A Horse is a Horse

  • Day Two of our Wild West Road Trip

Day two started out rainy and cloudy but quickly cleared as we set out toward South Dakota. The scenery was pretty and Trever – who loves wide open space and rolling hills – took many opportunities to pull off the road so we could take pictures.

About an hour into our trip north, we saw four beautiful horses standing by the gate as if they were expecting guests (or more likely lunch to be delivered!) Now, I know nothing of horses. It appeared that one was a “grownup” and the others were “teenagers”; in any case they were so pretty that we had to stop and visit with them a few minutes.

Around lunchtime we arrived at Badlands National Park. As much as I love seeing our national parks, I forget how crowded they can become in the summertime. After a stop at the visitor center, we started the drive on the loop through the park, Sarah desperately looking for big horn ship and not finding any, much to her dismay.

It’s hard to capture the majesty of these rocks in a simple iphone picture and words hardly suffice to describe them. Formed through years of deposition and erosion, the rocks have layer upon layer that are “cemented” together into the structures we see.

Although we did not to see any big horned sheep, there were several prairie dog colonies and upon exiting the park, we saw a few bison. Looking at these majestic creatures, its hard to believe they once roamed the lands in the millions and depressing when you think how their numbers were decimated through the acts of humans, but that is a subject for another post.

Leaving the park, we continued onto our ultimate destination of Deadwood, South Dakota. We saw the road was going to take us right to the town of Wall, South Dakota, the home of Wall Drugs – site of a plethora of souvenir shops and tourist traps. We might have explored longer but it had been another long day and we were eager to get to our hotel and get settled in.

We pulled into Deadwood around 5:45 p .m. and quickly found our downtown hotel. The nice thing about staying in the middle of the downtown area is that many places are walkable so after unpacking, we set out to the closest restaurant we could find which had some vegetarian options for Abby. Buffalo Bodega – like many places in Deadwood is a casino/bar but also has a restaurant. We poked our heads in and there was no host or hostess so we just made our way to a table and sat waiting. Finally the bartender came over and asked “shots? cocktails?” and Trever just said, “um, food?” Turns out we were on the wrong side of the establishment and, after a laugh, we were directed to go through the complex about two doors down where we found, yes, a full service restaurant. The food was just “ok” – a bit overpriced for the quality and the service.

After dinner, we walked back across the street to our hotel. Trever and I then went to the casino where we spent a whopping twenty bucks in about fifteen minutes on penny slots! Slot machines in the modern age aren’t nearly as fun as pulling the lever and hearing the change clank back into the tray. Now you just put in a dollar and get “credits” and push a button and receive “vouchers.” Modern technology does not always provide the best in entertainment.

We had a full day and turned in relatively early. The beauty of Badlands National Park was awe-inspiring but I think the few minutes on the side of the road with the horses was one of those random and lovely asides that will make a memory that will stay with us all.

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