We’re Underbilled in Billings

July 31 – August 1, 2017 Billings Village RV Park

Not much to say about this stop. We ended up staying two nights so that we could walk the Rim Rocks Trail. We started near the river and walked up to the trail that overlooks the city. As you can see in the second picture, parts of the trail overlooked industrial sections of town but the very top had lovely views – except for the smoky haze. (We had a lot of haze in Montana and Idaho from fires.)

Things were really crazy when we checked in and the owner only charged us for one night. Since the RV backup was out into the street (literally) and we weren’t really committed to staying more than a day, I let it go. We ended up sticking around to do the walk. It dawned on me as we were leaving that we owed the campground money. (They kept really limited hours.) I got a return call later but the owners didn’t want to take our credit card over the phone and we were already in Butte. Hence the title of this post! The owner was very appreciative that we had made the effort to set things right and let the bill go. 

I really need to also write about our stop at the Little Bighorn National Monument. It was hot and crowded but I can’t tell you how great the Ranger was that gave a Program on the patio about the battle. He was amazing! The story came to life. There isn’t a lot to see at the site – grave markers and memorials but hearing his telling of the battle made the stop more than worthwhile. 

Next stop: Butte, MT


Devils Tower National Monument

July 30, 2017 Mountain View Campground

We made a quick stop outside of Sundance, WY with the plan to visit Devils Tower National Monument. Rather than waiting until the morning, we headed right out in the afternoon. That was a great decision! There were still a lot of people when we first arrived but they soon cleared out and we had the trail to ourselves. 

We ended up on the back side of the Tower at sunset. 

We stayed for a Ranger Program in the campground and learned a bunch of stuff about the geology and even more about climbing the tower. The craziest thing is that they climb it at night! 

I’m trying to catch up on posts so they will be short and sweet for a while!

Next stop: Billings, MT

Badlands National Park

July 27-29, 2017

We had previously visited the Badlands but only from the road! This time we had the opportunity to get on to a trail before getting back on the road. 

Our first day, we did several short hikes, including out to The Notch Trail which had the absolute best set of stairs.

The views from the Scenic Drive were great, too.

There were bighorn sheep and prairie dogs.

The views were fabulous, even if you didn’t get far off the road. 

We got up early and made it on to the Castle Trail before it got hot. The early rise was totally worth it!

Next stop: Devils Tower National Monument

Pipestone National Monument

July 25-26, 2017

As you can see from the date, I’ve gotten behind on blog posts. Honestly, we are going through a little travel fatigue and that means blogging fatigue as well. We’ve been on the road since May 26th, driven 4379 miles, and stayed at 26 different places. We can’t really turn back towards home at this point – we have reservations in Yellowstone for the end of August and we both would really like to see Crater Lake National Park and Pinnacles National Park. That will take us until probably around mid-September and then there is 3,000 miles to get home.

So, to help with the fatigue, we opted for a couple of do-nothing days. Camping in this area has been pretty tough (aka expensive and limited) – we are on the route to Yellowstone and Glacier, along I-90. We ended up in Butte, MT at the KOA. I spent one whole day sewing and another day sewing after a short walk. Yesterday, we walked 12 miles. We are leaving today for Idaho where we take another “down” day in Idaho Falls.

Now, back to July … and Pipestone National Monument. You can follow the link and read all about this interesting place where the Native Americans have been quarrying the red rock they use to make pipes for ages (and still do today.) There was a nice nature trail through the quarries and a lovely little museum with Native Americans shaping the stone in person.

On our way to Pipestone, we stopped at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD. They change the corn murals each year for a different theme and this year was Music. Who could pass up a picture of Willy Nelson or Elvis made out of corn?

They had the largest gift shop set up for the summer on the basketball court inside the building … 

Alan got to grind some corn the old fashioned way:

We haven’t necessarily been doing long driving days but we have been trying to make a few stops and get out for a little walk. Corn Palace was one and we also checked out the giant Indian woman statue with a Star Quilt. Even if we weren’t ready for a stop, we wouldn’t have passed up a 50-foot tall roadside attraction!

Oh, I almost forgot … We were entertained by a rafter of turkeys at Pipestone as we were leaving. I haven’t edited the video so you will just have to trust me that it was hysterical when this bunch gobbled on their way to cross the road and block traffic.

I did also find some cool old stone stairs on the nature trail in Pipestone.

Next Stop: Badlands National Park