The Solos' Rally is over, but not my time in South Dakota. I will be here for a couple more weeks until it is time to go to Gillette, Wyoming, for the Escapee's Escapade. Here are some more images from places we visited during the rally:
The original model for Mt. Rushmore -- note that the lower torso and arms were not carved in the final version:
Kevin Costner's Tatanka - Story of the Bison: This site featured an interpretive center staffed by a Lakota Native American who had been raised in the "old way" (hunting and tracking as a lifestyle, and no TV or Nintendo) who explained traditional Native American culture in a way no one else could, and a life size sculpture showing bison being pursued by Lakota hunters:
The town of Deadwood is the once infamous gold rush town where hookers beckoned from second story windows, men lined the river bank mere feet from their neighbors to pan for gold, and where Wild Bill Hickok was shot while playing poker in Saloon No. 10, instantly creating the legend of the "Dead Man's Hand" -- a pair of aces and eights.
Now Deadwood's old historic hotels have been transformed into one small, sad casino after another, the beautiful 19th century woodwork and decor hidden behind beeping and whirling slot machines; the "soiled dove" hookers have been replaced with dress store mannequins posed in front of each of the windows, eternally ready for tourists to snap their photos; and Deadwood's most famous gunslinger is still seen everywhere in the town he would no longer recognize.
Wild Bill's grave, next to Calamity Jane's, is on a hillside overlooking town, the cemetery's roads conveniently wide enough for buses. His likeness graces shop windows up and down main street, and you can find Wild Bill knickknacks in every store. You can even see his "death chair," preserved under glass, over the door of the saloon in which he was shot -- except there are at least 15 other claims to the "real" death chair, and this is not the actual site of his death -- the saloon was moved to its present location. So all that remains of the "authentic locale" is the saloon's name -- and maybe the chair. Ah, tourism: