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 3: Billings, MT

Woke up in Cheyenne, WY to heavy fog! We decided to give it a little time to burn off and enjoy a leisurely “free” breakfast at the hotel. (Gotta love a free breakfast!) we did make an interesting observation as we looked around at the other travelers… we are on the bottom left edge of the age bell curve. We felt like rookies among seasoned professionals. (I must admit it was kind of fun watching them try to read my “Geaux Tigers” Tshirt!)

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On the road again. 51 degrees, I’m not complaining!

Not too long down the road the sun came out, along with this beautiful rainbow.
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First stop, Douglas, WY, to see the World’s Largest Jackalope.

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Douglas also boasts of being the home of the “former” World’s Largest Jackalope but we didn’t go see it. I mean really, who remembers Miss Runner-up?

A few miles out of Douglas we went to see Ft. Fetterman. this fort was completed in 1867 and named for Captain William Fetterman. (More about him later!) Ft. Fetterman was not a very popular outpost. Harsh winters, soil no good for gardens so all supplies had to be brought in, and a lack of, shall we say, “female companionship”. The latter problem was remedied by the opening of a “Hog Ranch” across the river where the soldiers could find gambling, alcohol, and you guessed it, “female companionship”. Even with entertainment available the fort didn’t make it. It was abandoned in 1882.
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The gate was closed and locked so we just walked up to view the site of the former fort.

We drove on to Casper, WY and stopped for a picnic lunch in the car. Even my sandwich tasted better with such a beautiful view!

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Just south of Sheridan, WY there is a monument to remember the Fetterman Massacre. Remember Captain Fetterman? Well on December 21, 1866 Captain William Fetterman was lured into an ambush. He had once boasted that he could ride through the entire Sioux nation with 80 soldiers but on that day in December 1866 he met an overwhelming group of warriors and was killed along with (who guessed it?) exactly 80 men. They were lured over a ridge by a young warrior named Crazy Horse. Maybe you’ve heard of him. This event happened about 10 years before Little Big Horn (Custer’s Last Stand) a larger, more infamous massacre.

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And now…

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The Great State of Montana!

One of the highlights of the trip…

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Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
On June 25, 1876, General George A. Custer died fighting at Little Big Horn along with 262 troopers in the U.S. Army’s 7th Cavalry. Known as “Custer’s Last Stand”, it was an overwhelming victory for the Native Americans who were led by several leaders including Crazy Horse.

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The markers show where each soldier fell. The officer's bodies were sent back East (Custer is buried at West Point) and the rest are in a mass grave under the large monument.

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Word of the massacre reached the East as America was celebrating the Centennial. The Battle of the Little Bighorn was a short-lived victory for the Native Americans. Federal troops soon poured into the Black Hills and many Native Americans surrendered. One article I read said that there are only three things known about the battle: Custer came, Custer saw, and Custer got his *** whipped.

It is a beautiful site and the interpreters here do a wonderful job.

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There is also a National Cemetery on the grounds.

We drove on to Billings, MT, (go ahead, break out those old maps… it’s WAY up there!) had a nice dinner and ready to hit the sack. Tomorrow is another day!

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They warned us their food is spicy. They don’t KNOW spicy!