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?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The most interesting thing in Deadwood is Mt. Moriah cemetery, best seen in the early morning while the gamblers are still asleep. But beyond Deadwood, wonderful things!

Just a few miles down the road, Tantaka's bigger-than-life bronze bison hunt -- 14 bison (another word for buffalo) being pursued by American Indians on horesback -- is utterly awe-inspiring and so realistic that Bao took one look, dug in his small heels and refused to go near it. This is the Black Hills, this is what it's about. Not casinos. Not slot machines.

Tantaka is Kevin Costner's baby. His dream was to build a hotel, but the idea never got off the ground. Perhaps investors thought gambling was a better bet. But Costner had already commissioned the bronze bison -- which were meant to stand at the hotel entrance -- so he created Tantaka: The Story of the Bison. There's an Educational Center and a recreation of a Lakota village, all beautifully realized. Getting as far as Deadwood and missing this would be like visiting San Francisco and not seeing the Golden Gate Bridge.

Then, think spherical. Or more precisely, termespherical.

Walking into Dick Termes' Gallery was like entering another dimension. But we had to get there, first. It was a bit off the beaten track (just outside Spearfish) and Barbara didn't approve. Entering unverified territory, she kept saying. When we turned off onto the dirt road, Bao gave me a questioning, troubled look. Sometimes Barbara can be a real pain in the ass.

So there we were, in a fairytale world of revolving, globular canvases, "as if you put a transparent sphere on your head and painted what you saw" Dick Termes says. Pictures just don't do it justice. You're simultaneously looking in six directions. North, south, east, west, up and down. It's a six-dimensional experience. And these wonderful, miniature worlds are all for sale, although a tad beyond my budget at the moment. But what an glorious, mind-bending experience!

Onward, to Thermopolis.


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