Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Things we almost did...

Driving through the Black Hills...
The black rock of the Black Hills...
Fall in evidence...
Pactola Lake and Dam...

After some debate, and consideration of driving time required to get to Billings that day, we decided to skip the Crazy Horse Monument, and take Highway 385 through the Black Hills. It was a lovely drive, beautiful country -- Yellow aspens? alders? interspersed in the pines, and the black rock that makes the Black Hills was evident. Tidy ranches tucked in between the rolling hills...Sheridan and Pactola lakes shining blue in the sun...We really enjoyed that drive.

385 brought us through Deadwood. Dad said, "You'll be surprised what kind of town Deadwood is..." and he was right. I expected some ramshackle little cowtown, with grayed wood siding on sagging farm houses...and a tourist saloon or something. Instead, there were many brick buildings, ornate and tall. Apparently, some days past, Deadwood was a town of some significance. Still small for population, it winds through a narrow valley, and must thrive now because of tourism. There are way too many hotels for the number of people said to live there! If we'd had more time, it would have been fun to explore, and learn some history. All I know from the signs is that Wild Bill Hickok is buried there...I'm not sure thousands would come to see that...though I would have liked to have seen it...But we were pushing on...
Deadwood -- downtown...

I wasn't lying about Wild Bill's grave...


We returned to I-90 at Spearfish and soon were working our way through Wyoming...state of oil wells and repetitive scenery -- except for the Devil's Tower which we desired to stop and see...However -- when we finally got some accurate info about how long that loop of road would take, it was much too much (2hrs.) so we had to content ourselves with a distant view from I-90, which Mom PROMISED we would have. As we rolled around turn after turn, and no Tower in sight, we began to doubt her -- but she stuck to her guns, and she was right! Just a little further on, we could see it standing tall in the distance.

Though we had been disappointed to eliminate some of our desired stops, we determined that we WOULD take the time to go to Little Big Horn -- site of Custer's Last Stand. Along the way, we kind of lost track of our gas tank's capacity, and were unaware that there were only little towns left along the road until our destination. We went past a few signs for towns that were miles from the highway when Mom thought she remembered that Lodge Grass was close to I-90 and probably big enough to have a gas station.

We exited at Lodge Grass to find a reservation town...run-down, depressed, and not used to having visitors off the freeway. -- You could tell by the looks we got from...EVERYONE! The only gas station we could find had steel grates over every door and window, no paving around the gas pumps -- lots of wet potholes instead. People were busy gassing up beat-up cars and trucks, gas cans, motorcycles...We weren't feeling too sure that we should be there -- but we didn't know where the next station might be, and we knew we didn't have enough to get to Billings...So Randy started pumping, then discovered that it was $4/gal! We put in enough to get to Billings and got back to the freeway, deciding to keep an eye on the credit card statement, just in case! We left with thankfulness for our town, and our homes -- and some sorrow for the depressing conditions in which some people live.
We were now getting close to Little Big Horn, but the miles that day seemed to be taking long -- and by the time we got there it was almost 6pm -- closing time...So, once again, we saw it from a distance...I could see the fence around the graveyard, and the hill on which it lay...It gave me some perspective to imagine how the ambush took place...from a distance.
Oh -- that was a long day of driving! We did finally reach our goal of Billings, quickly got a hotel and some supper. On our way back to our hotel, Mom's phone unexpectedly rang -- We had no cell service in all of South Dakota and Montana, and Mom's was sporadic. That night it held up just long enough for Cait to call and report to Grandpa that one of his horses colicked badly that day. Cait had to call the vet out, and then they had to make the decision to put her down. Fortunately, it was very clear cut. Wendy was suffering, and would not get well -- so you do the humane thing. Cait had no doubts about the decision...She was just worried about telling her grandpa that one of his horses was gone. Of course, Grandpa and Grandma were more concerned about her having to deal with it than their feelings of loss...But Cait is a "horse-person" and she was actually the best person to handle that situation. Still kind of a surprise that one of the horses that Dad has had for years, would be gone when he comes home...When we were done talking to Cait, Mom's cell service disappeared again. We decided that God took care of Cait by letting her get through to us that night.

No comments:

About Me

Needing an outlet for various thoughts rattling in my head, I've created two blogs -- One about my real life (leslieisverbose.blogspot.com) and one where I can vent. (leslievents.blogspot.com)