The next morning, everyone was moving a little slow, even me. If you had asked me right then to ride through the hills on horseback, I may have thrown a book at you. I ambled out and poked a stick in the campfire, kinda my morning thing. Never been much of a breakfast kid and the smell of fried eggs makes me gag, so I go poke the fire and read. Today I was moving slow, but the lameness factor seemed to be long gone. Today we were gonna go down mine shafts and check out all that kind of stuff, prospect for some gold.
We headed out, eager to explore all of the mines and creek beds we could fine. I was all in to the history and read everything I could get my hands on, and then some. It is a bit ironic that all those old mines are peppered with Sheeple Bait Piles, and the gold they find is Sheeple Gold, but I digress. Sheeple like us, from out east and city slickers to boot, well we could saddle right up, spend a few dollars and be real prospectors! Of course, we did just that, from mine to mine.
The we came across the mother load of Sheeple Prospecting. We found a place where you could rent equipment, pans, pick axes and all, and prospect for real gold nuggets in a stream bed. My parents were positively giddy with the.. prospect.. and we lined right up with the other Sheeple. I rolled my eyes, way too cool teenager here, not wanting to look like a dork, panning for non existent gold in a cold stream. I mean come on folks, if there was really gold would they let the Unwashed Sheeple Masses find it? Apparently, for a price, they do. So we did.
Every once in awhile, I get out of my rut and just go with the flow. That day I did just that and panned for gold. I figured I would get the full experience, why not. My mom found a rather small bit of gold and that was it for the time we spent, shivering in the creek. But it was okay, I kinda liked just playing around in the hot sun, dodging giant vampire mosquitoes. It wasn't so lame really, and it was educational. No really, it was, cause I learned a bunch about the history of the whole area, and I liked that.
To finish the day, we camped up near Deadwood at a very dry, very hot campground, where the pool consisted of two inches of green muck. Really, why go to all the trouble of pouring a cement bowl if all you're gonna fill it with is slime? The hot, tired prospecting surly teenager reared his ugly head. Dad says, not to worry, we'll go in to Deadwood, see a old fashioned saloon, have some cold drinks and bask in the gunfighter, tough guy old west. Sounded cool to me.
As we drove into 'town' my mom mentioned she had been seeing an awefull lot of bikers and when we pulled in to the back parking lot of a likely saloon, it was indeed, filled with motorcycles. I didn't think anything of it, just another day. I was more interested in just how lame this 'authentic' saloon was going to be. I figured it was gonna be just one big tourist trap, with fake gunfighters, take your picture next to this wooden placard and look like a real old west gunfighter lame fest.
Actually, it wasn't lame, it was pretty much a real old fashioned saloon with big mirrors, a big bar and poker players. Oh and it was filled with bikers. Just so happens, it was bike week in Sturgis, kinda funny how that worked out. A little hell raisin, a little drinkin' and I think a couple picnic tables got broken which were paid for by the perpetrators. Nothing bad happened but you know how the greenhorn's get..
Well then pardner, the look on my mom's face was priceless, she was a wee bit taken aback. Hey man, this was right up my alley. Women in period dress paradin' around, the bartender had on a top hat and the biggest, most outrageous tie I had ever seen, the room was filled with smoke and the clang of mugs, saw dust and peanut shells on the floor and honest to goodness spittoons, filling up fast. Yee Ha!
I grinned at my folks, that devil may care grin teenagers get when they are gonna do something stupid, or at least annoying to their parents. I bellied up to the bar, slapped down a jefferson and ordered me a beer & whiskey. The bartender looked me up and down and pushed a glass of sasparilly at me and pointed to the sign. Guess he knew I wasn't old enough, dangnabit. Not to be outdone and wanting to experience the 'experience', I asked for some of his finest plug tobacco. Guess I was old enough for that and he put down the most vile smelling log of.. whatever it was, that I had ever seen.
The rest of the fam had joined me and looked at me as if I had lost my mind. I may have, cause I peeled off a chunk of that plug and commenced to chewin'. Believe me when I say, I spit that sucker right out into the spittoon at my feet, turned green, downed the sasparilly in a feeble effort to quell the uprising gorge and then headed for the little greenhorn's room. Well, it was good for a laugh when we sat down at a table, ordered a fine bar burger and finished a very quick dinner in the saloon. I guess it was a little more experience then we were looking for, but it was pretty funny.
Another not so lame day, and tomorrow, we were gonna head back east.