Friday, June 28, 2013

Lead, Spearfish, Sturgis, and Deadwood

We took another of our day driving trips.  There are so many scenic drives in the Black Hills.  That must be one of the reasons why the annual Sturgis motorcycle rally is so popular.  No, the rally is not on right now.  It is in early August.  But there are always a ton of motorcycles on the roads here even when the rally isn’t here.  We can’t imagine what the roads would be like during the rally.  We only did a drive by in Sturgis.  It is not known for a whole lot other than the rally.

100_6784In the town of Lead we peered into the open pit of the Homestake Mine.  The mine which was closed in 2002 produced nearly 40 million ounces of gold and 9 million ounces of silver, the second most productive mine in the history of the United States.  Back in Denver we purchased a couple of gold pans, but were afraid to use them in the fast moving stream we had targets.  So we tried them out here in the creek at the back of the campground where we are staying.  They say you can find gold in any stream in the Black Hills, but we had no such luck.

100_6790From Lead, we drove up through the scenic byway of the Spearfish Canyon.  It is still hard to imagine how these streams ever could have carved these canyons, even in the time of the glaciers.  It was a nice drive and we saw a pretty waterfall.

In Spearfish, we visited a fish hatchery.  We were excited to go as we hadn’t ever visited fish hatcheries.  This one has a history of supplying trout to Black Hills streams.  But 100_6801the operative word there is “history”.  Unfortunately for us this hatchery was more of a fish hatchery museum than a currently working one.  They still are growing some trout there, but they are hatched at another hatchery in the area and the operations are more of a demonstration than true fish production.

We didn’t have time to seek out the other hatchery as Gary wanted to get to Deadwood for one more shot at tournament poker in South Dakota.  He was really disappointed in his play last Sunday and especially after declaring himself a poker pro.  We went to the first casino, but they didn’t have enough people signed up to support a tournament.  So we went to another casino and they had 28 people signed up.  He redeemed himself exceedingly well.  He WON the tournament.  For an investment of $33, his share of the prize pool for the victory was $475.  The poker pro is quite chuffed now.  In his last eight tournaments, he has cashed  five times including this win.  But by the time we got something to eat and with a long drive back we didn’t arrive back at the motor home until after midnight and the drive including slamming on the brakes for one deer and we saw two others just off the road as well.