Monday, August 17, 2009

Black Hills

2102 - 2285

I am writing this from the lovely Hisega Lodge B&B in the Black Hills National Forest. My room is in the top front corner, but I am out on the expansive porch in front of it, surrounded by towering pines and listening to a babbling brook. I saw nine deer on the drive in tonight; I tried to photograph the one taking a dump. Imagine being caught in headlights in that compromising position.

This morning I left Gillette, Wyoming and headed into the Black Hills. I had been to Mount Rushmore before, so today I was after more of an esoteric adventure.

First I visited Lead, South Dakota, an old mining town. Yeah, I panned for gold at their Visitor Center (no luck). But I went specifically to see President Park. The half mile walk is lined with enormous busts of all the presidents, sprinkled with historical tidbits. Here I am with Herbert Hoover. Not my first choice, but as the couple I found there were the only other folks I saw, I got them to take the opportunistic photo to get size perspective.

Here James Madison is getting a facial. I guess he should have used more Clearasil. Amazingly, none of the presidents had any boogies in their noses.

Yes, Obama has been added. That's him on the end next to Clinton. Oddly, the Bushes were across the path from them, on the left...

Notice Obama is white, just like all the other presidents.

I spent some time in historic Deadwood. Having watched the HBO series Deadwood on DVD, I had a handle on its history. The town had a saloon named the Gem, and a hardware store called Bullocks, just like in the series. I trooped up to see the graves of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. Like when panning earlier in the day, my luck in the casino yielded no gold.

The highlight of the day was going to the Circle B Chuckwagon for dinner. Not because of the requisite shootout or the hokey cowboy singing show after dinner, but because of the people. This pic is the "posse" of kids racing back after initially chasing the "Biscuit Bandit," but then having a shotgun blast send them screaming back. It was pretty funny.

I seem to be attracted to the woodcarvers. Here is Dennis Ladd, whose carvings were displayed at the 2002 Olympics. He gave me a full 20 minutes. His philosophy mirrored Dennis Sullivan's at the Dog Bark Park Inn in Idaho: do what you love. This Dennis spent 38 years running a prep school in upstate NY, and now 26 years as a woodcarver. I bought a tiny carved hound dog. Fabulous.

The Chuckwagon was set up so you ate at assigned tables. I had the joy of spending the evening with the Wakers of Green Bay, Wisconsin. That's young Dan and Madeline on the end. I got the requisite eye roll from her: "My friends call me Maddie." "OK, Madeline." "No, Maddie, silly!" Quite the compliment. I think Mom and Dad were thrilled to have me as entertainment after five days of family time.

No beer at the Circle B, though I had some fine lemonade in a tin cup. I also tried the buffalo again. Again no wild west transformation. I did share some with Dan and Maddie so they could declare to their buds in Wisconsin that they had some buffalo.

Tomorrow I head through the Badlands and across South Dakota. Thank goodness for books on tape.

Love my babbling brook...


  1. An interesting Texas connection to the President Park is that the busts were created by Houston artist David Adickes. And for a Shameless Name Drop, Sarah & I were at a small dinner party with David last Saturday.

  2. Dead presidents and historical figures. This is just like the movie!