Biggest Ball of String

Our road trip adventures, quirky roadside attractions, generally in the United States or Canada (and with occasional travel off the mainland into Hawaii, Alaska, Caribbean and Europe – so far)

To Deadwood, South Dakota, in a Disposable Car

on March 10, 2013

Our routeOnce upon a time, and as I have mentioned a few times throughout my previous blogs, we decided to go on a big long roadtrip – the furthest we’d ever driven one way! From Calgary to Halifax, Nova Scotia, but primarily through the United States.

The problem with roadtrips is backtracking…in my opinion… The roadtrip is really fun and exciting the entire time, UNTIL it’s time to come home, and then I just want to be home. Instantly.

So, we decided to by a “disposable” car.  It was  1984 Ford Marquis, purchased for $400. It was SO comfortable – it passed inspection – perfect! Our plan was to drive it one way,  and, if it made it in a decent shape, donate it once we were ready to come home, and then fly home.
Disposable CarIt was mostly a great plan! The only downfall was that the inspection we had done was “inner-city”, so when the mechanics drove it, it never made it over 50 kms (30 miles) per hour.   It turns out that at about 50 MILES per hour (80 kms), it started spewing transmission fluid.

We didn’t know that until we “died” in Great Falls, Montana.  Well, on the side of the road going into Great Falls.  Once we got the car going again (and by “we”, I mean “Peter), we loaded the entire trunk with transmission fluid.

Originally, I thought Daisy could come with us, too, but at the last minute, weDaisy Deux looking on decided she wouldn’t enjoy flying, so one of her favorite people (Shelley) came and stayed with her. (We didn’t have Coco yet.)  Well, I was soooooo sad to leave her! So another one of my friends gave me a little “mini Daisy” (a little stuffed toy dog, which you may have read about in my March 6 blog about the Iditarod) – to bring in her place – I call her Daisy Deux.  (We also have a little “Coco” doll, called Coco Two, that we now also bring along, when the real little girls can’t come…)

The first few days, we visited some of the places that we later repeated, and I’ve already written about:  The Battle of Little Bighorn, Devils Tower, Crazy Horse Monument, and Mount Rushmore.

Entering deadwoodThe route we chose between Devils Tower and Crazy Horse, though, went through Deadwood, South Dakota, and I haven’t talked about THAT fascinating place yet!  (The easier route is through Rapid City, but I really wanted to go to Deadwood, because it’s where Wild Bill Hickok was murdered and is buried.)

It turns out that, originally, the area in which Deadwood was established was treaty land and meant for Indian habitation (of course it was!), but Custer (of course) announced gold and caused a gold rush (Black Hills gold).  (This is a common theme of my blogs on Crazy Horse, Mount Rushmore, Devils Tower, and Battle of Little Big Horn.)

Deadwood sprang up practically overnight and was notorious for gambling, prostitution and murder ~ there’s a reason there’s a movie made about it (I didn’t see it).Deadwood postcard

Wild Bill served in the Civil War, and followed that career with a lot of other gun-fighting endeavors. (Apparently, he even scouted for George Custer’s army…) Eventually, he “settled down” in Deadwood, which, turns out, was a bad idea.

He was shot in the back of the head, while playing poker. His hand (good for the quick-thinking witnesses to the murder to check out his hand after he was dead and record it) is called Deadman’s Hand, and was a pair of Aces & a pair of 8’s – all black…(the 5th card hadn’t been changed out yet, and nobody really knows what it was..)

Original tombstoneOriginally, he was buried in the town’s little cemetery, with a wooden marker, which his friend supplied, but the cemetery filled up quickly (murder was “the norm”), and Wild Bill’s body was eventually moved to a nearby cemetery (Mt. Moriah) and he now has a monument and tomb. (His original wooden marker was defaced over the years, but there’s a replica.)

Calamity Jane is buried next to Wild Bill.

SHE claims that she was married to him. She claims they were in love. She claims that he is theWild Bill's final resting place father of her daughter… everyone else claims he wasn’t at all interested… plus, he was married to someone else…

The people who were in charge of her burial thought it’d be funny to bury her next to Wild Bill, because she, apparently, was his Stalker. (She has other claims-to-fame, but they are their own story – mostly that she was living in a Man’s World, and managed to keep up.)

(Incidentally, Mt. Moriah Cemetery was the second cemetery we’d visited on this roadtrip – the first being the Battle of Little Bighorn.  We ended up going to two more on this particular roadtrip. It was a surprise underlying theme of the trip – which I’ve labelled the “Disposable Car Roadtrip.”)

Wednesday, we are off to the Corn Palace – yes, you read that right.

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One response to “To Deadwood, South Dakota, in a Disposable Car

  1. Shannan says:

    Love the picture of the car with the hood up! Peter working to get it working and you taking pictures…….classic.

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