Thursday, July 10, 2008

So What Else Did We Do in South Dakota?

As some of our readers have noted in comments or emails to us (and thanks for the responses!), we were busy in South Dakota! We saw Devils Tower (in Wyoming), the Spearfish Passion Play, the Stavkirke. We met one set of friends at a steak dinner at Rush-No-More Campground, then two other sets of friends showed up after the Escapade. We celebrated the 4th of July with hot dogs (actually Polish sausages) and Suzy's fabulous new potato salad and my favorite, Jell-O! We even had a phone consultation with our Financial Wizard.

Tuesday was our last day of sightseeing, and we still had a major list to see: Spearfish Scenic Byway (down Spearfish Canyon), visiting Lead, then Deadwood with its Mt. Moriah Cemetery (final resting place of both Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane). The final highlight would be Kevin Costner’s “Tatanka; Story of the Bison.”

We drove down the Scenic Byway between towering vertical cliffs carved over the millenia by Spearfish Creek.
What a beautiful drive!

Along the way we stopped at Bridal Veil Falls, which was a pretty waterfall but not spectacular.

Near the end of the Scenic Byway we came to Roughlock Falls. That was very nice.

Roughlock Falls got its name from the way wagons had to travel down these very steep slopes in the gold rush days. The drivers would “roughlock” their wagon wheels with logs or chains to keep them from turning, hitch the horses to the rear, and then slowly skid down the slope.

I've learned a new trick - taking time exposures of moving water to make a special effect, and I took about eight of them. This is the best.

While I went further downstream to see the lower falls, Suzy did some pretty good photography of her own, this time a narrow depth of field; the roses are in perfect focus, the background only suggestive of the waterfall.

A sign near Roughlock Falls pointed up a road to a Dances With Wolves movie site, which we believe was used for the tribe’s winter camp. We didn’t take that road, because we’d rather see the winter encampment on our TV screen. But the cliffs around the falls were pretty impressive, especially with the lowering clouds.

Beyond Roughlock Falls, we found the small community of Cheyenne Crossing, and it’s fine Stagestop CafĂ©. We had heard they served an excellent Indian Taco, and decided to try it out. The large size was big enough that we each brought half home to have for dinner. As we were paying for our meal, the weather radio announced severe lightning storm warnings for our area, so we cut short the tour, passing Lead and Deadwood without stopping, then heading back for Sturgis along US14A, the Boulder Canyon route.

Just outside of Sturgis is the Black Hills National Cemetery, with its disciplined rows of identical white marble markers, and its ranks of American flags.

We made a respectful tour of the cemetery, then crossed the highway to a tiny chapel in a park, both established by the VFW in memory of all Americans who have died in military service. The chapel was not open, unfortunately.

Wednesday morning we pulled out of Sturgis, headed north on US 85 to North Dakota. This is our first visit to the state, and we’ll be adding its emblem to our map.

We received a comment on our last blog from friends Pat and Mike, hoping we’d be able to visit them down in Custer, SD, before leaving the area. Pat and Mike are vendors who sell an excellent tire pressure monitoring system (we have it on our motorhome and car). They have a summer home in Custer, and travel to some of the same rallies we attend. However, Custer was the other direction from most of our touring, and our visit to the Stavkirke in Rapid City came on a day we had to return home for our Financial Wizard’s phone call. Maybe next time we’re in the area, Mike and Pat, we’ll be able to see your place.

In the meantime, family and friends, we hope you’ll continue to enjoy as much as we do … Our Life on Wheels.

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