2011 Travels travel blog

Carpe rests at Grand View RV Park in Hardin, MT

Welcome to Montana

Montana is a big state
554 miles of I 90 run through...

We love these big Montana vistas

We visited Pompey's Pillar National Monument
William Clark named this landmark in 1806

William Clark's signature and date on Pompey's Pillar

Yellowstone River from atop Pompey's Pillar

Cathie Bailey at Pompey's Pillar

Bob next to replicas of Clark's canoes

We also visited the Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings
They had a great...

Monumental Cat with Whiskers in front of Yellowstone Art Museum

Little Bighorn Battlefield
Markers indicate fallen combatants. Little Bighorn River in background

Tree on Little Bighorn Battlefield

Marker describing site of Custer's Last Stand

Monument to Custer's Last Stand

Marker indicates fallen Lakota warrier

Markers to fallen U.S. Seventh Cavalry soldiers


Tue, 06 Sep: All things must end, and so it was with our nine day sojourn at Gillette's Wyoming Cam-Plex Boxelder campground. Another group was due in today so those of us diehards had to vacate today. We got a leisurely start, which was a good thing since being in one place for nine days we tended to take lots of stuff out. It all had to be stowed before getting underway. Check engine oil, dump holding tanks, check tire pressure, etc., etc. We used our checklist to ensure nothing was overlooked.

A few minutes before ten we pulled out of the campground with Ray & Cathie's coach following. On I 90 westbound we made good time and the 195 miles from Gillette to Hardin took us slightly more than four hours including a lunch stop at a turn out in Montana. We arrived at the Hardin exit only to encounter considerable road construction in the town. We were able to find our way to the Grand View Campground via local streets and a final "detour" through the Exxon station after Cathie got out and moved some construction barriers.

We got settled in and did our own thing for dinner. The Baileys dined in, while the Swansons opted for a local eatery. Alas, we couldn't find it so we ended up at Wing Street. Hardin is an interesting town with many casinos that are a testimony to the large Native American population.

Wed, 07 Sep: Today we decided to play both tourists and consumers by doing some sightseeing with a stop at the Billings Costco thrown in. First stop, researched by Cathie, was Pompey's Pillar National Monument. Pompey's Pillar was named by William Clark of Lewis & Clark fame. Clark (he and Lewis had split up to explore different areas at this time) in July 1806. He climbed to the top (100 or so feet) to view the Yellowstone River and in the process scratched his signature and the date in the side of the rock (see photo). We thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the Lewis & Clark expedition. Good pick Cathie.

From Pompey's Pillar we then drove into Billings for a visit to the Yellowstone Art Museum. The featured collection was Pulitzer Prize winning photographs. The Pulitzer Prize didn't include photos until 1942, and the collection included some pretty amazing shots including Joe Rosenthal's famous flag raising at Iwo Jima. We spent about an hour enjoying the show. Good pick #2 Cathie.

Finally we headed for the Billings Costco where we dined at Chez Costco's Food Court, one of our favorite elegant dining experiences. Following lunch (the Swanson's "blew the diet" and had pizza) we stocked up on "necessities" for the next few weeks as our schedule doesn't include a Costco city till the latter part of the month. Poor Dinkum was groaning under the full trunk of purchases.

Thu, 08 Sep: Today we visited the Battle of Little Bighorn battlefield. The National Monument is only fifteen miles east of Hardin, so it was an easy drive. The owners of the RV park lent us a descriptive CD of the battlefield so we were able to drive along following the narrative.

It was very interesting and we certainly learned a lot about the Battle of Little Bighorn aka Custer's Last Stand. It was a pretty brutal battle fought in 1876 and was certainly a battle for a way of life on the part of the Sioux and Crow nations. The battlefield vistas are so typically Montana with sweeping views that seem to go on forever.

Back to the park late afternoon for happy hour. Ray washed the bugs off the front of his coach (Sandi washed the carrion from Carpe's front and windshield early in the morning). The grasshoppers are pretty thick in these parts and when one of them hits the front of the coach it really leaves a mess. Ugh!



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