Sunday, July 10, 2005

Unremarkable tourist attractions

Sometimes your travels are as notable for the places you choose NOT to visit and ours are no exception.

The Black Hills of South Dakota (which are actually BLACK) are famous for more than just Mount Rushmore. The Black Hills are also famous for the gold found there that is made into a unique kind of pastel gold jewelry. The Black Hills are also known for a lot of frivolous tourist traps which we passed up in our travels through that territory. Among the sites we declined to be sucked into were Flintstone’s Bedrock City, the Shrine to Democracy, the Panhandling Jackasses (I have NO idea what that one was), The Cosmos, Reptile Gardens, Bear Country and the Timber of Ages Petrified Forest. OH, and the Holy Shrine Wax Museum.

We also passed on visiting the nearby town of Sturgis which I have been told has become famous as an annual rendezvous point for Harley Davidson bikers. For several days every summer the claim is that there are more Harley Davidsons in Sturgis than in the rest of the free world at that time. It hasn’t been lost on us that every town along highway 90 has a Harley Davidson dealer on the frontage road. Harley Davidson leather can be found in every store, along with other biker collectibles. It might be interesting to research, sometime, why Harley Davidson is so revered in South Dakota. I fully expect to see shrines erected to honor the machine on our next pass through the Black Hills.

The Black Hills are also famous for the town of Deadwood, where Wild Bill Hickok was shot in the back while holding a full house and where Calamity Jane hung out, making a pest of herself.

There is also the town of Lead, which is famous for being the home of one of the largest gold mines in the world, and for making William Randolph Hearst a very wealthy fellow.

Yet another town, Custer, named after you know who, was the location of yet another battle between Indians and white men….one of the last battles of record, I might add but Custer wasn’t in that battle because he had already made his last stand on the Little Big Horn river in Montana.

I’ll include other uninteresting tourist traps along the route as we venture through other states so you’ll know what you’re not missing.

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