Deadwood – Day 109


Day 109 – July 18, 2003 – Friday

The Cruiser was ready late yesterday. New transmission. $2,100, but no charge to us as the car was under warranty. We picked it up from Rob at Charbonneau Car Center, said hi to Nick, Casey, and Mitch, and we hit the road. We drove south from Dickinson through the southwestern corner of North Dakota. Not much down there. The road is as straight as an arrow with only a couple of towns, including Bowman and Buffalo.

It was only an hour and a half or so to South Dakota, our 30th state. We stopped in Belle Fourche, the geographical center of the 50 states. We met Julie at the Visitor Center there. She’s nine months pregnant, and she has two sons and is REALLY hoping for a girl. We gave her both pink and blue beads.

We met Sandy, a delightful lady with a stop sign, on road construction between South Dakota and Wyoming. We spoke with her for about 10 minutes before the Follow Me Car came to lead us through the maze. Wyoming then became state #31.

Wyoming was going to be a drive over the line and back state, but my Dad encouraged us to do more. We stopped and met the folks who own the historic general store in Aladdin, Wyoming (population 15). On the front porch, we met four really cute kids — Nick, Katlyn, Alex, and Phillip. We also met their parents, Julie and Phillip.

A California capitalist laid out the town of Aladdin and chose its name from Aladdin of Arabian Nights fame. The Aladdin Store was built by Bill Robinson in 1896. It was first a saloon.

We had lunch at the Cowboy Cafe in Hulett, Wyoming. Lacey was our waitress. The Apple Pie was very good.

We saw the Devil’s Tower National Monument. Devil’s Tower is a volcanic neck. It is part of the first United States National Monument, established in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt. The movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” was filmed there.

Then we saw Sundance, Wyoming (where the Kid got his name) before we crossed back into South Dakota. After his release from the Sundance Jail in 1888, Harry Longabaugh acquired the moniker the Sundance Kid, which entered the popular imagination with the movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” which won several Academy Awards including Best Original Screenplay. Robert Redford, who portrayed Longabaugh in the movie, later named the Sundance Film Festival after this character. “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” was the first movie I ever took Boz to see when we began dating in college.

The northeastern part of Wyoming and the western part of South Dakota are especially beautiful places. Wyoming, Arkansas, and West Virginia were just the odd states out in our trip. Each state was off the logical route. We’ll spend more time in each of these states when we go Round America again. Yes, believe it or not, Bozzie Jane and I were already talking about doing the 50 states again.

Our destination for the day was Deadwood Gulch, South Dakota. Deadwood is the old mining town where Wild Bill Hickock was shot in the back by Jack McCall while holding Aces and Eights in a poker game at Saloon No. 10. Deadwood is now a nicely-themed casino town. We especially enjoyed walking around inside the Midnight Star Casino (owned by Kevin Costner’s brother) and the Celebrity Casino. Both have great displays of movie memorabilia.

We walked all up and down the Deadwood streets. There was apparently a Corvette meeting of some type in town or nearby because we saw Corvettes everywhere.

Boz and I did something that we’ve never done before. We walked out of a restaurant after our drinks were served and before our meal was served. Saloon No. 10 served us the worst tasting drinks that either of us have ever had. The waitress pretty well ignored us when we politely complained. After a half hour or so and no indication that our appetizers would ever come, we just got up and walked out.

Out into the street we went to catch the last Wild Bill Hickock shooting “show” of the day. It wasn’t much better than the terrible drinks at Saloon No. 10. The emcee bragged that the show has been running consecutively for 89 years. It was free, and we got what we paid for. We respectfully suggest that Deadwood should bring in someone with some entertainment talent to re-do their shows.

Down the street in Deadwood we went in search of another restaurant. We chose the Chinatown Cafe. Our waitress was excellent, though she never got into a conversation with us or told us her name. The Chinese food didn’t hold a candle to our favorite in Atlanta, Tien Tsien, but it beat the heck out of Saloon No. 10.

The Daily Journal of Round America:

Each day, we collect our thoughts on a web page just like this. We drop in some of the photos from the day. Our goal with the Daily Journal is to write about the towns we visit, the sights we see, the people we meet, and the pie we eat. We write about where we are, where we’ve been, and where we are going, but we also make observations about what we’ve seen and done as well as about life in general.

You can follow our travels from the Daily Journal section of this website. Other pages of interest include the running report of “vital statistics” on the Trip Scorecard, our nominations for the Best & Worst of the trip, as well as a rating of the pie we eat. If you’d like to see information for a specific state or town, click here, and then click on the state of interest, and the full itinerary is shown.


More Information on the Sights Visited Today:
Geographical Center of the 50 States — Aladdin Wyoming — Devil’s Tower National Monument — Sundance Wyoming — Deadwood Gulch South Dakota