Saturday, May 11, 2013

Day Five - Billings MT to Missoula MT

Good morning beautiful blue Montana morning sky!

Energized by a hearty breakfast, we started the last leg of our l-o-n-g drive to Missoula.

Victoria says she may have found her beautiful Montana ranch she's been pining for. What a spot!

Captain William Clark apparently thought so many years ago. He and his group, Sacagawea among them, set up camp here.

The beauty of the distant snow peaked mountains, the spring-green high plains, the winding Yellowstone and Clark Fork Rivers made the five-hour drive rom Billings to Missoula go by rather quickly.

Once we arrived in Missoula, we decided to hike the "M" on Sentinel Mountain, a University of Montana tradition. We made it up and down safe and sound.

Another soak in the hot tub and then lights out early since Victoria has a full day of class Saturday. That is the "real" reason for this trip after all.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Day Four - Keystone SD to Billings MT

Like I mentioned yesterday, the view to begin Thursday morning was awesome.

The first goal for Thursday:­­ walk the presidential trail at Mt. Rushmore and get as close as possible to the colossal faces of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln. Mission accomplished!

Did you know that Washington’s stone-carved nose is 21-ft long? The other three presidential proboscises are a foot shorter...just in case you were wondering.

What Gutzon Borglum and his workers blasted and carved into the granite face of Mt. Rushmore most certainly displays the power of vision and determination.

Beautiful forests and lake-side scenes rounded out the rest of our drive through Black Hills National Forest. Places like Deadwood (and more trivia) now take a place in my memory’s data bank. A quick drive through Sturgis SD, and we were back on I-90 heading to the high plains of Wyoming.

The rain started as we drove into Wyoming and that just added to the sense of desolation as we drove. Talk about un-populated areas! At times I found myself thinking of science-fiction movies depicting an abandoned planet.

We finally made it to Montana, driving into Crow territory. Beautiful hills where the deer still roam. Instead of buffalo, however, we saw cattle.

Once we reached Billings MT another hot tub was waiting to sooth our tired bodies. Friday will be our final travel day to Missoula MT.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Day Three - Mitchell SD to Keystone SD

As I write this I can look up and see the unbelievable view of the north side of Mt Rushmore glowing in the rising sun. But I'm getting ahead of myself....

Wednesday started In Mitchell SD as a sad and rainy day but then turned spring blue as we drove west on I-90.

Our first side trip was the Badlands National Park where Victoria got shutter-happy.

God did some awesome work when he carved the Black Hills and set the forces of nature loose on them.

Of course, one cannot drive through Badlands National Park and not stop at Wall Drug in Wall SD.

Who knew that “Nickel Coffee” (5 cents) and “free ice water” would be the magic formula to draw people from all over the world to this drug store in the middle of nowhere?

We ended our day in the little historic town of Keystone SD. Buffalo burger, ice cream, a nice hike rounded out our day. We were back inside by sunset, before the mountain lions started their prowling, according to the locals.

We literally stayed in the shadow of Mount Rushmore at the K Bar S Lodge. We just could not have asked for a better view from our room.