we had a fantabulous time in glacier, but all good things much come to an end, or whatever it is they say. so, on july 5th, we began our long trip from northwest montana towards the black hills of south dakota, with a few stops along the way.
first of all, in case you were wondering what the bottom of a seven year old’s foot looks like after nine days at glacier, here you go. (also, i’m pretty sure she took a shower in there somewhere and there was also a few instances of playing in lakes, so this is probably only a day or so worth of grime. you’re welcom.
the first leg of our trip took us from glacier to billings, montana. we set up shop (parked) at a local walmart and then drove around town to find somewhere to eat. regretably, we settled upon a place called “pizza ranch”, and you can imagine the quality of the food at such a place. i ate the toppings off a few sad pieces of buffet pizza and had a terrible salad. attached to the pizza ranch was a giant arcade that for some reason we thought we should check out. (we being derek and/or kids, not me). we purchased an obscene amount of tokens and set the kids free on the place. it took soooo long and i really struggled with wrapping my brain around the fact that just the day before i was in the middle of the wilderness, staring at the most beautiful lake, and now i was in this hellscape, with loud music and flashing lights. i won’t even discuss the other arcade patrons lurking about. ugh.
after a million hours, the tokens were used up, prizes were chosen and we were on our way. upon departing we noticed a huge dent in my car that we hadn’t seen before. i’m not saying it happened in the pizza ranch parking lot, just that it was big enough that i like to think i would have noticed it if it had been there before. freaking pizza ranch. i loathe you.
the next day, derek had to get some work in, so we hung around a bit in the morning before finding a spot to kill a few hours along the way and getting on the road. that place? little big horn battlefield national monument. there was a small museum that we checked out. but no video because of covid, i guess?
we drove along a road with our little interpretive guide that told us how the battle of little big horn played out. the kids were really not interested and i don’t blame them. back at the visitor center area, we checked out a little monument to the fallen and a cool sculpture to honor the native folks.
we were rushed off the property by an overzealous park ranger yelling that the gates would close immediately at 430, despite the many cars in the parking lot and people milling around. it was very strange and disappointing. but, another ranger badge for the lidkids.
after little big horn (located somewhere random in wyoming), we continued east. derek did a little bit of research and found a first come first serve campground near our next planned stop, so we decided to see if we could score a site there first, before settling for yet another walmart. we ended up snagging the last available of seven spots at tongue river canyon state park, and the internet was workable, so we were pretty excited.
the next morning, the kids and dog and i hit the trails. we planned to only hike a mile or so in, nothing too strenuous, just enough to get out and about. so that’s what we did. the views were pretty amazing. much better than walmart. i didn’t know wyoming had it in her. and ruby was so happy to be able to join us for a change.
after we got back from our hike, we changed clothes and walked over to a little spot where we could access the river easily. the kids and dog loved flailing around in the cool waters. we stayed for a few hours, chatting with a fellow traveler who was staying in a campsite nearby (and had a male dog who LOVED ruby). when the rains rolled in, we figured it was as good a time as any to make our exit.
after this very cool spot (and supreme upgrade over a walmart parking lot), we continued east to a, well, walmart parking lot. one more overnight before the next actual legit location. all this walmarting is a small price to pay for having gotten to go all the way out to glacier. 🙂
lazy walmart mornings with ruby…
before we departed from this town (gilette, wyoming) to head into devils tower national monument, the kids and i detoured to a random roadside attraction: a rock paper scissors sculpture. we are always suckers for this sort of weirdness, so it was a fun addition to our collection.
and after three strange days of arcades and walmarts and terrible nps sites and really cool suprise state parks and a rock paper scissors sculpture, we had successfully made our way back through montana and wyoming and we were almost to our next destination without incident. almost.