Day 27 – Rapid City to Sundance – Butch Cassidy & the Kid!

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As we only had to go about 80 miles to Sundance we decided to take a more interesting route, once again cutting through Black Hills National Forest, and driving to Lead (pronounced Leed apparently) and Deadwood. Lead is ‘the site of the Homestake Mine, the largest, deepest (8,240 feet [2,510 m]) and most productive gold mine in the Western Hemisphere before closing in January 2002.’ Now it just looks like an old mining town with a massive open cut mine, so we made a quick stop there and took a few pictures before going to nearby Deadwood. Deadwood is famous for Wild Bill Hicock and Calamity Jane and there’s a whole stretch of the town where all the buildings have been renovated to their original state so that it looks like an old Wild West town. We stopped and had a coffee before walking around; it was kind of interesting but not necessarily somewhere to make an effort to go to if you’re short of time. The renovations were done with ‘casino’ money and it is very evident when you walk around the town as there’s gambling machines/casinos everywhere!
We then pushed on to Spearfish where we stocked up on food and water at Walmart. It was still too early to go to Sundance so we decided to drive the scenic Spearfish Canyon route and I’m very glad we did! It was very pretty indeed and we stopped at quite a few places to take pictures, including Bridal Veil Falls, before heading on to Sundance.
Now, I knew Sundance was going to be another small town, but didn’t quite expect it to be this small! It probably didn’t help that it was Sunday and even things that would otherwise be open were shut, but our customary walk around town only took about 5 minutes as it only involved walking around the block! We found a bar with a few local Cowboys in it The Dime Horseshoe Bar, after skipping the local biker bar which sounded a bit rough. The Cowboys and barmaid were friendly, but we needed something to eat so had to go to the Longhorn Saloon where I had some amazing steak tips and a couple of beers. The cowboys actually remind me of golfers; when they take off their hats they have the same white forehead problem that golfers have! Of course there is some sort of history about Sundance and the Sundance Kid, and you can read about it here.
Highlight of the day: Bear Lodge Motel, full of stuffed animal heads in the lobby and a very friendly couple running the place – the room was fairly standard but the friendly service made all the difference.

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