2016-09-24.Hart Ranch and Deadwood
We arrived at Hart Ranch RV Resort on September 22nd. Hart Ranch is quite a place; probably the resort with the most going on for it. It has everything you could ever want in any resort; a huge pool, 3 hot tubs, fenced dog park, paintball course, hiking trails, a rodeo arena, community garden, fitness center, gas station, restaurant and store. It is a membership campground and we got to stay here because we belong to Resort Parks International (RPI). There are many full timers but the park is kept so well, that it does not have that “trailer park vibe” to it. Each site is absolutely level and double wide with concrete slabs at every site. There is not a bad spot in the place although our site, 341, was particularly nice as it was on a corner so we have a “side yard”. Each bathroom has a laundry room as well making it convenient to do the wash. That said, you need to load a card with money and insert the card into the machines in order to do the wash; a little inconvenient.
We met up with our friends Angie and Dave Kress whom we met about 7 years ago and have seen quite often during our travels. They live full time in their RV and winter in Arizona. In May, they leave Arizona and travel until November. As good friends do, Angie had dinner prepared for us to share with them so I didn’t have too cook. It was wonderful – spaghetti and meatballs! We are all going to different sites together this week including the Buffalo roundup on September 30th. Yesterday, we drove to Deadwood, SD, the cowboy town where Wild Bill Hickok allegedly holding black aces and eights and a nine of diamonds forever known as the Dead Man’s Hand. was murdered by Jack McCall at No.10 Saloon. The town is filled with casinos and restaurants and bars but also has a nice visitor’s center and restored buildings that give Deadwood an 1870’s atmosphere.
Deadwood is also where Martha Canary, known as “Calamity Jane” came to die and was buried next to Wild Bill, the love of her life but apparently, not his.
While Bob and Dave sampled the selections in No. 10 Saloon, intrepid explorers Joanne and Angie hiked the mile to Mt. Moriah Cemetery where Wild Bill and Calamity Jane are buried along with other notables from the same era and until 1949 when the cemetery was filled. The cemetery is located at the top of the bluff overlooking Deadwood and I lost count of the steps we had to climb to get up to the cemetery on foot. Needless to say it was an aerobic hike but worth it. The $2.00 cost to get into the cemetery was minimal especially since you got not only a map, but information from docents well versed in the history of the cemetery, its inhabitants and Deadwood itself. Plus, we got a great recommendation for a dinner spot to reward ourselves for the hike up and down the mountain. The cemetery is very well maintained and the important sites and sections of the graveyard labeled. Interestingly, in this cemetery, like in Jewish cemeteries, it is traditional to leave a stone on the grave of the deceased when you visit. There is a Jewish section in this graveyard but the tradition of leaving a stone is followed throughout the grounds. Mt. Moriah cemetery overlooks Deadwood and there is a lovely viewpoint marked with a map of the sights below and in the distance including the Homestake Mine. The flag at the overlook that honors veterans is never lowered through a special act of Congress.
After our hike back down the mountain, we dragged Bob and Dave out of the saloon and to Legends Restaurant located in the Silverado Hotel and Casino. It’s specialty is steaks and its reputation is well deserved. We all had steaks and all of us raved about the meal. I had a filet, perfectly done as were the strip steaks the others had. Plus, it wasn’t that expensive. We got salad or soup, potato and a side along with the steak and the meal cost us about $50.00 per couple! I’m moving to South Dakota.
Today, Angie and I went into Rapid City for the annual Pumpkin Festival. It was a nice event especially for families but I did get autographed copies of two of the books in the four book series about “Roadie the Ranch Dog”. We met the author and of course, I had to share pictures of my “Roadie”. We also walked around downtown Rapid City which, although a large city, has a very small town feel to it. In a two or three block area, each corner has 2-4 bronze sculptures of different Presidents with all of them represented. The sculptures are really quite impressive and the one of JFK showed him holding a small airplane while leaning toward John, Jr.. This sculpture was done after John, Jr.’s death and the presence of the airplane was deliberate. I checked to make sure that Bill Clinton’s fly was appropriately zipped on his statue.