buildings and had them moved here. So it's like being in a real 1880's vintage town.
Here's the main street.
All the buildings have actual furnishings or equipment in them to match the period.
Here's a small saloon with a bar and two card tables.
A lumber and coal store.
A general store.
Marshal's office and jail.
A larger saloon.
A clothing shop.
I had my first ever sasparilla in the Longhorn Saloon...it's just really kinda like root beer.
Here's a picture from the balcony.
They even rent costumes for those who want to really get into the spirit of the thing. These pretty girls let me take their picture.
As did these. They were "all-in." Great fun.
The place also houses a collection of props from the movie "Dances with Wolves."
These are Graham Green's things. He played "Kicking Bird."
This was "Stone Calf's" war bonnet.
This was Kevin Costner's hooch in the movie.
And a pretty realistic looking (fake) wolf.
Here is a dead buffalo that had been skinned. It's really just plastic. So are the other "live" ones next to it.
They also recognize the Indians there. Here are several portraits of Indians who all took part in the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
This group picture is from a reunion held in 1948, seventy two years after the battle. These old men, all chiefs at the time this picture was taken, were young braves back in 1876 when they defeated Custer and destroyed the elements of the 7th Cavalry under his command that day (incidentally, many believe mistakenly that the entire 7th US Cavalry was destroyed at the Little Bighorn, but only those troops under the direct command of Custer himself were wiped out. Other units under the command of Reno and Benteen survived. The 7th US Cavalry therefore still exists, is a part of the US 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Georgia, and has collected many battle streamers and awards since the Little Bighorn, most recently from Iraq and Afghanistan).
Crazy Horse, who led the Indians (Sitting Bull planned the battle but did not participate). Eyewitness accounts from the victorious Indians say that Crazy Horse fearlessly charged the last of the US soldiers on "Custer Hill" or "Last Stand Hill" and was engaged personally in hand to hand combat until the very end of the battle.
John Sitting Bull.
From there it was back on the Lewis and Clark trail and across the Missouri River where this 40 foot tall statue stands, called "Dignity of Earth and Sky."
Here's the view from the hill.
I finished the day about an hour short of Sioux Falls. From there tomorrow it's on to Sioux City, Iowa, then Omaha, Nebraska, and if all goes well, I'll finish tomorrow in Kansas City.
The Big Ride for 2019 is winding down. Have you shared my website yet? Are you praying for me, that I might reach someone who needs to hear the good news? Have you donated to Voice of the Martyrs, who are dedicated to aiding persecuted Christians worldwide (super easy to do either on Facebook or the website, just look for the "donate" button)? I've met so many lovely people who have said that they will follow me. Are you an old friend who has been with me since last year, or maybe just since the beginning of this year's ride, or are you a new follower whom I've just recently met along my way? In any case, are you willing to accept the challenge I'm issuing you right now to help me if you haven't already done so this year? I double-dawg dare you!
God bless you! W