Day 4 - Billings, MT
|Wednesday, August 16, 2023: We woke to the sounds of a woodpecker boring into the trees near us. They should offer that sound for alarm clocks. It was a wonderful way to wake up.
|By 7:30 AM, we were loaded up and driving away. It's hard to believe that the cave for which Wind Cave National Park is named is right under this field. Also, check out all of the prairie dogs.
|Here are two. So adorable.
|We headed northwest out of the park and drove through the Black Hills National Forest.
|The rock formations in this part of the country are absolutely stunning.
|When we reached the town of Pringle, South Dakota, we saw this gigantic stack of bicycles. Is it an art display, or is it just where everyone puts their bikes after they no longer want them? Hmmm.
|Those are the Black Hills behind the town of Custer, South Dakota.
|As soon as we entered Custer, we started seeing these bison statues.
|They were on almost every street corner, ...
|... and on both sides of the street.
|We both oooh'd and aahhh'd over this one showing the skeleton of a bison.
|We drove the entire length of the town snapping photos.
|This one showed a lone biker leaving town on this side, ...
|... and showed the town full of bikers on the other side.
|We decided to stop for breakfast at this food truck which was serving Mexican food.
|When we had our food, we walked to a shaded area containing picnic tables behind the food truck next to the VFW hall.
|We ordered a sausage burrito with potatoes for Debbie, and a bacon, bean, and potato burrito for Tom. Both were very yummy.
|Back to the bison.
|We really liked this one with goats all over it.
|This one had the silhouette of a man and a dog, ...
|... and this one had horses.
|Well done, Custer. Five stars.
|Here are those gorgeous rock formations again. There's a nice house, a lawn, and then BAM! Huge rocks.
|Quite by accident, we drove right through Jewel Cave National Monument on our way out of Custer.
|The scenery in western South Dakota was beautiful. There were rolling meadows and then these beautiful rock formations. Who knew that South Dakota had grass?
|Such a beautiful day!
|Just before 9 AM, we reached the eastern border of Wyoming.
|That's an airplane fuselage! You don't see that every day.
|We made a brief pitstop in Upton, which declared itself to be the Best Town on Earth. Bold words!
|No more than five minutes after Tom said that he hadn't seen any deer or pronghorn this morning, we passed this pronghorn and a couple others just like it in a field.
|In Moorcroft, Wyoming, we saw this longhorn cattle statue that certainly looked like it was once part of a statues on parade collection. Unfortunately, this was the only one we saw.
|Just before noon, we stopped at the Welcome Center in Sheridan, Wyoming. They had one of those giant relief maps of the area that we like so much.
|We picked up brochures for all of the Auto Tour routes that we always see when we are out west. The Oregon Trail one should come in handy at some point on this trip.
|We drove into Sheridan to see the Sheridan Inn National Historic Landmark. It was built in 1893, and was the home of Buffalo Bill.
|Welcome to Montana!
|Just after 2 PM, we arrived at Carbone's Pizzeria in Billings, Montana, a favorite stop of ours.
|It sure is strange to see all of the Minnesota memorabilia on the walls on a restaurant in Montana. Comforting, but strange.
|Ah, the joy of a freshly baked Carbone's pizza.
|Is that a mint patty vending machine?? Could it be Pearson's?
|No, but they were a very close approximation on the label, and they were different but delicious on the inside.
|We headed back across town to the Billings KOA Holiday.
|Tom parked the van while Debbie went inside to register.
|We had tent site #3, and after we got set up, we headed out to explore the place.
|Our first stop was the bathrooms, which we were delighted to see were individual, private bathrooms with showers. Such luxury!
|We started a load of laundry, ...
|... and noticed a plaque that identified this KOA location as the very first one ever. How cool is that?
|We walked through the campground, checking out the pool but deciding against going for a swim. Instead, we went looking for a way to get down to the river, and this break in the wall around the campground looked like a promising place to try.
|Score! That's the Yellowstone River looking downstream, ...
|... and upstream.
|Debbie thinks that Tom stands like he owns the place.
|This was definitely the nicest KOA that we've ever stayed at. They even had a mini-golf course complete with a steamboat.
|Hah! Neither one of us had seen this when we checked in.
|While we were sitting in the tent and relaxing, Debbie got a text from the KOA saying that they would be serving ice cream starting at 6:30 PM. That sounds like a great idea!
|Tom got a sugar cone with cookies and cream, and Debbie got one with Moose Tracks.
|Since the bathrooms were individual rather than grouped by sex, we were able to share a shower together. It was nice to cool off and feel clean again.
|As the sun set, we enjoyed high-speed internet from our Starlink as we relaxed and finished watching season two of "The Masked Singer."
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy