Road Warriors Part 3: Deadwood and Devil’s Tower

IMG_1663If you’ve been following my travel posts, then you read about our trip up and then our trip to the Badlands and Mount Rushmore.

On our second day, we traveled to Deadwood and Devil’s Tower. It was a good thing, too, because it poured hard at the campsite. We were glad we weren’t there. Mud was splattered about halfway up the tent when we got back.

So we got up early and headed out after cooking breakfast. Husband made scrambled eggs and bacon and I made hash browns. There is something wonderful about camp food and cooking it on that two burner stove. I don’t know why it tastes so good. And of course we had our percolated coffee. I even let the kiddo have a cup. He loved it, of course.

Deadwood was on the way to Devil’s Tower. It was my turn to drive. The streets were really narrow and there wasn’t a lot of places to park at the visitor’s center. I ended up following a tour bus up the side of Mt. Moriah to the cemetery, which is where we wanted to go anyway. We parked and paid a whopping $2.50 to enter the cemetery.

The town is really kind of amazing. The cemetery is built on the side of the mountain. It’s a closed cemetery so there are no plots for sale but there. All the plots are owned. We saw gravestones from the early 2000s to the 1800s.

We saw Wild Bill Hickok’s grave. I’m elated to see we share the say birth month and day.


And Calamity Jane’s.


I made my son pose for this picture. He was unhappy to be at Deadwood, I think. He didn’t get what was so fascinating about a bunch of graves, I think, so I had to explain to him who Wild Bill was and who Calamity Jane was. He was still unimpressed.


It was a fairly long drive from there to Devil’s Tower but we made it. It’s an amazing place. I was busy looking for aliens but never found any, sadly. (I made the husband watch Close Encounters of the Third Kind but he had no recollection of Devil’s Tower in the movie. We’ll be having a moviefest later to watch it again.)

IMG_1705We got into the national park free or charge thanks to the husband’s park pass. And since it was about lunchtime when we got in we stopped at one of the parks and had a picnic. At Devil’s Tower. It was TOTALLY fun. We carried the cooler with us and made sandwiches when we got there.

This was across from the picnic table and I snapped a picture. It’s a smoke ring and is sacred to the American Indians of the region.

After lunch, we headed to the monument, which was the first national monument as established by Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. We filled up our hydration packs (which didn’t work so well the first time—and the kid’s had a hole and leaked. So yeah, he was unhappy about that) for the hike around the tower. On paper, the tower trail doesn’t look so long or hard but it’s hilly. And tiring.

We trekked up the mountain to start the hike, which is only 1.3 miles. But for someone who is somewhat out of IMG_1730shape (like me), it wasn’t so easy. Of course, the husband wasn’t breathing hard at all. The scumbag. But he’s been working out so it was relatively easy for him.

On the tower, we could see a couple of climbers. I’m not so sure I could climb the thing but it would be really cool to get on top of it.

The other cool thing we saw on the tower was an old wooden ladder. In 1893, a local rancher prepared a 350-foot ladder to climb the tower. He was actually successful and you can see remnants of the ladder on the tower still today. You can read more about the ladder here. I wish I could have gotten a picture but you can only see it through these binoculars.

IMG_1727On we went until we finally circled back around to where we started. I’m not sure how long it took us be we stopped several times along the way to rest and sip water. Afterward, we headed to the visitor’s center to purchase the obligatory souvenirs. It was SUPER crowded in the small store. When I got to the counter to pay for mine and the kid’s the husband took them out of my hand and paid for them instead.

Since it was still my turn to drive, we head back to the car when I realize I have no keys. I’d put them in my pocket but they weren’t there. Of course I immediately panic. We pulled everything out of the car but no keys. Husband didn’t have them either. Husband goes back inside to see if they’re in the visitor’s center while I continue to freak out and search the car. He comes back a few minutes later with keys in hand. I’d put them down on the counter when I thought I was going to pay for the souvenirs.

I rarely, if ever, do things like that so it was really freaking me out that I didn’t have my keys. Thank goodness he found them. And thank goodness I was going to drive back because if not, I would have never known they were gone. I can’t imagine driving all the way back to Devil’s Tower to see if my keys were there.

Husband drove us back to the campground since I was too flustered.

We hoped to have a quiet last night at the tent but it turns out when we got back, the Rude Family had moved in. They had a ten-room tent plus two others one ONE site and about 20 people. (There is a limit to number of tents and people per campsite…) And they were not only loud and annoying but drunks. AND to top it off, they were taking wood from the national forest to chop for their freaking campfire.

IMG_1764Um, did anyone tell them you’re not supposed to take wood from the national forest? Morons. So they chopped wood…until nearly 11 pm. And they blew up their stupid mattresses IN THE CAR and then carried them to the tent. What kind of moron does that?

We hunkered down in the tent and watched Brave on the portable DVD but by 10:30 pm when they were STILL chopping effing wood (are you KIDDING me?) the husband had reached the end of his patience. He went to talk to our camp hosts.

He got back and a few minutes later the camp host showed up, told them to quiet down, and actually made one of the idiots move to a different campsite. So HA!

IMG_1772But… they weren’t done with rudeness. Kid and I finally fell asleep but sometime later I could hear voices outside the tent. I remember trying to shush them and the next thing I know, the husband is YELLING for them to be quiet because there were three people trying to sleep and one was a kid.

To which their reply, rather loudly was, “He’s mean.”

Well, DUH. I could have told them that. Never eff with the husband when he’s already ticked off. He IS mean. And he’s not scared to let you know it. The kid and I have firsthand experience. 😉

(Love you, honey)

Our retaliation would be in the morning. When we decided we didn’t have to be quiet at 5:30 am when we were packing up the tent site to head home. 😉

Thursday: Getting back home

By Michelle

I wish you all could be inside my head. The conversation is sparkling.