It was August 11th. We rolled into Deadwood on the way east from a gig in Montana, and in that neck of the woods at that time of year the road is heavy with swarms of Harley Davidson owners heading to or coming from Sturgis; Harley Mecca, whose summer festival draws Harley owners in the hundreds of thousands.
Deadwood sounded like a good place to brush some road off just like so many ranchers, pioneers and gunslingers of the old west had done before.
The horses had been replaced by minivans and bikes, but the roadside pastimes of drinking and gambling are still intact, albeit in a more generic form ; the gut rot that once passed for whiskey has thankfully been replaced by a cold beer, and the sometimes violent poker games the like of which brought Wild Bill Hickock to meet his maker in this very town are only reproduced in museums. If you want to lose or win money here, your options are slot machines in the bars, slot machines in the hotels or , across the street, slot machines in the.......ummm......slot machine......place.
The town itself is laid out on old cow paths, lending a relaxed, ramshackle feel as you mooch around the winding streets of historic buildings, shop fronts of western memorabilia, and bars boasting exhibits and some or other claim to various snippets of Wild West legend: "here's where Wild Bill was shot" , "Here's where the guy that shot him got shot", "Here's where he had his last drink".
Although that might be a little too hokey for some, for anyone with even a passing interest in the lore of the Wilds West, there are plenty of opportunities as you browse the crumbling photographs and artifacts to revert to the wide-eyed days of childhood, when The Lone Ranger not only saved the day, but rode the coolest horse ever.
It was a hot summer night, and after a cold beer to ease the saddle sores, me 'n' my pardner tipped our hats to Wild Bill and the town of Deadwood, and hit the trail........