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My final night in Sundance was one of loud claps of thunder, a sky lit by lightning and winds strong enough to cause structural damage. I didn’t sleep a  lot. My first priority was to put the bike as close to my room as possible and hope for the best.

P1130077The sky was unusual

P1130080As it was such a sleepless night, I decided to set off early and hope to beat the next bad weather system to the next town of Spearfish – across the state line in South Dakota. It was only a ride of 36 miles but having been to Spearfish on the last trip, I knew there were motels aplenty – and considerably cheaper. The town also has a lot of eateries and bars. So, I left Sundance at around 6am

P1130072Click on the button for a story telling accompaniment

Approximately half way between Sundance and Spearfish in the Redwater Creek Valley between the Bear Lodge Mountains on the north and west and the Black Hills proper on the south and west is the Vore Buffalo Jump. I stopped to take a look around and read about this place which is one of the most important archeological sites of the Late- Prehistoric Plains Indians.

The Vore Buffalo Jump is on the interface between what were once great bison pastures of the northern Great Plains and the Black Hills, making it highly attractive to various groups of buffalo hunters. In about 300 years, the site was used by five or more tribes.

The rich cultures and fascinating history of the Plains Indians developed around the immense bison herds and grasslands and of western North America.

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The Vore Buffalo Jump features enormous quantities of bone and stone artifacts that are perfectly preserved in discrete, precisely datable layers and held in place within a natural bowl.

Within the site are the butchered remnants of as many as 20,000 bison as well as thousands of chipped stone arrow points, knives, and other tools. The materials are contained within 22 cultural levels that extend downward to a depth of nearly 20 feet.

But unfortunately, due to heavy rainfall and a flash flood, the dug-out pit has filled up with mud again.

P1130101The photo below shows an excavation unit at the Vore Buffalo Jump with some of the more than 20 layers of bison bone and other artifacts. The photo was taken during the post-discovery survey in 1971.

P1130103 P1130108 P1130110It was back on the highway then – amazing how calm the sky looks now!

P1130112A little further on, at the Wyoming Welcome Centre, I stopped to look at the petrified (fossilised) tree stumps as well as some pre-historic skeletons

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Petrified wood tells a story of a beautiful tree that once existed perhaps millions of years ago. and has been preserved in its original shape.

How does wood last so long? How can it become so hard that it can last for millions of years? Wood that has been preserved is said to have been petrified –  there is actually no wood left in the piece. The wood died and was gone many years ago. What remains are minerals that have replaced the wood, but in the same shape and form. So that while the wood looks just as it looked millions of years ago, it is actually a rock that has taken the form of the wood.

P1130118 P1130119 P1130121Interesting place.

Have to add a photo for Christine (she always makes me stop for horses)

P1130127Landscape typical of The Black Hills

P1130130Not much chance of finding a motel in this metropolis!

P1130132Finally, I came to Spearfish

Spearfish, South Dakota

Spearfish, South Dakota

I saw the motel that Christine and I stayed in last year – it was very nice but a little too far from the centre of town. So I checked in to a more central one.

P1130134 P1130136 P1130137And then went off to look for breakfast – and my memories of the town was revived.

P1130146Last year, Christine and I ate in this restaurant – Bum Steer it’s called. Superb steak and a very friendly, chatty barman who gave Christine a couple of glasses of some very nice wines – on the house.

The Bum Steer

The Bum Steer

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And the food (the ‘Bum Steer steaks) was fabulous. Lovely place to eat – I shall give it another go before leaving.

P1070020Some nice native American artwork in this bar too

P1070035 P1070038But, for today – I would visit a less formal hostelry with sentiments like this

P1130149P1130139 P1130141And, predictably, that sodding weather system had followed in my wake!

P1130155But I shall sleep well and be able to relax knowing I have paid for tonight.

Take care out there.

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