8. More Wild West…

So we took our fifth wheel into the dealer in Billings to get some things fixed.   While it was in the shop, we went to downtown to the Chamber which was voted the number one Chamber for customer service in the Nation.  One of the perks for stopping by is the use of their “Cannondale” bikes free of charge for the day!  After riding the $1000 (approx value of the bike), I wanted one!  The ride is so smooth, because the seat has shock absorbers in it.  

We rode to the Moss Mansion first.  The home was built in 1901 and had a lot of the original artwork and furniture.  The mansion was ahead of its time as far as electricity and other modern conveniences.  For example, it had a secret buzzer for the maids in the floor where the lady of the house could step on to call them without any of her guests knowing.

The Moss Mansion in Billings.

After seeing the mansion, we asked our tour guide at the home what restaurants he liked in Billings.  He recommended “The Burger Dive”.  We rode our bikes over to the restaurant and it was packed (which is a good sign.)  The only space left were two seats at the counter so we took them.  We asked a man behind the counter what his favorite burger was and he recommended the “burger bash winner” burger.  I noticed the Food Network symbol on the menu and he told us that in 2014 that burger was voted the best burger in the Miami food show.  We met his son, the owner and head cook, and spoke with him.  He wanted to know what was the best burger we have ever had.  So we told him that last summer on the Isle of Butte in Scotland, Kelly had an amazing burger at the Kingarth Inn.  This was where his Great Great Grandfather worked as the Inn’s veterinarian for the guests horses.  Everything was made fresh, the cheese, buns and it was grass fed beef.  The owner of the Burger Dive now wants to go there.  HA.

Overlook on ridge path where we rode our loaner bikes.

After lunch, we rode our bikes on a 8 mile loop to Boot Hill Cemetery.  This is where local legends in Billings history are buried.  We had to return the bikes and pick up our fifth wheel at the dealer.  We had trouble “hitching” up so one of their salesman said he would help and jumped into our pickup and pushed our trailer both forward and backwards with the front landing gear down.  We did not think to check it out before leaving the dealership and went on our way to the next KOA.  When we checked the landing gear they would not work, so the next morning we had to head back to the dealer and ask them to fix it again.  We learned a valuable lesson, when in doubt, check it out before moving on!

We still finished in good time so we decided to move on.  Kelly wanted to make sure we made it to the battlefield of Little Bighorn.  As some of you may know, this was a major battle between the Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians against the United States Army.  The tribes were trying to keep the land where they have lived on all their lives, but the Army under President Grant’s administration was instructed to remove the Indians and take away their land so they could live on the reservations.  This is the place where Lt. Colonel died during the battle, (Custer’s last stand.)

The battlefield where Custer died.

We made it to Gillette that night and stayed at a Walmart.  Gillette is a really boring town and the only thing it has going for it is the coal mine.

Gillette Wyoming coal mine truck tire.  Kelly’s sister Linda drives one similar to it in Nevada.

Scoop from coal mine shovel.

We got up early to head to Deadwood South Dakota.  I was really looking forward to it. This historic western town was discovered when Custer led an expedition into the Black Hills and announced the discovery of gold there.  At first, the town was considered the most “lawless town” in the West, but eventually Deadwood lost its rough and rowdy ways and developed into a prosperous town.  We just loved it.  We spent the entire day there.  Some of the things we did:  took a bus tour about the history of the town, went to Kevin Costner’s restaurant and watched a play with a gunfight about Wild Bill’s demise.  

 

Overlooking the town of Deadwood.

Downtown Deadwood.

After saying goodbye to Deadwood we arrived just outside of the city of Custer about dinner time.  We settled into our site at the KOA and planned our next day’s adventure to Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Monument.

Crazy Horse Monument.  Still has a lot to go on it,but it is huge!  It is taller than the Washington Monument and wider than two football fields!  They are already on the third generation of family working on it.  Much bigger than Mount Rushmore.

 Keystone is a former mining town before you get to Mount Rushmore.

The gold rush was started in 1883 but women and children were not allowed until later.

Custer State Park was one of my favorite parks.  Animals everywhere, if you don’t mind sharing the road.  The scenery was beautiful and it was very different than Yellowstone and not crowded!  We saw elk, deer, antelope, rabbits, prairie dogs, red fox and buffalo.

The wild animals were not so wild.

Part of Custer State Park.

The “needles” are jagged rocks that look like they should be on another planet.

We made it to Mount Rushmore!  They have changed some things over the last 32 years!  A new trail to look at different views of the monument, huge gift shop and restaurants.

Say cheese!

The next day would be a travel day for us to Omaha NE.  One the way we had to stop at two landmark places.  The famous Wall Drug and Mitchell’s Corn Palace.  Wall Drug is like an amusement park for truckers and weary travelers.  It has pretty much everything you could ever want and more!

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One of the photo opts at Wall Drug.

Mitchell South Dakota’s Corn Palace.

The Corn Palace is a multi use facility that has murals of corn on the inside and outside.  The designs are only up for a year because eventually they dry our to much and drop off the walls.  A new design is planned each year.  This year was Willy Nelson’s turn.  Now onto Omaha!

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