The Great Baseball Ride: Deadwood and Mount Rushmore.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt

Our hotel in Spearfish was about an hour or so away from Deadwood, and we were excited to swing through there.  A friend had said that it is one of her favorite places and having watched all of three episodes of the HBO series Deadwood, I had all kinds of old west town images in my mind.  

Yes they do.
A quick stop in Sturgis on our way to Deadwood. We’d love to see this place in it’s prime during the Bike Rally.

I suspect Deadwood was a bit quieter when we went (mid-week, pre-memorial day), but we still really enjoyed it.  Set in the Black Hills of South Dakota, the town is a little bit of history and a lotta bit of saloons and gambling.  It has a wonderful charm that is unique to itself.  

Didn’t see any horses or cowboys, the town has changed a bit, but only a bit.

They shut down the brothel industry in the area in 1980 (what took them so long?), so it’s a bit more family friendly now.  Our goal for the day was some Deadwood and some Mount Rushmore before getting a bit closer to home, so we didn’t linger too long in the town. 

Soren was getting hungry.

We did walk the main stretch and take some pics.  We also stopped to have lunch at The Nugget Saloon.  If you go, we very much recommend the Pot Roast Poutine.  We had that as an appetizer, before sharing a small pizza. 

Not big on posting food pics, unless the food is really freaking good and we want to remember it later!

They were also running $3.50 flavored Smirnoff specials. I don’t know if they run specials like that in busier times, but I did notice the whole town seemed to be pushing to sell drinks.  One shop appeared to be a clothing and apparel store, but had a sign offering cold $2 Schlitzes for those that wandered in. Our kind of town. 

We liked the classic feel of the bar at The Nugget Saloon.
Soren liked the bar stools.

We left Deadwood, excited to come back another time for a more in depth visit.  We headed to Mount Rushmore, stopping in Keystone (another charming town) for some ice cream.  Once at Mount Rushmore, we were reminded that it is actually free to see the monument, but is not free to park ($10 for cars/rv’s and $50 for buses).  Fee paid, car parked, we were ready to see the spectacle that is the monument. We had been here before, three years ago, but Soren’s memory of it was fuzzy since it was, for him, literally half a lifetime ago.  

We were lucky. Just before we left a fog (or clouds) moved in and people just arriving couldn’t see the monument at all.

There is a museum dedicated to the history of the monument complete with a 15 minute movie that takes you through that history.  It was an amazing undertaking, and truly a testament to the vision, talent, and perseverance that a person can have.  

They even had their own baseball team.

I never really cared to visit the monument growing up, but when we visited three years ago, I was blown away and excited to come back.  This recent trip felt the same way. It is a national treasure for sure.

Back in the car, we are headed for home.  We have no more games or sights planned, and are anxious to see our loved ones.  We stop in Rapid City for dinner, then on to the HoJo in Chamberlain, SD for the night.  We have been very happy with Howard Johnsons on our trip. This is our third stop and they have all been well priced, well designed, and well cared for.  Tonights version is the nicest of the three as it is not a traditional motel, but a two story hotel with an indoor pool and fitness center. At $70 with taxes (using 3,000 Wyndham rewards points), it is a solid deal.

Another great day on this trip!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *