Friday, June 19, 2009

Great Falls, MT

Well, I am guilty of a major tactical error. I have not been keeping daily notes, assuming that I would well-remember the events of the past week. This is somewhat akin to the oft-proven fallacy of placing unlabeled packages into a deep freezer. Nonetheless, I do remember a lot of the past eight days, but, I must confess, imperfectly.

Most happily, I report that grandson, Hiser, is, if not fully recovered, at home and “eating macaroni, cheese and wieners”. His full recovery is just a matter of time.

Traveling due north from Cabela's in Sidney, we visited Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. It is a very impressive place, but too many people. On the other hand, the ice cream was great! We camped that night at Spearfish, South Dakota, in their city-run RV park. It is located on the grounds of a no-longer-working fish hatchery. There are still plenty of fish in the adjoining ponds.

The next morning, we arrived at the site of the Battle of the Little Big Horn. My history lessons said that a week prior to that infamous battle, at a nearby location, was the Battle of the Rosebud. Militarily, it was significant for what happened to Custer a week later. We were unable to actually visit that battlefield because of a huge thunderstorm (and I thought the West was dry). However, we were at the location of Custer's Last Stand exactly 133 years after the Rosebud fight. We toured the site, listened to the Ranger's informative talk, and absorbed the solemnity of the place, then we moved on to camp at Hardin, Montana.

We went to bed to the sound of gentle rain...and awoke the next morning to the same sound.

Sadly, we parted company with Bob and Sallie the next morning (Thursday). We said our good-byes in Billings, MT, in the parking lot of the newest Cabela's store. So Brenda and I have shopped in Cabela's oldest and newest stores (and a couple in between, too). Our separation from the Coopers will be short-lived. They went on to visit an old friend further up the trail.

Brenda and I are in the FamCamp at Malmstrom AFB. Our drive to Great Falls, Montana, was in rain for the first few hours. Then, the clouds vanished to reveal the Big Sky of Montana. This is some of the most awe-inspiring country I have ever seen. After leaving the rough barren ground west of the Black Hills, the verdant rolling hills, as we approached Great Falls, made driving dangerous because of my rubber-necking to look at all the terrain. We saw numerous antelope, one doe Mule deer, and several birds I have yet to identify.

We will rest an extra day here, then rejoin Bob and Sallie to cross into Canada on Saturday, June 20.

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