This past weekend I road-tripped with three other authors to my first book event in almost two years… Wild Deadwood Reads! It was my first time attending, but the fourth time romance authors Ginger Ring and Linda Rae Sande have hosted the event in Deadwood, South Dakota.
We started off in Minneapolis on Wednesday morning and stopped at several places on our way. First up, the world’s only Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota. According to their website, the first corn palace was constructed in 1892 to showcase South Dakota’s thriving agricultural industry. Over 500,000 visitors pass through the palace each year to view the ever-changing designs. We enjoyed perusing the shops and had a yummy lunch at the Scoreboard right next door.
Next we searched for the Dignity statue that was supposed to be right off the highway in Chamberlain, South Dakota. After a few mishaps we found the fifty-foot sculpture. One might think she’d be difficult to miss, but somehow we managed. The view was worth the extra time it took to find her. Built in honor of the Native nations of the Great Plains, the sculpture weighs twelve tons and is made out of hundreds of pieces of stainless steel.
Our last touristy stop of the day was the infamous Wall Drug where we filled up on free ice water and wandered through shop after shop of souvenirs. I even found a couple copies of Her Kind of Cowboy and The Cowboy Says I Do at the bookstore! If you’re in the area, stop by and snag them… I signed them while I was there! We spent the night in Box Elder and tried to rest up for a stop at Mount Rushmore the next morning.
We couldn’t have wished for more perfect weather for our quick stop at Mount Rushmore. The profiles stood out against a brilliant blue sky. We didn’t have time to take the trek up under the monument, but I’ve done that on a previous trip and it was well worth it. After stopping a couple of times for photo opps, we pulled into Deadwood in mid-afternoon and immediately set out to find somewhere to eat.
Pam’s Purple Door provided the perfect place to kick up our feet during our stay. Located above a few shops on the main street in town, the building hosted the last known brothel in Deadwood that was closed down for good in 1980. It’s supposedly haunted but we didn’t have any supernatural experiences. Thursday night we attended a fun meet and greet and enjoyed amazing cupcakes!
On Friday we spent the entire day touring on a giant bus. Michel Prince and I were in charge of entertainment and may or may not be invited back again based on some of the games we played. Let’s just say we now know a lot more than we bargained for about cover model Robert Kelly. LOL. We made stops at Devil’s Tower and had lunch at the Longhorn Saloon and Grill in Sundance. Our last stop of the day was at the Full Throttle Saloon in Sturgis. It’s an impressive sight and I can only imagine what the place looks like when thousands of partygoers descend in August.
Friday night we enjoyed sweets and treats from the Chubby Chipmunk Chocolates while listening to several authors read from their work. All of the chocolates were absolutely delicious but one caught me a little off guard. I should have expected some kick from the one with the chili pepper decoration on top. The first bite tasted like a rich, sweet bit of chocolate. Then the spice kicked in.
Saturday morning we had breakfast with some readers and authors then spent the day at the book fair. With over 70 authors in attendance, the ballroom was filled to capacity. Cover model Michael Wayne Foster did a great job emceeing the event and the raffle baskets raised over a thousand dollars for the Shiloh Horse Rescue. I was super bummed I didn’t win the awesome little library raffle basket, but it was probably for the best. I don’t think there was room in the back of the truck so I would have had to hold it in my lap the whole way home.
If you get a chance to attend Wild Deadwood Reads, I sure hope you’ll go! Maybe I’ll even see you there!