Saturday, May 23, 2009

Deadwood, Mammoth Site and Custer State Park, South Dakota


Friday we were trying to decide where we were going to go. First we had to find out why we were having a propane smell in the rig. We had turned it off in Salt Lake City because we smelled it but knew we could do without it until we got to Rapid City. Since we are on the property of a RV dealer Rod went over to the service department to see if they could have a look at it. One of the mechanics came over, diagnosed the problem and contacted our extended warranty company. They agreed to pay for the repairs so the guy said he'd fix it shortly. Well, we waited and waited for him to come back but it wasn't until about 3:30 in the afternoon before he came back. He fixed the problem in no time at all but by then it was after 4:00. The only thing left to do that late was go to Deadwood where the casinos are. LOL. Deadwood is also where Wild Bill Hickock was killed at Saloon Number 10 while his back was to the door. The cards he was holding, Aces and Eights, has since been known as the "dead man's hand". We both lost a little bit but I'm pretty sure we're going to be going back again. It was late and started raining so we didn't stay long. We also need to get back the money we left there...

We had GREAT ribeye steaks at the restaurant above the casino

Look at the "ladies" in the upper windows.

Today we decided to go to the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs where there is a real sinkhole that they have been excavating since 1974 when construction workers clearing land for a housing development discovered a huge bone protruding out of the ground. They built a building over the site so they can work whenever they want to (although they only excavate in July) without the dig being destroyed. It's pretty awesome the way they did that. This is a real working dig with 55 real mammoth and one short-faced bear bones. Usually the ones you see in a museum are made from molds and put together. Rod would have stayed there ALL day but we still had Custer State Park to cruise through.

There are little markers everywhere to identify the bones they find

Pretty impressive

You know he wanted to read every single thing there. That's the short-faced bear, by the way. It stood 15 feet tall on it's hind legs.

From there we went to Custer State Park. It's only a 30 mile loop through the park but very slow twisty turning roads. Rod has one of those old people cards that get us into National Parks for free so he was a little miffed that we had to pay $6 per person to get into this state park.

We saw lots of bison,

Pronghorn antelope,

"Wild" burros,

And wild turkeys

From there we were going to take Iron Mountain Road to some scenic back roads to get something to eat and then back home. We missed the road we were supposed to take and ended up in Keystone right by Mt Rushmore. Darn, we didn't want to see it until the weather had warmed up later in the week so that we could get out and hike around the area. It was overcast and 50's all day and one of the ranger's said he'd heard from somebody that the clouds were so low you couldn't see the "boys" on the mountain. The road was extremely twisty and very narrow. We had to go through some tunnels that were one lane and one vehicle at a time. It was a beautiful drive though.

See how twisty the road is?

One of the tunnels. Good thing we didn't have the 5th wheel with us.

We went through three tunnels and they were all designed by Peter Norbeck so that you could see the "boys" through each one of them. Can you see them?

The "boys". You can tell it was an overcast day. I can't wait till we can go back when the weather is nice. Should be later this week.

Tomorrow we plan on visiting Devil's Tower. If you've seen the movie Close Encounters you'll remember Devil's Tower.


ANT-Zee said...

Yeesh, you are going to need about 3 days to get through the Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheller if Rod needs to read everything regarding bones...LOL.

Jim and Dee said...

Wow awesome! Thanks for posting, this is fun following along with you.

Anonymous said...

Haven't seen a post in quite a while. Are you guys ok?

Donna Daniel