Chairman Bao is a Shih Tzu. We travel a lot. I drive. He watches. We've logged at least 10,000 miles and he's never once said, Sweetheart, don't you think you should stop and ask someone?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

If there's a winery in the vicinity, we'll find it. As you can see, there was.

Wine in South Dakota? You'd better believe it. The University of Minnesota helped Prairie Berry Winery to develop a special grape suited to local conditions, and the result is a selection of extremely interesting wines. I bought six bottles of red, four to save and serve to friends this winter, two to drink along the way. And then we did lunch. Bao and I love lunch.

We strolled through Hill City, an old mining and timber camp that has recreated itself as the Black Hills' eclectic art center, but the shop that sold homemade fudge was closed so we didn't buy anything.

Bao was still tired from yesterday, so we continued on to Deadwood. In 1875, they found gold here. I mean literally here, at the site of the First Gold Hotel, which is where we're staying. It's a bit out of town, but that's okay. At least it's quiet. Downtown is packed with what appears to be hundreds of aging bikies. Faded jeans, ratty T-shirts, tattoos, lots of (grey) face hair, big guys, big gals. But old. Older than me, even. They all seem to know each other, too. Maybe it's a convention.

The only other attraction here is gambling. Slots, in particular. Deadwood used to be an outlaw town but 15 years ago there was no industry, no cash and no tourists. So on November 1 1989 they legalized gaming (has a nicer ring to it than gambling) and by 2006, they'd made $90 million dollars. The wages of sin are damn good.
Trouble is, I don't gamble. It's not that I disapprove. I just hate losing. So Bao and I spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out in the air-conditioning. I wrote up my journal, and Bao slept. He sleeps a lot. He's a dog.


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