Monday, October 03, 2011

Deadwood to Home

Downtown Deadwood, SD
We cut our trip short to get back to Kansas to see our new Granddaughter, but made sure to spend some time in downtown Deadwood.  This city was founded in 1876 after  a miner named John B. Pearson found gold in a narrow canyon in the Northern Black Hills the previous year.  Today the entire city is a National Historic Landmark.  We highly recommend experiencing this Old West city, which despite the commercialization through the Casino's, still holds plenty of it's original charm.

Pine Ridge Reservation
From Deadwood we head back to I-90, then south to Rapid City, where we take Highway 79 to 40 and  through the Pine Ridge Reservation. Home to the Oglala Sioux Tribe, it is located just on the edge of the South Dakota badlands. Though the reservation is 2,000,000 acres large, the bulk the original Sioux homeland was the Black Hills which the Sioux considere sacred. In fact, the Sioux continue to dispute losing their lands in the Black Hills to this day.

Wounded Knee
After we get on Highway 18 we found time for a quick jog north to the site of the Wounded Knee massacre. This regrettable and tragic clash of arms, occurring  December 29, 1890, was the last significant engagement between Native Americans and soldiers on the North American Continent, ending nearly four centuries of warfare between westward-bound immigrants and the indigenous peoples. Today, it serves as an example of national guilt for the mistreatment of the Natives. You can read the full story about Wounded Knee here.

Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway
After heading back to Highway 18, we start making our way to Nebraska via 391/27 into Gordon.  From Gordon we continue south to Highway 2, which is also Nebraska's Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway.  The rolling hills of Nebraska and the somewhat sandy soil is home to very few.  In fact, Kathy and I believe that this was one of the longest stretches of desolation we have encountered yet.  Though there are a few small towns through this region, we were happy we filled up in Gordon.

Along the way we stopped for pictures in Ashby, Nebraska. Near the end of the 19th century, the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy railroad moved west and laid rails through the Sandhills of western Nebraska. This area had once been called a desert, and unfit for humans. Not suitable land for farming, it was ideal for the grazing of cattle. The land south of Ashby was set aside for a time as a forest reserve, and then opened for settlement to homesteaders by way of a land drawing in 1912. With the homesteaders, the town grew and added businesses. In 1914 there were three lumber yards, two livery barns, a blacksmith shop, a bank, barber shop, post office, two grocery stores and a newspaper called The Ashby Argos. Today, Ashby is called home to less than 100 people.

Nebraska National Forest
On down the road you pass by the Nebraska National Forest. Located in the Sandhills of central Nebraska, was established in 1902 as an experiment to see if forests could be created in treeless areas of the Great Plains. This effort resulted in a 20,000-acre forest, the largest human-planted forest in the United States.

After a long day of driving, we spent the night in Grand Island and then quickly wrapped up our journey to Lawrence Kansas to be with family.  Overall, Kathy and I were fortunate to experience the wonderful history, Ghost Towns and people along the way of our 9 day journey to North Dakota and back.  We look forward to writing more about the places we've seen in the months ahead.

You can follow this portion of our trip in pictures via our Facebook Fan Page here!

Congratulations to Kathy's daughter Torri, and husband Pete Nobo on their 3rd daughter.  We welcomed Havana Blue Sky Nobo to the world on Friday and plan to start priming her with history as soon as she can talk!

1 comment:

romantic bed and breakfasts said...

Thanks for sharing this post. This is good you cut short your trip and spent time with your granddaughter