Pambling Roads ~~
Meeting the Americans brings us to South Dakota. Excitement has slowly been
building for us. South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana are the settings used in my
Wilderness Series. The time travel historical fiction tells the story of a
young doctor who finds herself in the middle of Sioux country. I’ve dreamed of
the area, felt as if I was standing on the very soil that Sitting Bull, Gall,
and Crazy Horse tread. Seeing everything, feeling the earth underneath my feet,
walking the trails was inspiring for me. To be on the very soil that I wrote
about, only imagined in my head, and now being there, was thrilling.
Pactola Dam and
On our way to
Deadwood, we passed a home that had their trees painted and decorated with
different designs. It looked awesome! I wish I had gotten a picture of it.
Deadwood, South Dakota
We stayed at the Best
Western Hickok. We had a wonderful room and great, attentive employees. They
were, in our mid-west tour, the best crew all around that we have met.
At the Hickok House
restaurant, Gary was our waiter the first night, excellent all around, great
food great service. Our last night we stayed at the hotel we had Alexa. She too
was top-notch along with the food. We definitely recommend eating at this
Later that night went
played around at the Gambling Emporium and decided to sit for a few drinks.
They serve beer and wine which was just fine with us. We chatted with the
bartender, Sue, met her husband, Dan, when he came for a cup of coffee before
he went off to work. We met another gentleman who was in town working for
Boeing, a couple from Illinois. It was a very relaxing atmosphere. All the
employees were happy and you could see it by the atmosphere they created. They
are a perfect example of how someone can be professional, proficient, and
friendly. Conversations started with recommendations on what to see, Bridal
Veil Falls, Buffalo Jump, Devil’s Tower, Harney Peak were several places
mentioned. Devil’s Tower was in the movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”
We stopped at
Deadwood’s historic Boot Hill where we were able to visit the grave sites of
Calamity Jane (Martha Canary) and Wild Bill Hickok (James Butler Hickok). We
learned about Potato Creek Johnny, a colorful character and prospector who was
very well known and loved among the community. Another name you may be familiar
with if you have some knowledge of western lore, Seth Bullock is buried there.
He was a sheriff in Deadwood, a Rough Rider, and was also friends with Theodore
section is an historical or western lover’s dream. It doesn’t have the same
feel as Tombstone, Arizona but has its own western feel and it was wonderful
walking and driving around the old western town full of history. If you like to
play at the casinos, they have some great places to go.
Deadwood has a trolley
bus. The trolley bus runs all day and late into the evening, cost is $1 per
ride. The trolley bus stops at the hotels to pick up guests, and circles the
area stopping at many locations in town.
We were planning to do
laundry but there was a sign on the door that it was closed due to repairs.
Disappointed we started back to our room. I believe it was the manager/owner
who approached us apologizing and letting us know that a repairman would be
there that day. We chatted for a bit and then he went on his way. As promised,
the dryer was taken care of a few hours later, our laundry was done, and we
Custer, South Dakota
We stayed at the Best
Western where it was clean and comfy. The pool was huge and it has a great hot
tub. The continental breakfast was definitely a good meal.
Crazy Horse Monument
The world’s largest
mountain carving, the Crazy Horse Monument was absolutely mind blowing. After
all the research, I have done for my historical fiction, reading about the
Sioux, studying about their culture, I was still fascinating watching it all
happen before my eyes. I have seen Native dancers, but watching it with Crazy
Horse in the background, it wasn’t quite the same. There was a specialness
about the whole encounter.
The scale model of the
projected monument that Korczak Ziolkowski created was inspiring. (Ziolkowski
also worked on Mount Rushmore)
There is so much to
see at this site that it would take days to take it all in and every moment
would be filled with wonder. Most of our time was spent in the museums. It
amazed us when we learned that fragments from the blast of the Crazy Horse
Monument were used to build the Native American Educational and Cultural
Custer State Park
This park is huge and
we spent hours enjoying every square inch we could. We started with Needle
Highway Scenic Drive. The cliffs and the twists and turns were a bit white
knuckling but boy was it worth it. Everyone was taking their time, enjoying the
scenery. No one was in a hurry, no one was being pushy, and it was very
exciting. Once done with the mountainous cliffs we turned onto Wildlife Loop
Road and off we were to a different world.
We saw deer, prairie
dogs, pronghorns, burros, numerous variety of birds, and numerous buffalo! I
did drive with the window open calling “Here kitty, kitty… Kitty!” Alas, we saw
Four Mile Old West
Ghost Town/Moss City
Over fifty old
original local buildings set up in a town atmosphere, a real boardwalk,
furnishings that were original to most of the buildings all in a unique western
town that was called Four Mile or Moss City. It is where people came in from
Custer to house and water their horses, get water for themselves, purchase
necessary wares from the mercantile and then head back to Custer. It is filled
with an abundance of western history and some unique antiques that are rare and
hard to find.
They found original
walls from a stockade or possible small military fort that was built near the
fresh water spring and they have reconstructed what they could to make it
appear as it was in the late 1800’s. We chatted with Kathy for a while and
learned quite a bit about the area.
Wow. It just
flabbergasts me that these men could envision a huge rock and create such
splendor from it. Between the Crazy Horse and Mount Rushmore, it was difficult
not to stare with my mouth open. From the Avenue of Flags to the Grand View
Terrace to the Presidential Trail, every step we took felt ceremonious, an
excellent tribute to the great leaders of our country.
We met with Don “Nick”
Clifford who worked on Mount Rushmore from 1938 to 1940. He was having a book
signing at one of the gift shops. We purchased a copy and he signed it for us.
While Mr. Clifford was working on Mount Rushmore, his wife compiled information
and the two wrote a Q & A book about Mount Rushmore.
Why are the holes in
the honeycomb rock different shapes?
What does baseball
have to do with Mount Rushmore?
What was the worst
The Flintstones Theme
Flintstones, meet the Flintstones. They’re the modern Stone Age family…
Yes, we did! We took
the train ride and then walked around the complex. We checked out all the Stone
Age homes, statues, vehicles, etc. We stopped at the theatre, bought some
popcorn, and enjoyed watching some Flintstone shows.
They even have a Stone
Age Drive-In where you can sit down and have a meal: Brontoburgers, fries, Dino
Dogs, ice cream treats, etc.
If you like to camp,
they have a camping resort, full service park for tents, or full hook-ups, and
1881 Custer County
Custer is the oldest
city in South Dakota. The courthouse was used for 92 years. When the new
building was constructed, the historical society took over the old courthouse
in 1976 and made it into a museum.
It is filled with
exhibits from the farming and mining industry, Native American artifacts and
history, the courtroom, the original jail, and a few memorabilia from WW1 and
WW2. The ladies at the museum who greet you when you walk in were wonderful.
They were full of information about the town and happy to answer our questions.
We chatted for a while exchanging information about our different towns and
The Flick Cabin
The cabin is the first
original home that was built in 1875 and was used as a residence and military
A smorgasbord of every
rock and mineral you would possibly desire. We walked out of there with a
handful of goodies. The employees were friendly and were happy to answer our
questions about the different rocks and minerals in the area.
Great pizza, great
service, friendly employees, it is open in the summer months only. Is it the
best pizza in town? We think so. We can honestly say that it was top-rated. It
was one of the best pizzas we have ever eaten and we know our pizza!
Dakota Cowboy Café
Good food, good
service, we would recommend it to anyone coming to the area.
It was recommended by
a few people to see the Grand Magic Show but we ran out of time.
Thank you for taking
the time to continue to read Pambling Roads. I appreciate the emails and
comments. I love to hear from readers.
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Have you been to any of the places I have mentioned? Do you have stories to tell as well? We want to hear them. Do you live in any of the areas I have written about? There is a comment section below and on all the Pambling Roads article pages for you to tell us all about it.
Thank you for taking the time to read about our adventures traveling the United States. Our goal? The 48 states! I tried, really I did, I tried really hard to get my husband to agree to drive to Alaska. I didn't win that one. Maybe the next time.
It has been a great adventure, meeting the Americans, and meeting people from all over the world. Share with us, we want to hear all about it! Take advantage of comment section below and tell us your stories
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