Thursday, June 15, 2017

Fun in Deadwood!

I left last Wednesday with my sister-in-law and niece to attend the Wild Deadwood Reads author/reader event in Deadwood, South Dakota.
Hill where Custer was killed.
We stopped Thursday morning at the Little Bighorn battle site. I couldn't drive so close and not soak in and see how the event had unfolded in 1876, only two years before the time of my next historical western series in the general area of the setting of that series. My SIL had been to the site before it had become so commercialized. She said she'd felt more while walking through there then. It was a hot day, high 80's so we only took in the nob where Custer and his entourage were killed, the head stone for the military horses, the head stones for some of the Sioux killed in the battle, and the new monument to the American Indians who lost their lives and those who survived. We walked through the national cemetery that is filled with U.S. veterans and their families.

That evening we arrived in Deadwood. I was enamored as soon as we drove down the street looking for our hotel.

Before dinner we were entertained by the street players. They did a shoot out in the street in front of the hotel where we were eating. 
shootout actors

Fairmont Hotel Oyster Bar
The authors who arrived Thursday met for dinner before a ghost tour in the Fairmont Hotel Oyster Bar. The owner of the bar was our tour guide. He had tales of hauntings he'd encountered while living in the three story building by himself. He knew the history of the building and Deadwood. We then proceeded to climb stairs and visit the rooms where prostitutes had taken their own lives and were seen or felt in the rooms. The building had been a barber shop in the basement and a saloon on the first floor, with a brothel taking up the second and third floors. There was a back door to the barber shop that came out at a set of stairs that would take men up to the second floor to party with a woman. 

Our guide also showed us a door that led into the next building which also housed a brothel on the second floor. This allowed the clientele to move between buildings without being seen.  On the tour one author, who is known for feeling ghosts, had the feeling in one room and took photos of orbs in another. I took a photo that has a strange shadow, that can't be explained. Could it be the poor woman, Maggie, who haunted the guide's room after throwing herself out the window many years ago?

Is Maggie the shadow in the doorway?
Friday was a busy day. We took in the Adam's Museum. It had the history of the area and the unique characters who had lived and passed through Deadwood. I found this Indian tether interesting as I had just been introduced to the cavalry's version.

American Indian horse tether.
We boarded the bus to take us to the 1880's Black Hills train ride.

1880s Train Ride
Me conducting a game
As one of the sponsoring authors, I headed up a game of BINGO using book covers from the sponsoring authors and I emceed the game. The train ride brought back memories as we traveled by steam locomotive through ponderosa pine. The scent of the trees reminded me of riding my horse through the woods on the mountain behind our house. The tour guide dressed as a railroad worker, did a great job of explaining the area and the history.  On the bus ride back to Deadwood we played Black Jack.

With a brief respite after our trip to the train, we attended a PBR rodeo. The young bull riders tried their hardest to stay on the 1000 and 1200 pound animals but the animals got the best of most of the riders. It was a tough string of bucking bulls. The clown/entertainer gave a shout out to our group and posed for us to take photos for our book covers. LOL

Bull Riders
Saturday was the booksigning in the conference room of the Holiday Inn Resort Hotel. We had a steady stream of readers in the morning. It slacked off in the afternoon, but was a fun event.
My niece and I ready for the readers!
I met authors in person that I had only known via internet before and enjoyed meeting readers.

Sunday morning we loaded up and headed to Big Piney, Wyoming to spend the night with one of the school friends. We took her husband's advice and drove home via the scenic route he suggested and were glad we did.
Below Jackson, WY
If you're a reader or author and want to attend Wild Deadwood Reads next year, stay tuned to this blog and I'll let you know when they will start registrations for next year, June 7th-10th.

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