Friday, June 22, 2018

A Big Detour at Great Falls

Not for me, but for Lewis and Clark. They had been told about one waterfall, but were very surprised to find five.

The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Great Falls is one of the best on the trail. There is a life-sized model of how they got their goods around the falls.

It involved an 18-mile portage, back and forth 4 times, to get everything around the falls.

We visited several of the falls. Getting over to Ryan Island to see The Great Falls involved going over a bridge with a 6-person limit. Uh-oh...

Our first peak at the dam and power house.

Wow! It's so wonderful that they built the dam behind the falls, not in front of it.

The water was really gushing through the dam. There's a lot of snow melt right now.

Our WIN group (other than me).

We also went east from there a little to see Morony Dam.

There are no falls here, and never were, but seeing the water exploding in the air was just amazing.

We also saw Rainbow Falls and Rainbow Dam -

And Black Eagle Falls and Dam.

The Roe River is one of the shortest rivers in the country.

It's formed by a spring, described by William Clark as the largest he had ever seen, and quickly flows into the Missouri River.

There were some beautiful trout in a pool nearby.

And a gorgeous White Pelican swimming by.

Our group again. I'm the 5th one from the left.

We also got a private tour of the History Museum -

And loved the C.M. Russell Museum, although there were only two of his Lewis and Clark paintings there.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Billings and Lewistown

I was late leaving Rapid City, so I decided to go to Billings instead of Teddy Roosevelt NP with the rest of the group. I only had a couple of days, but did see a few things. I went to Pictograph Cave State Park.

As soon as I was in the Visitor Center, I realized I had been there before and been disappointed. This is what the cave is supposed to look like...

And this is what it really looks like! You can just see a little bit of the red paint.

I also visited the Western Heritage Center. It was nice, but seemed more oriented towards kids. This was my favorite piece.

Near Billings is Pompey's Pillar, named by Clark in honor of Sacajawea's son.

On the rock there is the only physical evidence remaining of Lewis & Clark's journey.

I then joined up with the group in Lewistown. Of course we had to visit the Yogo Inn and have our picture taken at the Geographical Center of the state of Montana.

That weekend the Pioneer Power Days were taking place at the airport, right near where we were parked. We saw lots of old equipment that still ran!

But of course, I liked the really old rusty stuff better!

There was a "race," where the slowest tractor won. If you stalled out, you were eliminated.

We also visited the Central Montana Museum, which was very good, but didn't have much about Lewis and Clark.

I really liked this old handmade violin made out of 2 cigar boxes!

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Black Hills from the Air

But first, I took a drive through Custer State Park. There are some very friendly wild donkeys here.

They quickly realized that we didn't have any food...

Every other time I've been in the park, I've seen lots of bison. But this time only this one poor guy. Where are his friends?

We also saw a few pronghorns.

Or, you can just go to Cabela's, where there are lots of animals!

But I had been seeing helicopters buzzing overhead, and I wanted to go! They even ran out and washed the windows for me!

And off we go! I got to go over the top of Black Elk Peak, the highest summit in the US east of the Rockies.

And I got a good view of the old lookout tower on top.

We went over the prettiest part of the Needles -

And went by an old mica mine.

Here's beautiful Sylvan Lake that I tried to hike around the other day.

Wow! A herd of bison, including some babies.

Our last view before landing was the Crazy Horse Memorial.

Wow! What a great ride!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Wandering Around the Black Hills

Backing up a bit, on the way to Rapid City, I drove through Badlands National Park. The scenery was spectacular!

I even stopped for a few short walks.

And of course I had to stop at Wall Drug. Not sure why... Coming across South Dakota, there are hundreds of billboards for Wall Drug, so it must be good. Well, at least they had a parking lot big enough for RVs a block away.

I settled into a forest campground west of town, and went on several day trips. On my first stop, I started off on the trail around beautiful Sylvan Lake.

Awwwww, how cute!

Except for the fact that I had to watch where I stepped!

Unfortunately, the water was high and this part of the trail was under water, so I turned around.

And went on down the Needles Highway to the "Eye of the Needle."

You mean I have to go through there???

There are several of these tunnels, and 3 of them have views of Mount Rushmore.

From a distance, the heads look tiny, but still impressive.

The next day, I went into Mount Rushmore. But at the entrance, everyone was looking away from the monument and taking pictures. Why?

Four big military helicopters were getting a good view!

Inside the gate, you get a much better view of this amazing sculpture.

Afterwards, I walked around trying to get a view of the backside -

But I ended up buying a postcard instead...