Day 10: Devils Tower & Deadwood, SD

Good Morning Friends!

After all the fun on the road yesterday, we slept in this morning and didn’t leave the hotel until (gasp!) 10:30!! We are headed to Deadwood, South Dakota today with a few sights along the way.

Paul and I have been fortunate to have visited South Dakota years ago so we don’t feel compelled to “redo” some of the places there that we would normally stop at. Just so you know, if you travel there, be sure to go to Mt Rushmore, Crazy Horse, the Badlands, the Black Hills, etc.

Ok. On the road again. I haven’t mentioned the dry air yet. For a girl born and raised in South Louisiana’s humidity this is quite different! On the plus side, my hair has never been so straight and frizz-free. Negatives-dry skin, dry sinuses, just overall DRYNESS. So we try to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. Which also means plenty of “stops”. Just outside of Billings we spy a rest area and decide to take advantage of the facilities. This is the sign we saw there.

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I don’t need to go so bad after all. 😳

We stopped for lunch in Sheridan, WY at the Visitor Center. Check out our view!

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The sky really is this blue!

There are so many antelope along the road today. These two were just waiting to have their picture taken.

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Time to get off the interstate and hit the back roads…

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I said earlier that we weren’t going to repeat things well… some things just can’t be passed up! Like Devils Tower National Monument.

You get off the interstate and first the landscape looks like this:

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Then it changes to this:

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Then suddenly you round a curve and see something in the distance:

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Devils Tower is huge! It was an important landmark for Plains Indians. There are several legends that describe the origin of Devils Tower. My favorite is the one that tells about seven little girls being chased onto a low rock to escape from attacking bears, the claws of the leaping bears left marks in the sides of the rock as it was growing toward the sky. The girls prayers had been answered! But the rock grew so high that the girls reached the sky where they were changed into the constellation Pleiades (Seven Sisters).

The tower is 1267 feet tall and 1 mile around. It was formed as a result of magma being forced up from the surface of the Earth where it cooled and hardened. Ancient rivers washed away about 1.5 miles of softer layers around the Tower. Erosion is still wearing away the igneous rock of Devils Tower.

The first documented white men saw Devil’s Tower in 1859. Wonder what they thought!

Here are a few pictures:

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Who are these old people?

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Devils Tower National Monument

There were tons of wildlife along the road! This one posed so cute for me.

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Gotta love riding on the back roads!

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We just happened to see this 123 year old General Store in Aladdin, WY. It looked so intriguing we had to check it out. Snacks, drinks, liquor, tshirts, clothing, old stuff, you name it they had it. We even checked out the upstairs which I don’t mind telling you creaked ALOT and kind of freaked me out. Somebody is going to fall through the floor up there one day, just glad it wasn’t me. It really was an interesting place and is for sale if you’re interested. (But I think liability insurance is probably out of the question. 😁)

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Aladdin General Store, Aladdin, Wyoming, established 1890

Now to Spearfish Canyon. Such a beautiful remote little canyon. We loved it!

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Bridal Veil Falls, Spearfish Canyon, South Dakota

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Almost in Lead, SD and look what we saw!

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It isn’t everyday you see Lincoln on the side of the road!

We have arrived in Deadwood, SD.

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Looks like they want to be a little Vegas in the mountains with all the casinos. Paul and I got a bite for dinner and headed to the hotel.

Tomorrow is another day!

Day 9: Red Lodge, MT & The Beartooth Highway

Paul and I had an early wake up call this morning but got LOTS done! I can’t wait to share today with y’all.

First stop, church! We went to the 8am Mass at St. Patrick’s here in Billings. A beautiful church and such a welcoming Parish. The greeter asked where we were from and then went on to talk Tiger football and invite us to coffee and donuts after church. Very sweet!

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St. Patrick’s Co-Cathedral, Billings, MT

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Driving out of town we couldn’t help but notice this beauty.

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Moss Mansion, Billings

The Moss Mansion was built in 1903 and only lived in by the Moss Family until 1984. If you tour it you can see the original furniture, draperies, carpets and fixtures from the turn of the century. I love it when history is preserved for the future!

We struck out toward The Beartooth Highway for today’s adventure. Check out what we saw in Rockvale, MT.

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The beginning of The Beartooth Highway is Red Lodge, MT. First a short history: In Sept 1851, the U.S. government signed a treaty with the Crow Nation giving them the area which includes Red Lodge. But whoops, coal was found there in 1866 and gold nearby in 1870 so guess what? “Excuse me but we want that land back”. A new treaty in 1880 allowed the area to be given to settlers. Imagine that! Here are a few pictures from Red Lodge.

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Red Lodge train depot

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Red Lodge Cafe, our brunch choice…delicious!!

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Carnegie Library, Red Lodge, MT

It makes me smile every time I see a Carnegie library! For those of you not familiar there are a total of 2,509 Carnegie libraries in the world! These libraries were built with money donated by Andrew Carnegie, a Scottish-American businessman who made his wealth in the steel industry. Books were very important to Carnegie. At one of his first jobs he was allowed to borrow books from his boss who opened his personal library to his workers every Saturday. Carnegie later credited this employer “with providing working boys an opportunity to acquire knowledge to improve themselves”. Carnegie believed in giving to “industrious and ambitious; not those who need everything done for them, but those who, being most anxious and able to help themselves, deserve and will be benefited by help from others.” Sounds like my kind of guy! To receive a grant for a library, a community had to to make a financial commitment to the project. In other words, they had to have a dog in the hunt. Hardly any request for a grant was denied. Carnegie libraries were built in the United States, Britain, Ireland, Canada, Australia,New Zealand, Serbia, the Caribbean, Mauritius and Fiji. Jennings, Louisiana, where Paul was born, has a Carnegie library! Wow, what a legacy!

Back to Red Lodge: Tradition has it a band of Crow Indians left the main tribe and moved to this area. They painted the council tepee with red clay, hence the name “Red Lodge”. (Neat since we are visiting from “Red Stick”!) There have been recent finds that lead scientists to believe that prehistoric man existed in this area several million years ago. The local residents say they don’t know what to believe but if people were around that long ago, of course they would pic Montana as the place to be! 😄

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And now we begin… The Beartooth Highway!

Wait. Gotta make a stop first…

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Yes, they have potties in the wilderness. No, I don’t know (or care) where it goes. Note to self: don’t drink so much water.

The Beartooth Highway

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Paul made a friend today!

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Does it get any better? Listening to the Saints game in 38 degrees! Who Dat!

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Oh no! Not again!

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Norma, this is just for you!

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Cooke City, MT is the end of the Beartooth but what a precious little town! We stopped in the Visitor’s Center and visited with the sweetest girl who was manning the desk. She had been raised here (only 100 full-time reaidents) and went to a one-room schoolhouse for grade K-8! And she LOVED it!! Wow!

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They had an old miner’s cabin set up behind the visitor’s center.

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Look who we saw at the edge of town!

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We did continue forward for the last few miles just to take this picture. I wanted you to know that The Beartooth Highway ends at the Northeast Entrance to Yellowstone! We’ve been there and it’s FABULOUS!

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Back to Billings (and a soft bed) via the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway.

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After dinner we saw this rainbow.

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A perfect end to a perfect day!

Until tomorrow…