From Cheyenne to Deadwood
Trip Start Jun 06, 2011
52Trip End May 22, 2012
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Where I stayed
What I did
Drinkin and whorin
KK: Neil and Tessa's kindness extended to maps, advice, use of their washing machine and a lift to the bus station. And they didn’t know us from a hole in the ground three days ago. We got the bus to the airport and a shuttle to the car hire place for our next leg. "I hope it’s not that yellow one," said LK as we entered the car park. It was. We were offered an upgrade, we declined. We were offered an upgrade at a reduced rate. Unaware that we had been haggling, we accepted.
LK: After prolonged attempts at seat adjustments, we were off on the open road, first stop Walmart. Armed with the cheapest tent and sleeping bags we could buy, as well as a bumper packet of beef jerky, we started our big adventure. Two hours later we were in Cheyenne. [We will now be assuming that all of you have seen the three HBO series of “Deadwood” and will know that we were disappointed not to come across any monument to Charlie Utter.]
KK: The promised Wi-Fi at the motel didn’t work but fortunately the liquor store over the road did
Tuesday 21 June
KK: There was a free “cop breakfast” of coffee and donuts in the reception before we set off. Yesterday the car, a Ford Taurus, was too big, today it was luxurious. With cruise control, an MP3 port and a digital radio, we hit Wyoming. And kept hitting Wyoming for mile upon mile until we reached Nebraska.
LK: We crossed the border into South Dakota at Pine Springs, having travelled through the village of Whiteclay. A stark street of rundown buildings and Native Americans clearly living in abject poverty show a very different side to the USA. It is so outrageous how indigenous peoples have been treated here, for subsequent white generations to systematically exploit and destroy the land that was managed perfectly well for centuries beforehand. [We were later told by the Sioux ranger in the Badlands White River Centre that unemployment among his tribe is around 89%. Shocking.]
KK: To hammer home the point we stopped at the site of the Wounded Knee massacre where the US cavalry “avenged Custer at the Little Big Horn” by murdering what was mostly starving women, children and old men
LK: He says bored children, they were f***in revolting. A fat boy splodging through the creek with an eminently slappable face, and a sulky girl trudging along at the back who needed her hair pulled. No wonder China is going to take over the world. Maybe their trains run on time too.
KK: If I learnt anything from childhood camping holidays it is that the vital ingredient to a good night’s sleep in a tent is alcohol. But not too much because wandering to the lav in the night can be a treacherous business.
Wednesday 22 June
KK: None of the tent blew away in the night and we didn’t have to get out of our sleeping bags to ablute
LK: But what a great time to drive through the Badlands, all spiky and spooky with barely another soul in sight. We had our first bison sightings which went off without incident and reminded me to try a buffalo burger while we’re in these parts.
KK: Found a dreamy camp site up in The Black Hills at Keystone (where they invented policemen). Showers, a pool, Wi Fi and a deer that came within ten yards of our tent. Keystone itself is supposedly the home of Wild Bill Hickok’s last gun fight and Wild Bill himself (for twas he) mosied up the street howdy-ing folk before a re-enactment that we thankfully avoided.
LK: No, we were on to bigger things, like four grotesquely huge carved heads in the side of a mountain. I’m sure Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln have fundamentally contributed towards making America what it is, but how weird to have your disembodied head staring out across the Black Hills. It really is the oddest sight.
KK: Vandalism is what it is
LK: Took the opportunity to gaze at the amazing night sky on our 2:35am camping toilet break.
Thursday 23 June
LK: Deadwood, Deadwood, Deadwood, yay, we made it, followed the footsteps of Al Swearengen all the way from Chicago. An intensive watching of the DVDs of all three HBO series before we came to America meant that this town has been echoing around our heads for weeks now. First stop, Mount Moriah Cemetery to pay our respects to Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, and Seth and Martha Bullock
KK: The Adam’s Museum shone an enlightening light on the Deadwood TV show. More characters than we thought were based on real people. Sol Star, Merrick the newspaper man and the theatre dude played by Brian Cox, Jack Langrishe. Sorry to those of you reading this who haven’t watched Deadwood but you really should have. We learnt that Seth and Martha Bullock had a daughter and there was a fire that burnt most of the town down.
LK: But what you really want to know is what we had for tea. Huge big burritos and quesadillas, that’s what.