South Dakota – Day 4

I am in Hill City for breakfast. Today, I head to Devil’s Tower, Deadwood, Sturgis and will take a scenic route. I will head west from here to CR 318 that should take me through old mining towns like Castleton and Mystic.


Time: 9:00 AM
Mileage: 13695

This proved to be the best road of the trip so far. Some gravel and four wheel travel and most of it followed the Mickelson Trail, a 110 mile rails to trails trailway. I started making a list of the top places I have visited and would like to live that aren’t in Texas.

The requirements for a place to make the list:

  1. Cool winding roads
  2. Small population
  3. River, creek or lake access
  4. Mountain Scenery

Here’s a short list in no particular order:

  • Cordelene, ID
  • Moscow, ID
  • anywhere between Hill City, SD & Spearfish, SD (preferably with a view of the Mickelson Trail)
  • North of Sundance, WY
  • Medicine Park, OK
  • Flat Head Lake MT
  • Near Jackson Hole, WY
  • Polebridge, MT
  • And a more than few towns in NM

This is the list so far. I hope to add to it as I travel more extensively.

The Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway was also a treat. Spearfish is a good size town. I probably should have gone on up to Belle Forche but I decided to skip it and head straight to Devil’s Tower.

Devil’s Tower

Time:1:07 MT
Mileage: 14,341

What an extraordinary natural wonder. It towers up from what seems like nothing. It’s grown up to become this strong, geological wonder standing alone. It makes perfect sense that it is and has been for centuries a spiritual mecca for native people. I was especially drawn to the Lakota story for how it came to be and in fact, I have always loved indian legends and folklore. One of my poems, The Moon and Me, was written after I heard a woman tell the story of the origin of the phases of the moon.

The weather is finally cooperating. I took the top down while in the devil’s tower park and keep it down for the ride home. Deadwood and Sturgis were in my path home but neither was especially captivating. I stopped and had a beer in Sturgis because it seemed wrong not to. Then I moved on to Deadwood, found Mt Moriah Cemetary (which wasn’t easy). I visited the graves of Wild Bill and Calamity Jane. It sits on a hill (understatement) above Deadwood that would have even the most dedicated marathoner crying like a baby. Most of the graves are on steep slopes. Once you are up there though, you can see the entire town and valley below.

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