Got into Four Bears Casino and RV which is located on the MO River and Lake Sakakawea. It looks fairly new and has possibilities, but we are stacked in here like firewood (our bedroom slide is only 2 inches from the RV in back of us). It was hot and muggy (100) so we weren’t in very good moods, plus we ate at the casino which only had a buffet and had the worst food we have had in a while. Bob didn’t even finish his dinner, which is extremely unusual. He will eat ANYTHING. I will digress for a while. We passed a couple of towns that 40 yrs ago I was very familiar with when we were with the Minuteman program. There is a couple I would have liked to re-visit, but we still had a ways to go and I really don’t have many fond memories of ND - mainly 17 days of -37 with wind chill and I had to take the dogs for a walk, plus the heat and humidity and bugs in the summer. Bob had never been here and it is on our way to SD so here we are.
We then headed back to the rig stopping at the Memorial that the tribes have built in recognition of the three tribes, Arikara, Mandan and the Hidatsa. This memorial is very impressive showing the history and accomplishments of the tribes. Got back to the rig. Had to turn off the AC so I could do laundry (only 30 amps and AC takes 29), but it has cooled down a little so not too bad. The casino had Texas Hold-Em tourney tonight so I gave Bob and “kitchen pass” and he took first place!. It only paid out a couple of hundred, but didn’t cost anything to enter..
The weather cooled down a little, but we have had some hellatious thunder storms at night. It is always muggy which we just aren’t used to so the only sight seeing we have done is to go into the town of Parshall which did not have much other than a Rock Museum which was closed. We than ran into Minot, which is still as grubby as I remembered it. Bob is playing poker again tonight and we are leaving in the morning for SD so will write more later.
The trip went well and had time to stop at an RV/Manufactured Home dealer to see what was available. We did find a double wide that I really fell in love with, so with that, on to Hart Ranch. We stayed here last year at this time so was familiar with it. It is huge with all the amenities, but there are so many kids we don’t bother with the pool, etc. This year we are in the meadow, which doesn’t have sewer, but we still have the “porta-potty” and the dump station is really close so not too much of a problem. Fri. we went looking at 5th Wheelers and the one we liked best was the “Montana”, but after checking further we found we owed more than our RV is worth and right now it is not feasible for us the come up with extra money so will keep our RV for a while longer. Mon. we met with a realtor and she gave us some land to look at. We want no less than 10 acres with no covenants so it kind of limits our choices. We found the perfect piece; however, it is just too far from civilization to be feasible. We found one more that is 10 miles from Hot Springs (which is a neat little town) that would do with a little work. Our house won’t close until the end of July so we don’t have to make up our mind right now. She has some others that we will also look at in the next couple of days. Tomorrow is the 4th so the park is jammed and everyone is excited to go to Mt. Rushmore for the fireworks. We did that last year and it was a blast, but very tiring so we will watch it on TV this year.
We had to move up the road to Rushmore Shadow RV Park for the remainder of our stay. It isn’t as nice, but we have full hook-up and it doesn’t cost us anything. If the day is in the 100's we stay put with the AC going. We have gotten to Deadwood, Lead, Keystone, etc. during our land hunting expeditions, but we pretty much explored them last year. There are still a few things we might do, such as taking a tour of Lead and the famous Homestake Mine that we didn’t get to last year.
We did go to The Cosmos where the laws of nature have gone berserk and even though it is perfectly flat you are at an angle when you stand straight. Your equilibrium is entirely off and Bob and I got really dizzy. It is really bizarre. We have had some really awesome thunderstorms, but the worst storms were all around us and there is a fire going where we had looked at some property. The last few days have been cooler, but we have given up on property looking for now. I didn’t think it would be this hard to find something, but a lot of the land is Federal. We may have to give up the 10 acre hunt and go to 5 acres instead, but Bob’s house hasn’t closed yet and we are running out of time so will have wait until we come back after our Wash. visit.
We did get back to Lead (pronounced leed) which is an old historic mining town which was a real boom town in the 1800's. It is still fairly well preserved and has quite a bit to see. Jul 19, 2007 Homestake Mine, Lead, SD
We took the trolley tour of the town and the Homestake Mine, which was the largest gold mine and didn’t cease operation until 1998. They really took care of their workers and built the whole town for them. Even the highschool has marble floors and several gyms, but they don’t have as many students they had when the mine was going full time. It was really an interesting tour, plus I got lunch and dinner out which always makes it a good day.
We also passed Lake Sheridan which was a very small man made lake also. It is strictly a fishing lake but kind of pretty and right beside the highway so it is easy access. After that we headed back to the rig after a long day. The other night was bizarre even for us. I had gone back to the bed to do my physical therapy exercises (yes, I am still doing them) and I kept hearing a beep every few minutes, but didn’t let it bother me and decided Bob could deal with it. He finally came back (after making sure I did my exercises). It drove him crazy and after an hour of checking everything that had a battery in it he almost gave up when he finally put the shorts (not the underwear kind - the outer kind) next to him and they beeped. He forgot he had the phone in his pocket and it beeps when there is an unheard message. I laughed so hard I put my rib back out, but it was worth it.
Left Rapid City with no problems and had beautiful scenery through Spearfish (we didn’t get time to check for property there) and Eastern Wyoming. Central WY is miles and miles of rolling cattle and sagebrush land, but the roads were fairly good. We pulled into The Lake Stop Resort (Northwest of Buffalo WY)in the early afternoon. It is right on Lake DeSmet, which is a pretty lake, but has no vegetation around it so is very barren looking. Of course, we had some more lightning and thunder. The RV park itself is also pretty barren, but has a café, bar, boats, pool, motel, full hookups and is in the middle of nowhere. Most of the rigs here belong to construction workers. It was hot, muggy and, of course, had our ususal afternoon thunderstorm. I remember years ago (40+) when we camped in WY it rained every afternoon
It was a fairly short drive to the 7th Ranch RV Resort in Garryowen, MT so got there in early afternoon. Garryowen is where the Battle of the Little Bighorn happened and the town is named after the Irish tune the 7th Calvary sang on the way to battle. Today Garryowen is privately owned, but we only had time to tour the battlefield so didn’t get into town itself. The campground itself was nice and had corrals and stables, but was located on the side of a barren hill and it was 100+ out. Our AC doesn’t do well against that kind of heat unless it has run since early am. They have a small café in the gift shop so we had lunch there before going to the visitor’s center, which had limited, but very tasty food. Bob likes fried bread so was in 7th heaven. I am not much of a bread eater so wasn’t really enthused about it.
We had a very enlightening talk from the ranger and then did the auto tour of the battlefield. About all there was were markers of all the identified soldiers and Indians. The terrain was all barren rolling hills, but from the rangers talk you could really visualize the battles so turned out to be fairly interesting. I can’t take the heat at all so I stayed in the car while Bob got out and took pictures. The best part was when we came across a herd of horses along the road and the colts\ were back and forth so, of course, had to slow down and/or stop at times. We got a lot of great pictures. They had a casino so decided to have dinner there. It was very grubby and only had a snack bar so we went back the little café as there wasn’t anywhere else to eat. We did go back to casino to play some slots and if we had cashed in we would have come out ahead, but ended up losing our $10. They did have a KFC at the local gas station so I decided I had gone long enough without my chicken and miracles of all miracles this one had my Hot Wings so I had to order a bunch. I was in my glory and forgot all about being miserable from the heat. I could never live in this kind of country again. In fact, I was seriously considering moving back to Alaska (still am). I remember years ago when we got transferred from ND to CA we hit a blizzard through WY and halfway up a hill we lost traction and the boat we were pulling started pulling us backwards. It was very nerve wracking trying the turn around. We were in ND again later and got transferred to UT. We again hit a blizzard going thru WY and we only made 50 miles in 8 hrs. I noticed some of the attractions were open in the winter so I asked about their winters and they haven’t had any snow is a couple of years! All through WY abought every 50 miles is a warning that if the warning light is blinking the highway is closed and to go back to whatever town you just passed. This just blew my mind (what is left of it). The weather all over is just going crazy.
The journey to White Sulpher Springs, MT was hot, but uneventful. Southern MT has the same terrain as WY, with only exception of Sheridan WY which is located in a valley with trees and is actually very pretty. The best point is that we found gas for under $3 in MT so may be able to afford to eat out again soon. Our RV park in White Sulphur Springs, MT is out in the open again, but, at least, it is only in the high 80's so is bearable.
While I was doing this letter, Bob went to see the town (he said don’t blink), It is a pretty grubby little town with about two blocks of town and nothing more. Don't know where they do they shopping because we sure didn't see and supermarkets, not even a WalMart.
However, there was an antique car show so he stopped to see that. We will be here 2 days, but there is stuff to see close by. That night (around 1 am) a huge party with amicrophone and lots of singing started in and in that type of terrain it was loud and clear. They finally stopped around 2, but I never did get back to sleep. It turned out it was a bunch from the car show at the local roadhouse. After seeing the town the next day I can understand. It is really grubby with no redeeming value except it has a mineral spa.
The next day we took a scenic drive on the King's Hill Scenic Highway 78 through the Little Belt Mts., which used to be my old camping grounds (again, 40+ yrs ago). It is a very pretty range in the Lewis & Clark Forrest and we stopped at Showdown Ski Resort, which used to be King’s Hill and only had one rope tow back then, but is now huge. We stopped at Memorial Falls trailhead, but it was just too hot and too long a walk for me so Bob hiked it and took pictures for me. We went through Neihart which is supposed to be a quaint town, but was just another rundown junky place. Monarch was a little better and we stopped at Cub’s Den there for lunch. I still vaguely remember it from the old days. As soon as we got through the mountains we were right back into wheat country, but we did come across what they call “The Sluice Box” - a tree lined canyon whose cliffs resembled a sluice box to the old timers. It was really quite interesting. We were going to do some more sightseeing, but it was just too hot and we just crashed for the rest of the day.
Our next destination is Glacier Park and went through Great Falls. I lived there twice in the early 60's and mid 70's and really loved it. It has really grown, of course, and not for the better, but I managed to recognize parts of it. It has a lot of mini casinos and not nearly as pretty. We stopped in Fairfield for lunch at a very attractive café that was owned by the mennonites. I was very surprised, but it really had good food and great service with the ladies in the long, plain dresses and little caps on their heads. Bob had planned on spending the night in Choteau, but didn’t realize it was in the plains and we got there early so decided to keep going. Just before Great Falls and all the way into Alberta Canada is nothing but wide open wheat fields and the temps were in the 100's. We ended up going on into Kalispell to the Rocky Mountain “Hi” RV Park, which is really nice, but still in the 100's. Later we finally had a rousing thunderstorm so finally cooled down. I lost TV, of course, but the cooler temp is worth it.
Got up earlier than usual (meaning me) to get on the road to Glacier National Park. We went in the West Glacier entrance to “Going To The Sun Hwy”. Bob has never been to Glacier before and when I lived in Great Falls the second time we went every year, but never got tired of it, so I was really looking forward to seeing it again. Going West to East the first lake is McDonald Lake (extremely beautiful), then climbing upwards towards the peaks which are undescribable. The road is very narrow (built 75 yrs ago) and a rain/snow storm 2 yrs. ago destroyed parts of it so they are still doing repair work. You can’t take a vehicle more than 21' long and 10' wide, including mirrors, which in the 70's our MH barely fit the requirements. Crawling up the road I could put my hand out the window and touch the cliffs. Anyway, it is still as awesome and still one of the most fabulous sights ever. At one point the cliffs become a meadow and we were able to see some Mountain Goats and a Marmot. A lot of the glaciers are gone, but there is still one that can be seen from the road.
On the East end is St. Mary’s Lake which is also totally awesome. The scenery on this tour is so awesome, unless you have been here you can’t imagine it. The East exit comes out on the Blackfoot reservation and getting back to Hwy 2 towards Kalispell we had to go over another smaller mtn pass which actually was also impressive. Hwy. 2 skirts the lower end of Glacier so is still in mtn. type surroundings and travels along one of the forks of the Flathead River that is also beautiful in itself. I totally love this area and am considering contacting the Blackfoot Nation to see if they will adopt a 1/16th Colville Indian.