States Visited Today
This day, Tuesday, July 7, 2020, would end up going a lot smoother than the previous day. We woke up at our hotel in Billings, Montana when we wanted to, no alarm needed. We then had a quick breakfast and was back on the road.
The first stop of the day was the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. It was about an hour away from Billings.
The park did not have much itself. We had to use guides and an NPS app to really learn anything about what happened there. I thought it was interesting that there were burial markers where the cavalry troops and some of the Native Americans were found dead. Here are what a few of them looked like.
Here are some other highlights.
We took our time there and still spent just over three hours at the park.
After getting gas at a Crow Indian owned gas station (the national monument is on the Crow Indian Reservation) and some snacks we were off to the Devils Tower National Monument. I had wanted to go there ever since I was a little kid and had seen it in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It was as awesome as I had hoped it would be.
Devils Tower National Monument was the first national monument and was established by one of my favorite presidents, Theodore Roosevelt, in 1906. It is a popular climbing area today as well due to its’ natural formation.
The tower is up on a hill and is already quite tall, so it looked even bigger from far away.
At the entrance there were some prairie dog towns, the first we had seen. They were cute little, active things. Some would even come up close to the cars.
We took the trail around the base and marveled at the size, shape, and the sheer massiveness of the individual columns.
There were a lot of rocks at the base of tower as they have gradually fallen off due to erosion. This means that, even as big as it is now, the tower used to be much bigger. Andrea was just as amazed with the tower as I was. It was definitely worth the trip to see it.
Finally we set off for Mt. Rushmore, another National Monument. We went through Rapid City, a nice looking little town, along the way.
Mt. Rushmore can be seen from the road as you pull up, which surprised me. We reached it as the sun was still up, though well behind the mountain off to the west.
We ate dinner there and waited for the illumination. After that we went downstairs and learned some more about how the monument was created and the people involved.
Mt. Rushmore was definitely neat to see in person, even after seeing so many pictures of it before.
We ended up staying in the town next to there, Keystone, which is not even two miles from the monument. It looked to be a touristy little town that kind of reminded me of downtown Gatlinburg, Tennessee.