Saturday, August 6, 2016

It Just Keeps Getting Better

Hey, y'all.  I can’t believe it’s been over a week since I’ve updated y’all on where we have wandered.  Where, oh where has the time gone.   The proverbial “they” say, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” so we must be having a ball … and we are!  Where have we been and what have we seen?  I'm SO glad you asked!

Friday, 07/22/16
Carl and I said goodbye to South Dakota and traveled 261 miles to Big Horn Mountains KOA in Sheridan WY.  We got the heck out of Dodge (or SD) a couple weeks before the big Sturgis Bike Rally officially kicked off.  Although we really wanted to ride through town, it’s tough to know where you can take a big rig like ours and where it might be a problem so we kept on truck’n.

Wyoming welcomed us with its wide open rolling plains, wind fences, old farms/ranches and oil wells.  They have a great Welcome Center where you get a real feel for what the state has to offer.  Eventually, the KOA also welcomed us.  As is the case with most of them, Big Horn Mountain was friendly and clean … a good place to call home for the night; nothing extraordinary but also nothing offensive. 

Saturday, 07/23/16

Time for a break from the road for a couple days, we put less than 100 miles in the books … pretty much just enough to get us into God’s country … Montana, Crow Indian Nation.  Ironically, it was two years ago exactly that Carl and I first set foot in Montana and have both looked forward to getting back – and we were not disappointed.  Almost immediately, the hills began to rise to the heavens with snow adorning many of the peaks.

As soon as we got set-up at the Hardin KOA, we went to the site of Custer’s Last Stand / Little Big Horn, visited the museum, and took the guided tour. 

The white headstones were erected where the soldier fell.  However, many of the Indians’ bodies were claimed by their families for burial on their reservations.  Therefore, the red markers are placed where those families later reported they had retrieved the warrior’s body.  The marker with the black front is where Custer reportedly died.

My heart hurt so much for the native Indians who fought diligently to simply retain their lands.  I am pleased that “we” have now at least recognized those warriors with a place of honor in that battlefield.

 I encourage you to visit the site if you ever make it to that part of the country.

Sunday, 07/24/16

Who’d thunk it?  Hardin MT has one of the most amazing museums I’ve ever experienced!  It's called the Big Horn County Historical Museum and Visitor Center and is comprised of a small indoor museum and a lot of buildings that make you feel like you have stepped back in the history of that community.

We then drove up to the Yellowtail Dam overlook … which is supposed to offer spectacular views … only to arrive at 5:05 PM and access is closed after 5:00 PM!  It was a beautiful drive up there anyway.  That just meant we got back to the campground in time to partake of ICE CREAM, provided by the “local” (150 miles away) Order of the Rainbow Girls chapter, and get things ready to depart the following morning. 

As for the KOA itself, it had some really good amenities, but also some areas for improvement.  Our site was in a quiet corner with trees close enough to provide ambiance but not be intrusive and have gourds hanging in them for the birds, which provided awesome serenades.  The picnic tables at each site have tepee shelters.  The entire perimeter is lined with old bicycles, which was pretty cool, and there are several rabbits roaming freely through the property.  Bandit was somewhat disappointed that they didn’t offer the standard KOA Kamp K-9 (fenced, off-leash play area) and the swimming pool was tiny (although we didn’t use it anyway).  Again, nothing spectacular but a nice campground.  All in all, I’d give it a 7 on a scale of 1-10.

Monday, 07/25/16

Okay y’all – here’s a destination for your bucket list.  After another short drive (101 miles), we arrived at  Red Lodge MT.  The Red Lodge KOA definitely scores an 8-1/2 in my book – great people and really neat facility overall.  The area where our site was located was pretty wide-open, but they also have sites tucked into more wooded areas and a really nice stream flowing between front and back sections.  The owners just purchased the facility a couple years ago and are investing major funds into it. 

While the KOA is great, that’s not the reason for my destination recommendation.  The town of Red Lodge itself is amazing.  It’s a town of about 2,125 residents that has spectacular year-round offerings (unlike most towns in that part of the world).  They host 26 restaurants (including a brewery/restaurant that is out of this world yummy), lots of quaint shopping (including a Harley Davidson store) and a great little museum. 

BUT, you’ve gotta get OUT of town … and ride the Bear Tooth Pass (Highway 212) and the Chief Joseph Highway!   It is 68 miles of switchbacks that take you from 5,500 above sea level to an elevation of 10,947 and winds between Red Lodge and the Wyoming state line near Yellowstone National Park.  Of the >600 pics I took, I’ve selected a “few” to share.  Kick back and enjoy the ride!

Yes - that's the road we'll be driving on shortly.

What comes down HAD to go up first!  WOW!!

There's that road again ... continuing UP!


The little chipmunks were begging for handouts.

Yes - that's snow/ice!

Throwing snowballs at Carl ... at the end of JULY!

I realize our posts are lagging, but I am going to end this one so I can upload it and the pics while we have decent WiFi.  I’ll leave you to wonder where our wandering takes us next, but will give you a hint:   A*M*A*Z*I*N*G!!