In 1967 my father bought a Pontiac Catalina and a dingy old travel trailer and took his girlfriend, my brother and me on a road trip. Over the next 8 weeks we drove 13,498 miles, visited 51 parks, and saw wonders like geysers, redwoods, grizzlies, and the Summer of Love in San Francisco. The trip made an indelible impression, cementing my appreciation for the natural world and the American landscape. This summer Pamela and I hope to repeat the experience for our family.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dave: Is This the Best America Can Do?

We stopped in Deadwood, SD for breakfast. Once upon a time Deadwood was probably an interesting western town. It still has some interesting architecture. But in 1989 they let in gambling. Now the old western town has been completely assimilated by casinos. As best we could tell there is no real town left. At the tourist office Pamela asked if there was a market. The answer: No.

We tramped around for a while looking for a place to eat breakfast. Many of the casinos have breakfast buffets, but we didn't want to go into a casino. Finally we gave in and stopped at a deserted cafe in Miss Kitty's Saloon for a wretched breakfast. The coffee I brewed in the coffee valet at our room at the Bavarian lodge was better than Miss Kitty's.

We always hear our political leaders saying casinos are economically valuable. I wonder if anyone has really studied the demographics. Maybe they provide a short-term economic boost, but almost everyone I see in these smaller casinos is old. Families are rare. (Vegas is a different story.) Many of the people I see in casinos are obese too. Some look (and act) like they won't live out the year. How can this clientele provide a long term benefit?

We raced out of Deadwood the instant we finished breakfast.

Towns like Deadwood make me embarassed to be an American.

No comments:

Post a Comment