Timing is everything…

When I left you last, I was bored in Billings.   I would like to amend my previous post.  First off, when I first arrived in Billings, I got out of the MoHo and immediately ran into someone wearing a Raiders cap.  So the place can’t be all bad.  I also completed my Big Dipper ice cream trifecta and bought a t-shirt.  The huckleberry milkshakes are amazing and I should know since I had one in Missoula and Helena too!  So anyway the next morning, Juno ended up stepping on something (bee?  burr?  who knows) while we were playing in the park and he was limping around, favoring his leg, licking his paw and acting miserable. I would like to commend the staff at Billings Animal Hospital.  They were able to see me immediately so we zipped over and they took great care of The Snug.

My first stop after leaving Billings was Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.  They have hourly ranger talks, you can do a self-guided tour and even drive your own car between the two battlegrounds.  These pictures show the burial sites of many Americans including Custer), a special marker for the horses, the markers for the Indians and just a view of what the battlefield looked like (you can see the white markers scattered throughout):

From Little Bighorn, it was a 3+ drive to Medicine Rocks State Park, about 14 miles north of Ekalaka. I read about this in my trusty Off The Beaten Path book.  Teddy Roosevelt said it was one of the most beautiful places he had seen and even carved his initials in one of the rocks.

Led Zeppelin and Queen kept me company while driving across eastern Montana.  The views were incredible but one thing I’ve become cognizant of is gas stations, or lack thereof. I took one highway 70 miles and didn’t see a single gas station.  The picture on the right is where I filled up in Ekalaka.  Literally a pump and a place to swipe your cc.  No sign, no people around, nothing.

The journey continued the following morning when I departed Montana after a glorious 10 days and crossed into South Dakota!  After a quick stop for lunch, a stroll and groceries, I immediately headed to Mt Rushmore.  I must say – it really is amazing to see in person.

But the crazy thing going on this weekend is Sturgis, the annual motorcycle rally.  There are bikes everywhere!  Here are a couple of pix from when I was driving through Keystone and it doesn’t do it justice at all.

Yesterday was cave day – Wind Cave and Jewel Cave. They are about 40 minutes from one another but so completely different!  Wind Cave is a national park and is known for its box-work and popcorn.

Jewel Cave is a national monument and is known for flow stone and “drapery” which are stalactites that have grown horizontally from the walls.  Looked like jellyfish to me!  There was also an excellent representation of “cave bacon” which you can see in the lower right corner.

But the best part of the last few days was meeting up with my friend and former neighbor Dave.  He’s on a cross-country motorcycle trip heading west and it was just perfect timing that we were both here in South Dakota at the same time.  We had dinner in Rockerville last night and he’s now off to Devil’s Tower in WY.

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That’s it for now. I had a little too much gin last night at dinner so moving slowly this morning. I’m heading to the Badlands shortly and then on to Pierre. Hope you are all having a great weekend!

State count: 6

4 thoughts on “Timing is everything…

  1. What’s the difference between a National Park and a National Monument? I suppose I could search for the answer online but it’s a whole lot easier to ask someone who’s currently experiencing these things.

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  2. National Monuments are proclaimed by the president and are historic landmarks, structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest on land controlled by the Federal Government. Parks are places that show a natural resource in an unspoiled high value setting. They are also created by an act of Congress rather than by proclamation.

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  3. I’ve never seen memorials to the fallen horses of a battle.
    I think horses have really suffered due to their association with mankind. Think of the charge of the light brigade among many other slaughters.

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