WILD, WILD, WEST “LIVE” & IN LIVING COLOR
How amazing to look out your truck window and actually see Cowboys driving cattle! That is something I have only ever seen in Cowboy movies, this was real. There were no cameras, directors, sets, makeup or actors!! The cattle were being herded right toward us, to an open underpass as we drove over…there were at least 4 -5 cowboys and upwards of 50 + cattle. This happened in Montana, Monday afternoon. I am getting way ahead of myself…. I think I left you in South Dakota. ( I now am getting little nudges from some family and friends..”when are you putting out the next blog?”)
I believe I left you in Beresford, SD at the Windmill campground with “ Grizzly Adams”. We didn’t let the dismal, gray morning dampen our spirits as we headed to Custer, SD. On the way to Custer, we stopped at Mt. Rushmore. The faces, of course, look just like the pictures … and it was a beautiful drive. There were piles of snow from the recent snowfall, but the roads were dry. I thought Mt. Rushmore would be much bigger. There were people on top of George Washington’s head. At first, we thought tourists were actually climbing up there somehow. We learned that they were workers putting in some kind of lasers. No one seemed to know why they were doing this… but they looked a little like bugs standing on his head. There were the usual “tourist trap” stores, a little café with expensive coffee and ice cream plus meals if you wanted to spend. The shops with every kind of book, statues, clothing items, cards etc, were available. We took our photos and headed down the mountain and on to Custer.
The “French Creek RV Camp” was easy to find, only this time, the owner looked a little like “Uncle Jesse” from the old Dukes of Hazzard. His name was “Rock”, he was 69 years young and has a witty saying for just about everything! His lifetime trade for 38 years was doing all kinds of leather work including everything from boots & belts to saddles. In addition to that, he bred horses. He and his wife, now retired, run their campground and he still works leather items. These folks were so easy to like, the park was nice with all the hookups, so we stayed two days just to rest up and to see more of Custer.
Unfortunately, our Friday tummies were on EST. By 4:00 pm we had walked from one end of Custer to the other looking for food. Finally, we found the “Wrangler Restaurant” complete with a waitress that tuned us in to almost everything we needed to know about the Custer area. It is a beautiful area, nice folks, two saloons and an old western bank turned in to a restaurant, little antique shops, a market, and even a Dairy Queen.
Saturday was an “ R & R “ day. At least, we were in one place for more than one night. We were on our last bit of whole wheat bread, so the day off gave me time to whip up a batch and bake them in the tiny RV oven. I could hardly believe all three loaves fit in the oven at once. When they came out of the oven, while still warm, we took the a loaf over to Rock and Diane. It was only about 20 minutes later, a knock at the door… it was Diane with a gift of freshly caught trout. I haven’t cooked fresh trout for ages…. I had to actually hook up the computer and look for a recipe. It was incredible…even with the bones. While we were feeding on the fish, two deer walked over the bridge and onto the grassy area near the park. Now and then a car would pass, and they seemed totally unconcerned…. We also realized what the little pebble-like poo was near our RV. Looks sort of like rabbit-poo only bigger. Glenn tried to tell me it was “Jackrabbit” droppings because they are a lot bigger rabbit.
Custer has “in-town hunting”! There are times when 300 – 400 deer come down into town, so they have designated “hunters” who shoot them. This is done only with bow and arrow so as to not shoot anyone accidentally, and hunting is done at night when there are fewer people about. The meat is dressed and given to the food bank. If you want deer meat, you just put your name on the list.
Sunday morning, we got up early and attended the church Rock had invited us to. It is held in the Elementary School Auditorium only two blocks from the campground.
Even though Rock calls it “The Cowboy Church” , we felt very much at home there. Most of the men did wear cowboy boots, and a number wore cowboy hats. There was a special place on the wall where they hung their hats.
We are looking forward to staying at French Creek on the return trip, as we plan to visit the Crazy Horse Memorial during the June 5th and 6th march up to the site.
The rest of the state left us awed and stunned by the beautiful scenery one moment and the desolate acres of burned forest with many black tree trunks and stumps, burned logs and limbs on the ground with areas of grass trying to recover. We tried to research this on the internet, but most articles were about controlled burning to exterminate tree deadly insects. It was strange to see some areas green and healthy and over the next rise of charred forest. We are still hoping to find more about what happened to cause this extensive loss.
Sunday night we ended up in Sheridan, Wyoming. We decided to dry camp or ” boon docking” as many call it. That is when you don’t plug in or hook up to anything. You rely on the generator and propane and your water tank for the necessities. You brush your teeth and flush, wash dishes, shower (if you have enough water… and space in the gray water tank). The batteries provide some electricity, but don’t plan on using the computer, radio or TV etc unless you also have a generator. The generator runs on propane (which needs to be refilled now and then) to provide electricity for the icemaker, the microwave and coffeepot and air conditioner, if needed. Our spot for the night was at a Wal-Mart Super center. Glenn asked the manager’s permission as a courtesy, and we were welcomed and the manager told Glenn about the more private parking in the back area away from the busy traffic. By the time we shut our lights out for the night, there were a good number of other RV campers, small and large along with three 18 wheelers.
Wyoming into Montana is hard to describe adequately. Rolling hills, green with grass, the snowcapped “Crazy Mountain” in the distance teasing us into thinking it was moving as it got bigger and seemed to move from side to side and then back in the middle where it started out. The mountain got it’s name from a “Crazy” woman that fled up into the mountains. The Crow Indians found her, and from then on called it Crazy Mountain.
We are hooked on the legends as you can probably tell. Montana is more beautiful than any pictures can portray. Many places you have a panoramic 360 degree view… then, you are in mountains rising to several thousand feet and you look down and see cattle grazing over huge areas of open range. There are also all colors of horses, from a few to a dozens or more. This is definitely God’s Country…. When you look at the evidence of the living planet so designed and the animals free to roam, the views from high in the mountains where so much seems untouched by humans, it becomes very difficult to believe that a “ big bang” could have done this. It would be like your two year old dropping the eggs and breaking them and calling it a quiche.
Monday evening, stayed in Bear Canyon RV Park near Bozeman, MT with the incredible sites of fields, some homes here and there…with mountain ranges in the distance and the Rockies beyond them. The RV Park is up the side of a mountain and we had an awesome view from our dining room window. It was worth the price to be here and I would love to come back. We are heading out toward Butte, MT next …..it is 106 miles from here. Hopefully, we will land about 100+ miles beyond. We feel so blessed.
Happy trails to you and God Bless you………… Mimi