The Black Hills fires were at the backs of our minds as we did our two day vacation through them. I think we encountered far fewer tourists than we would have done this Independence Day week because of the negative publicity the fires generated. Roads which Rosemarie thought would have been bumper-to-bumper were almost empty. The people who served us were glad to have us there.
Deadwood had been evacuated for two days at the beginning of this week because of fires that licked at the edge of town. On our visit on Friday, we saw the fire damage. Hills of nothing but burnt stumps could be seen from Deadwood's downtown. The firefighters performed heroically keeping the flames out of the city. We were told that a handful of homes were lost, however.
Hiking up the Little Devil's Tower and driving up to the summit of Terry's Peak, we were able to see the plumes of smoke in the distance.
Rain has finally moved into the area. Not enough to end the drought throughout South Dakota, but enough to finally contain the flames.
Another anecdote: while in Deadwood, we visited a sports bar owned by Kevin Costner. No, he wasn't in attendance. It was actually quite a good restaurant, decorated with props from his many movies, and the food was cheap and good. Again, with the lack of any crowds, it was a quiet break from the chinging casinos around town.
We had a nacho "appetizer" that was laughably huge. It became the meal for the five of us. The waiters and then the cook actually started to pass by our table in amazement that any group of people could have eaten so much food. But it was good, and it was a bargain.
Tomorrow, we start our way back to Ann Arbor and Ontario. We hope to leave early in the morning. It will be another two days before I post. Keep your fingers crossed that the weather will be cooler and cloudier so that the trip back isn't so long and hot.