Day 5 - More Presidents, Devil's Tower, & Montana

Trip Start Jul 22, 2011
Trip End Aug 15, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Montana
Tuesday, July 26, 2011

We managed to get out by 7.30am today, which wasn't bad going. We said a happy goodbye to La Quinta and it’s rubbish breakfasts, and set off on our journey to Billings, Montana for our next hotel stop.

We called into Downtown Rapid City in order to see the Presidents. Not content with seeing the 4 faces on Mount Rushmore, we needed more Presidents, and luckily Rapid City is known as the City of Presidents, due to the 42 life sized bronze sculptures on every corner block of Downtown. We decided which ones we wanted a photo with. Lyndon chose his namesake Lyndon B. Johnson. Tegz chose Abe Lincoln, and caused traffic to hoot when she sat on his lap for her photo. Ci chose JFK, and Io chose Truman who was sporting a snazzy pair of green star shaped shades and George W. Bush. I had a dilemma, and greedily chose 2; Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, although I would like to stress that I did not have sexual relations with that man!

We (Lyn!) drove out of Rapid City and headed through Spearfish to the Wyoming border. We stopped off at the little town of Sundance, and Lyn grabbed a coffee. Of course we had to pose for a photo with the Sundance Kid!

We soon crossed the state line into Wyoming. It was sad to say goodbye to South Dakota, as we’ve really enjoyed it here; there’s loads to do. Maybe we’ll be back one day......

It is our second visit to Wyoming, as we’d visited the North West corner to visit Yellowstone two years ago, but this time we detoured to take in Devil’s Tower National Monument, made famous by the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and more recently, Paul. We didn’t see any aliens today, but Lyn managed to wind us up by whistling the 5 famous Close Encounter notes continuously. Those who’ve seen the film will know what I’m talking about....maybe you’re even doing the hand movements as you read! Go on, you know you want to.....

Devil’s Tower was impressive from a distance, but even more impressive close up. It’s the core of a volcano, and is 1,267 feet high. It was good to watch the climbers climb the sheer sides. Lyn, Io and Tegz went for a walk around the base in the light rain that had started. Lyn, in particular, really loved it, and thought it was really special. Ioan was a bit more prosaic, and thought it was "well dodgy!". We stopped at the Trading Post to stock up on junk as we were all starving, and wouldn’t last until we found a town big enough to get lunch in.

We hit the road, and Lyn got some miles under his belt. We had started off this morning already on 1200 miles, and needed to do another 390 today to Billings. After leaving Devil’s Tower we continued on the high prairies, with rolling grasslands and few trees. Driving this for well over an hour we started to see some odd shapes low down on the horizon, these eventually turned out to be snow capped mountains a long way off. Looking at the map of where we were we assume these are Big Horn area, where Cloud Peak is just over 13000 feet. Yellowstone National park lies about 100 miles behind these...shame we can’t fit in another teeny visit! I managed to get the nick name of Miss CrapFact when I happened to mention that the coal mining town of Gillette which we passed through is responsible for about 40% of America’s coal! They just don’t appreciate me enough! Lyn was raving again about the trains; obviously carrying coal from the open cast, with about 8 engines and a mile and  a half long. We passed a huge sidings with a load of trains stacked up. If Lyn could have stopped on the interstate he would have!

We’ve been descending down from the high plateaus now for about 40 miles, and can’t be far off the Montana border. We love Montana; home of the Big Sky! It’s 86 degrees outside, but the sky is cloudy. I hope it is cooler in Glacier, or hiking will be hard. We’ve just stopped to take a photo of the Montana state sign now.....100 miles to go, with a lovely shopping mall at the end of it!

We’re now in the hotel at last, at 8pm, another 13 hour day. The kids are in the pool, and Lyn is chilling after all his hard work driving. In fact, we had to stop at a rest area 20 miles from Billings for him to have a little break. He got out of the car, walked straight to a picnic bench, laid on top of it and promptly fell asleep in the 92 degree heat! He’s done a brilliant job with all the driving, we’re now on 1602 miles. Good job he loves driving.... he says this is what he loves, and he wouldn’t have had it any other way.

We got to the mall, and straight into Abercrombie and Fitch, where we promptly bought up all the sale stuff for Io and Tegz, and had some really good bargains. Into a sports shop where Tegz was lucky again, and then onto the Montana Brewing Company restaurant, where we had a good meal, and Lyn was able to refill his growler with micro brew.

Going to join the kids in the pool now so we can soak our weary bones in the Jacuzzi. Another big day tomorrow, with our final big push up to Glacier, and the house we will be staying in for 8 nights. It’ll be good to have a base to chill out in a bit and relax. Just another 400 miles before we get there, and there’s hardly any interstates as it’s so remote........400 more miles, we can make it!
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mcfarlne on

Hi Guys,
Luce i have to say i am not convinced about you and the president I am sure there was something going on! Also i am really worried about Abe and Tegz as Abe was liking that photograph moment way to much. Have a look again at the photo...scary! Good call on the Microbrew Lyn :0). Aw I wish i had put in an order for a A&F Small T-Shirt now :0(. Bet you can't wait to get to your new 8 day home. Safe journey xx

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