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No home, no car, no worries. On the road since 1996, a TechNomad couple share their travel secrets and adventures.

Play and Stay in Deadwood

Deadwood Territory
National Historic Landmark
Part 1

The town of Deadwood, South Dakota, a historic landmark is currently being restored to it's former glory. The cobbled streets are lined with gaming halls (80) that date back to the Gold Rush of 1876, offering games of chance, food and liquor.

The town, down in a deep gulch with a river running under it; and surround by the beautiful black hills is full of history with lots to see and do.

We arrived late in the afternoon and spent the evening walking from establishment to establishment trying our luck. Overall, we felt the games returned enough to make it fun, while not breaking the bank.

We visited Kevin Costner’s casino, the Midnight Star, then explored the Lucky Nugget Gambling Hall, the original location of Wild Bill Hickok’s shooting and interpretive site, and home of the historic Eagle Bar and brothel. At the Buffalo Bodega Complex, I dined on Buffalo prime rib. We ended up at the Silverado, associated with the historic Franklin Hotel, where we discovered an electronic “Let it Ride” table with computerized dealer’s and seats for five players. What fun!

The following morning we discovered that from our hotel, the Comfort Inn Gulches of Fun Resort we were able to access the 110 mile Mickelson Trail. The trail was the originally site of the Burlington Northern railroad line that took trains from Edgemont, SD to the northern Black Hills and the gold mines in the Deadwood Area. The line was abandoned in 1983. It became the states’ first rails to trails project.

The crushed limestone and gravel trail, designed for hiking and biking, turns into a paved pathway as we near the trailhead located in the town of Deadwood. It’s an easy walk. The trail travels downhill into town, winding along a rushing river once mined for its gold. Shuttles are available for the return trip.

High on a hill over the trail, we spot a siren. The town, originally named by prospectors for the piles of deadwood that littered the river, is prepared to alert it's citizens in the event of a flood. We learned later that the main roadway is build over the river. In the evening it is not unusual to see deer wandering along the path browsing on the fall foliage.

After a quick stop at the historic post office, where we viewed a mural created by a local historian, we headed to the old depot. Now the location of the visitor’s center, the historic building houses a museum touting the history of the area. We picked up a brochure for a “Boot Hill” tour.

Boarding the open-air, Boot Hill tour bus in front of the Buffalo Bodega, cowboy boots hanging from the windows, our guide relates tales of days gone by as we drive through town. Our tour takes us to Mount Moriah Cemetery, the resting place of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. Our guide, stands before Wild Bill’s stone where some enterprising vandal left an offering of whiskey bottles, separating the facts from fiction.

From the cemetery, located on a steep hill that towers over the town, the view is outstanding. In the distance, the historic Homestake Mine is visible. Our guide warns not to mispronounce the neighboring town of Lead. “It’s lead into the ground to the gold,” he says, “not lead, as in a pencil”. Good tip.

The next morning as we drink our coffee, enjoying the view of the tall hills behind the hotel, we are surprised to see the first snowflakes of the season. We ignore the early warning as the sun comes out heralding another beautiful fall day. We extend our stay in order to receive our mail.

More on our adventures in Deadwood in the next posting.

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