SOUTH DAKOTA….THE SAGA

This little jaunt to South Dakota started with an
unexpected change. I was to fly out to SD on Thursday the 26th from Burbank.
Then suddenly, the Friday before, my Grandfather was killed in a car accident. So I
had to change my flight from leaving from Burbank, to leaving from San Francisco
so I could attend the rosary for him. I unfortunately couldn’t attend the
funeral because these shows were contracted back in May, but I did get to say a
few words at the rosary.

Then early
Thursday morning I was off to San Francisco International and winging my way to
South Dakota. I had two goals going into this trip besides rocking. The first
was to see Mount Rushmore. The other was to visit Deadwood. Read on and see if
I accomplished my goals….

I arrived
in Rapid City, South Dakota and had just enough time to check into my hotel, The
Hotel Alex Johnson.



It’s one of the tallest buildings in
Rapid City and I was on the 9th floor so I had a great view of everything.
Supposedly room 802 of the hotel is haunted. I was holed up in 906 and am happy
to report there were no “supernatural” experiences to report. I found out you
can get booked into that room if you want and they say, “Who know what will
happen? Will your windows open by themselves? WIll your drawers be opened
during the night? WIll You See THe Woman in White?” I just laughed because I
felt bad for the Bellhop who, I’m sure, has to sneak into the room and do all
this stuff while you’re asleep.

BELLHOP: OoOoOoooooOooooO! I’m the
Lady in white!!!

Downtown Rapid City
has bronze statues of most of the presidents, one on each corner. It was kinda
cool. My show was at the South Dakota School Of Mines. (That’s Mines, note
Mimes.) It was a bit of different show than I normally do as it was an Open Mic
as well. So my set was broken up by some great performances. This lead to some
great moments and an improvised song by Throwing Toasters called POOP ON MY
TOOTHBRUSH. You really had to be there.

After the show I went to dinner at the
Firehouse Brewery with Michael, Ryan, another Ryan and two young ladies whose
names escape me. I had my first ever Buffalo Burger and I have to say it tasted
really…..very much like a hamburger. but it was great. They also Home Brew
their Root Beer which Ryan insisted I try and I’m glad I did. It was
great.

After that it was back to the
hotel to turn in because tomorrow I had to drive to Aberdeen for my next show.
Aberdeen is about 6 or 7 hours away from Rapid City so I wanted to get some good
sleep, but I also wanted to get an early start because I wanted to go
to…




MOUNT
RUSHMORE!!!!

As I drove to Mount
Rushmore they have signs every mile or so and, to me, it really built up the
anticipation of seeing it! I keep scanning the mountains and looking for it.
Finally as I passed through the town of Keystone, I caught a glimpse of it
between the trees and I started giggling like mad! It was SO awesome. I went
in and Parked ($8 but your pass is good all year, too bad it’s tied to your
license plate and I was in a rental). I went to put my backpack into the trunk
and promptly proceeded in locking my keys in the trunk. There was several
moments of panic in the Mount Rushmore garage as I frantically searched the
unfamiliar car for a way to get in and finally, several minutes later I found
the button. Whew. That would have SUCKED BIG
TIME!!!!!

Anyway, then it was up to the
monument. Wow. That’s all I can say. Something about this really impressed
me. Moreso than my trip to Washington DC, though I think had I been able to
spend more time in Washington, I would have been more impressed. I will say
that it was FRICKIN FREEZING up there though! SO COLD!!! THat’s why in the
following pictures I have a pained expression on my
face.

I
also went to the “Profile Lookout”. It’s a little washed out, but that’s George
Washington there. He was our first president you
know.

I
spent way too much in the gift shop. On these trips there’s some things I
always buy. I buy my Dad a shot glass. He doesn’t collect them or anything.
Well, I guess he does now because I keep buying them for him. Also, for my
manager Barbara, I always buy her a keychain. That’s something I’ve done since
she got me my first big gig in Japan. I also bought a T-Shirt for me and a
Mount Rushmore oven mitt for my mom. I just thought it was such a stupid thing
to have, I had to get it for her.

I
wrapped this up at about 10:30AM and I was tempted to try and head to Deadwood
(about 50 minutes from MR), but I decided that the Drive to Aberdeen was going
to be so big that I should just get going! As you’ll see this was a WISE
CHOICE!!!!

Aberdeen is about 350 miles
from Rapid City. It was a long drive. I learned a lot of things about South
Dakota on this drive.

1. The
South Dakota Folks are opinionated. There were several signs stating several
different political views than we usually have in California. There were
several variations on the theme “Abortion Kills”. There were signs that
actually said, “Animal Research Saves Animals Too!” that had a picture of a
little cat that said, “Puddles (or something) living with diabetes since…”.
Wow. And the ones that REALLY got me said, “WEAR FUR!!!! Wearing fur helps
keep the populations down!” Wow!

2.
Speed limit on I-90? 75 baby! We only get 70 in CA! That was
great.

3. There were A TON of AWESOME
roadside attractions. I’m talking totally cool roadside attractions, kinda like
The Biggest Ball Of Twine (except that’s not in SD). I’m a TOTAL sucker for
these kind of things and was bummed to find out that most were closed until
summer. :-( So I’m planning another trip sometime! I plan on seeing: The
Reptile Gardens, Old MacDonald’s Farm, Storybook Island (which may be a great
place to film a video for NRL), The Petrified Forest, 1880 Town, Bear Country
and any others I can get to! There was one attraction open though, which brings
me to number….

4. I LOVE WALL DRUG!!
It is the coolest place EVER! What is Wall Drug? It is a Pharmacy about a mile
off the I-90 in Wall, SD. It’s about 100 miles (i think) from Rapid City.
About 10 miles out of RC you start seeing the signs “Wall Drug As Mentioned in
The Wall Street Journal” “Wall Drug 5 Cent Coffee!” “Wall Drug FREE ICE
WATER”. THere were just TONS of these signs. It got crazy, but it was SO
funny! Then, there was one sign that hooked me and the moment I read it I knew
I had to stop…”Wall Drug – Six Foot Rabbit!” That did it, I was planning my
stop!!

The history of the place is
REALLY fascinating to me and it will be talked about in a future episode of Dr.
Floyd, so I won’t go into here. I will say I stopped, walked around, had
another Buffalo Burger, And, of course, some FREE ICE
WATER….


Unfortunately,
the “Backyard” where all the REALLY COOL STUFF is kept was closed for the
season, so no Six Foot Rabbit. There was still plenty to see and that totally
gives me reason to go back! I got my free Wall Drug Bumper Sticker and was back
on the road! I did get to see the
dinosaur…



5. The capitol of SD is
Pierre.



Here’s me across from the Pierre Opera
House. And as for what I learned, It’s pronounced like PIER, not
Pee-Air.

6. There are vast amounts
of…nothing in South Dakota. It’s very beautiful
though.






7. When you cross over the Missouri
river in SD, traveling West to East, you lose an hour. This TOTALLY messed me
up. I was driving and was like, “Man I’m making GREAT time!” Then suddenly I
lost an hour. It was gone. I had no idea what happened. My Cell Phone was an
hour fast and suddenly the car’s clock was wrong. I swear I though I had been
abducted by aliens and lost an hour. I finally figured it out as I was reaching
Aberdeen and then I realized all that “GREAT TIME” I was making was suddenly not
so GREAT! luckily I made it to my soundcheck on time.

The show in Aberdeen was great. Crowd
of about 30 kids. They enjoyed the show and I sold a few copies of Laughter Is A
Powerful Weapon Vol. 2
. As I headed back to the hotel I was hungry
and decided to get some Pizza and saw that Papa Johns was still open. Not only
were they open, they were the only Pizza Place I’ve EVER seen with a DRIVE
THRU!!!






Yeah, like a drive thru. Like
McDonalds. It was awesome.

Then it was
back to the hotel where I devised my master plan! I would go to sleep and wake
up early. My Flight was at 5:45PM, so I had the whole day. I’d get up at
6:30AM Aberdeen time (5:30 AM Rapid City Time). Make the 7 hour drive to rapid
city, then the 50 minute drive to Deadwood! HA! That extra hour would now work
to my advantage!

On the way back I was
SORELY tempted to stop at Wall Drug again, but I was determined to get spend as
much time in Deadwood as I could, so until next time Wall
Drug!!

I rolled into Deadwood at
12:30PM (Deadwood/Rapid City Time) and was overjoyed because that meant I had
two hours before I had to head back to Rapid City (50 mins away) to catch my
plane!

Why do I want to go to Deadwood?
Because I’m a HUGE fan of the HBO TV Show. That show is so great AND it’s based
on REAL PEOPLE AND REAL EVENTS!! If you’re familiar with the show you’ll love
these photos! First Stop…



Al Swearengen’s The Gem. Now, this
isn’t actually the EXACT place where the original GEM was. That location is now
a parking lot across the street. The Gem burned down and this one was rebuilt
across the street. They supposedly have THE BEST STEAKS IN DEADWOOD, so I just
HAD to try. I decided to splurge (after eating crap food the rest of the trip)
and buy myself a good meal. I orders Al’s Porterhouse Steak. The most expensive
item on the menu! And here it
is…

Mmmmmm.
And those are “Garlic Mashed” potatoes. We have Garlic Mashed potatoes in CA,
but they sure don’t look like that. After I filled my belly, it was off to
explore
Deadwood.

Bullock
Hotel. named after Deadwood’s first
Sheriff.

The
Mint, which if I remember the show correctly was the Gem’s
rival.



This…is the Actual Location Where
Wild Bill Hickock Was Shot. Don’t believe me? Read the
sign!

This
is the same place, but across the street. It was called the 10 Cent when Bill
was killed and then it burnt down and was rebuilt up the street, but this is the
location.



Looking down Main Street in
Deadwood.

And more cool
buildings….

And
then….

The
Celebrity Hotel has a ton of Movie props all over it. I actually started
thinking maybe these were props from now defunct Planet Hollywoods. Anyway,
this picture was taken for Doug who is a big Herbie fan. He even dragged me to
the Lindsay Lohan movie.

I
purchased another shot glass for my dad, a book for mom and a shirt for me that
says, “What Happens in Deadwood, Stays In Deadwood.”

The time was quickly approaching
2:30PM and I had to leave soon but there was one more stop i wanted to
make…..


Mount
Mariah Cemetery. This is Deadwood’s cemetery and has been for hundreds of
years.



It is the final resting place of Wild
Bill Hickock….



That’s
Bill’s Gravesite. And right next to him
is…

Calamity
Jane’s Grave. Jane is my FAVORITE character on Deadwood.


People
were leaving pennies on Bill’s Grave so I did as well.

And with that it was back to the car,
but I did stop briefly at a Antique shop in Deadwood and picked up a SOUTH
DAKOTA license plate for my wall!

This
really was a great trip! Worth every moment driving. Worth the ton of tired I
feel write now as I fly back to Burbank. ANd best of all….I GOT PAID TO DO IT
ALL!! HA HA HA HAAAA!

THanks to all
the new fans in SD. Thanks to the schools for bringing me out and letting me
discover South Dakota. I WILL be back!!!

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