After I completed my tour of The Battle of the Little Bighorn, Boomer and I started our approach to South Dakota. Our first stop was Belle Fourche for the geographical center of the continental United States… well sort of.
Belle Fourche is the closest town with a handy proximity to the highway so they decided to put the marker there. The actual spot is located north of town on private property and was out of our way. You can still get there and you are allowed to cross onto the private property, but we were short on time and I did not feel like “trespassing”. The marker was enough for me. Boomer seemed unimpressed and we needed to get moving due to our time crunch. Boomer and I would be spending the night apart. He was going to stay in Rapid City at a boarding facility and I would spend the night in Deadwood. I decided to board him as I would be attending the Custer State Park Bison Round Up the next morning and dogs were not allowed… or so they said.
Once we arrived in Rapid City I dropped Boomer off and drove over to Deadwood for the rest of my night. It was some driving around with some backtracking but I could only find one boarding facility open on a Sunday and that was in Rapid City. After arriving in Deadwood I checked into my hotel/casino. Did I mention I love casinos and Deadwood was full of them? This was another good reason to board Boomer for the night. How much fun would it be for him to be sitting in my truck while I gambled away all of our money? Can you tell I am trying to make myself feel better about boarding him?
I stopped by the local cemetery, Mount Moriah Cemetery, and took in the sights of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane’s final resting spots along with Potato Johnny. Calamity Jane’s romantic request was to be buried next to Wild Bill, and so she was. It was a peaceful and large cemetery, however there are the occasional tours that flocks in around Wild Bill’s grave site. I did have to wait until the tour disbursed before I could get a photo.
After the cemetery I headed downtown to see the sites. I do not know what I expected, perhaps tumbleweed bouncing down a dirt street, a duel at high noon (apparently Wild Bill does get shot in the street every day during the summer). But alas no tumbleweed and it was fall now so Wild Bill was not being shot. I imagined he was probably at his summer home in Arizona enjoying a sarsaparilla on the porch and I can not really blame him.
But there was a familiar comforting glow that emulated from these buildings filled with machines that usually take all my money. I stopped first at the Midnight Star. Owned by Kevin Costner, yes that Kevin Costner. He opened this casino while he was filming Dances With Wolves. It was smaller and decorated with his movie posters. I found it to be the most fair of the gaming establishments I went to that night. Meaning I did not loose all my money there – thanks Kevin – love your movies!
I stopped off at a few other casinos but needed to get to bed early as I would be up, literally, before sunrise. This was also the first time I had ever boarded Boomer. I felt bad and missed him so sleeping through the pain would be how I dealt with it 🙂