Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Day Trip to Sturgis and Deadwood, SD

No trip to the Black Hills region of South Dakota would be complete without a quick trip to Sturgis. Sturgis. Kind of conjures up visions of a huge motorcycle rally, doesn’t it? Yup. That is precisely why we didn’t want to visit this area in August. Not that I have anything against motorcycle rallies or any other kind of rally. I just didn’t feel like getting lost in the middle of thousands upon thousands of rally attendees. I prefer low tourist season when it comes to sightseeing. The Sturgis Rally is definitely NOT low tourist season :)  RV park rates are also 2-3 times higher during Rally time. I’m cheap that way. If I’m going to spend serious money on an RV site, it needs to be right on the ocean with a beautiful beach right outside my door :)

We had been told that there really wasn’t much in Sturgis the other 11 ½ months of the year but we wanted to see for ourselves. I’m glad we did. We parked the Jeep on the street and walked the town, much of which are tourist shops advertising Sturgis Motorcycle Rally T-shirts. One even advertised “ Overpriced Souvenirs and T-shirts”! I should have taken a picture :) Rick was eventually lured in by a promise of a genuine Sturgis Rally T for $6.00. They suckered him right in and he left with a genuine Sturgis Rally T :) It may be last years model, but who cares? He was a happy man :)

Once our town tour was completed, we did the only other thing we could find to do in Sturgis. We went to the Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame. Admission was $5 apiece and it was very much worth it. There were dozens of  motorcycles on display.

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While I wandered around taking photos, Rick went to every exhibit, read all the background info and fully enjoyed his visit.

Here is a 1938 Indian Chief. It was in excellent condition.

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This 1949 Sundance was built by a Texas man who invented a drill bit for drilling oil.  He used some of the money he made to build his dream machine. In the 1950’s this was one of the most expensive motorcycles in the world.

Is it just me or does this look like something Elvis would have ridden in one of his movies? With an outfit to match :)

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Pandemonium, a 70’s chopper, was featured in Easy Rider Magazine. It reminds me of the bike Peter Fonda rode in the movie Easy Rider.

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Eventually, we left the museum and headed to Deadwood.

Deadwood is a pretty cool little town with an interesting history. Once again, it’s geared to entertaining tourists but that didn’t keep us from walking the streets and taking in the local flavor. There are many, many casino’s in Deadwood. We looked but we did not touch :)

Touristy as it was, I really liked the Mount Moriah Cemetery known as Deadwood’s Boot Hill.


The discovery of gold in the Black Hills brought thousands of hardworking people to the area and some “colorful” ones too. Many were buried here in Mount Moriah Cemetery.

A couple of the more notable people buried here are Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane.



and Calamity Jane, buried right next to him.


Calamity Jane is dubbed as “Deadwood’s Original Party Girl”. She was a sharp shooting, booze loving prostitute that was run out of town numerous time…or so the story goes :) She died of a variety of ailments, one of which was acute alcoholism. Her dying wish to be buried next to Wild Bill was granted.


It’s rather interesting to see some of the “causes of death” as listed in the death record :)


I’m particularly curious about the 14 hard boiled eggs!

After a bite to eat at Deadwood Dick’s, acceptable but not spectacular, we headed back home.

As luck would have it, we actually saw more wildlife on the way!

Big horn sheep on the side of the road.



That was it for our day. We arrived home safe, sound and pooped out! Thanks for stopping by. Turtle


  1. This was a great post. Elvis did have a Harley.

  2. Great post, Gail, and now I want to make this visit one day, too.

  3. I was not impressed with Sturgis. We went on an extremely hot day in 1999 so my impression is probably not fair. We had our pup, Lizzie, with us and I recall worrying that the sidewalks would be too hot on her paws so we drove around and saw what we could see and left.

    We did enjoy Deadwood--I have a movie of a big guy who walked the streets and would holler every now and then--obviously, part of the entertainment for the tourists. I asked him if he would do a special holler for me, and he did. If my memory serves me correctly, he was supposed to be "Bill". I wonder if he's still there.

    Did you know the whole town is on the historical registry?

    Enjoyed your post. Been a long, long time since we were in that area. It brought back some memories.

  4. I love your "death record" picture...I laughed out loud! Too funny :-).

  5. I never knew about Deadwood until I saw the TV series. Then I started reading up on it a bit. The series wasn't too far off.
    Felt bad about Wild Bill. He didn't deserve to get shot like that. Aces and eights would never be the same, although that origin has been disputed.
    Now how does a fellow die from a "broken thumb"?

  6. great post and pics...I'm also curious about the eggs..lol and the broken thumb...I laughed when I saw the "God knows" one...

  7. Loved the tour of both places. Great cycles and the death record photo was a hoot;o))

  8. Loved the tour of Sturgis...that is definitely on our "must see" list. But, call me crazy, I would like to go during the busy time! I I would be very curious about the 14 eggs and the broken thumb...how do either of those cause death? I also like the "God knows" and "broken hump bone". What exactly is a hump bone? ;-)

  9. David owned a Harley when I first met him and LOVED it. Hard to even imagine him like that any more. To say he's mellowed is putting it REALLY MILDLY. :-)) He would love this museum and we both just LOL at the causes of death. And what is a hump bone??? Thanks so much for this post. Really gave us a good time. I know you had one too.

  10. Both are great places, thanks for the revisit :)

  11. We didn't make it to Sturgis last year so we'll have to try and get there some day. It's a good thing medical technology has improved as much as it has or Rick and I would be widowers since you and Terri had much more severe injuries than a broken thumb or fractured hump bone!!! ;)

  12. LOL -- those reasons for how some died! I'm also curious about the 14 eggs!!! Some of the others, like the broken thumb, probably point to lack of medical care, but eggs???

    It's the noise of the motorcycles, and the crowds, of course, that I can't stand, so yes ... if we stop by Sturgis, it would have to be sometime during the 11½ months when there's nothing going on.

  13. Great tour. I agree with you about Sturgis, I would rather see it without the crowds.

  14. We are continuing to enjoy your blog. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Deadwood has many great memories for us. We camped at Bear Butte State Park once. It's remoteness, beauty and history were memorable as well. Several years ago, we took the tour of the property where Dances With Wolves was filmed. The landscape of western South Dakota just amazes us.

  15. Just goes to show that eggs are bad for you, especially 14 of them!


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