Friday, September 10, 2010

Who Knew Montana Was So Big

We opened the curtains this morning to ominous skies. High winds, but no rain was a better start to Day 3 then yesterday.

With a good nights sleep we hit the road, bidding adieu to Cody, Wyoming and winding our way back up to Montana.

Just Southeast of Billings we discovered Pictograph State Park, cave paintings here date back as far as 4500 years, but clearly some were left more recently...that is if you consider 120 years ago recent.

The three caves here all provided shelter for native indians. The peeling layers of sandstone have destroyed many of the cave paintings, but uncovered more ancient life. Signs of a prehistoric sea animals are revealed in the tiny fossils that cover the walls of the cliffs.

The caves were also one of the first places we caught a glimpse of the Sun today. The chances of seeing it have been too few and too far between.

It was also getting close to lunch so we trapped this little guy, and Ron made a lovely rabbit stew. He'll be canning the leftovers. We should be so lucky. Ken had a burrito that taste like a taco, Ron's subway sandwich gave him indigestion. It's was one of our first encounters with fast food so far...having both sworn to try and avoid it.

Bellies "full" we wanted Custer'd for dessert. Custer's Last Stand that is. It was changed to the Little Big Horn Battlefield National Monument in the Early 1990's. The site was one of the bloodiest losses for the U.S. against Indian tribes defending their territory. When the name changed they built a new monument adjacent to the one for those who killed in battle who fought for the states. This one was in honor of the Native Americans who died here fighting. But it is surrounded by tombstones indicating the location where soldiers died. Many soldiers were buried here, dug up, and then placed in a mass grave under the monument. Custer, was exhumed and buried at West Point. Many of his officers were dug up and reburied elsewhere.

YouTube Video

Slipping onto an adjacent rural highway, we headed (ironically) into Indian country.

A stop in Lame Deer, Montana for gas introduced us to the Chief Dull Knife College, horses on the highway, and a state law that punishes you for not paying for gas.

A little mix up in Hulett, Wyoming, led to some interesting local architecture.

Once we figured out we should have turned right at the fork in the road we we're pointed back in the right direction. Dead ahead was Devil's Tower (pun intended).

It was created when molten earth shot up through it's crust... pushing upwards. The tower was also the nation's first national monument.

It was here we had our first encounter with prairie dogs. hundreds of them.

Onwards to South Dakota, but not before a stop in Sundance. Not that Sundance. This one is in Wyoming.

Other than it's notoriety for the Sundance Kid and cheap gas, there isn't much to see here folks.

Our day began to wind down crossing the South Dakota border just before sunset. We made it to Spearfish, SD in time to see the sunset on another day.

Deadwood, SD is not the charming little Western relic you may have been led to believe (Ron). The charm of the old buildings may still be there, but they have gutted everything to make room for slot machines and buffets.

We held out for dinner in Rapid City, SD, and called it a night.

Day three down...fifteen to go.

Location:Rapp St,Rapid City,United States

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