Westward Terminus

Today is the day that we will reach the western most point of this adventure.  We’ll finally be able to unhook the trailer and unload the motorcycles for some two-wheeled fun.  First, we have to get there.

We left the Holiday Inn at Sheridan, WY under some very cloudy skies.  It had been raining and the streets were still wet as we pulled out about 8:30.  We had decided to skip the hotel breakfast and get down the road a little before we ate.  Back on I-90, we started using our plethora of electronics (ok, our cell phones) to try to find our next meal.

Custer Battlefield National Monument was our first target of the day.  It just so happens that there is a place directly across from the entrance to the monument called The Custer Battlefield Trading Post.  Jana and I have been in here before.  It doesn’t have any exterior features that would differentiate it from other local gift shops but I knew they served a mean breakfast.  The food was really good and the service was great.  We added some Indian fry bread to our meal and I thought I would explode afterward.  I didn’t take any pictures of the building but managed to grab one of the teepees they have displayed out front.


The battlefield is pretty solemn site.   It is definitely worth a stop.  The story of the historic day is presented by a park ranger who can spin a story with the best of them.  I’m sure that this story is somewhat accurate concerning the progress of the conflict but I’m pretty sure that the descriptions around individuals has been thrown in for entertainment and may not be based on anything more than imagination.  I loved his story even if we only caught the last few minutes of it.  Several years ago the park service decided to try to recognize that there were losses to both sides (US Cavalry and the Indian Nation).  The battlefield now includes tributes to the those that lost their lives regardless of their nationality.


I’ve been a big fan of The Corps of Discovery for as long as I can remember.  The only physical evidence left on the Lewis and Clark trail is a signature and date that William Clark inscribed in a sandstone out cropping that has become known as Pompey’s Pillar.    As I recall, it was named after Sacagawea’s young son, Pompey.  It provides a personal connection to the one of the leaders of the grand adventure.


To get to the site we had to divert off of I-90 onto Montana state route 47.  Google maps failed to inform us that the road is under construction.  If you traveled out here in the western US, you know that “under construction” means “we’ve got some extra money and were ripping the darn road out, right down to the road bed and you’ll have to drive on whatever is under that”.  You can see in the picture below that I waited patiently for the pilot car that would guide us through 3 miles of sand, mud, gravel, and everything else besides pavement.  Patience is my middle name (not).


I-94 led us back on to I-90.  By this time we were ready to eat again and the truck was in dire need of diesel and diesel exhaust fluid.  (Diesel exhaust fluid is a magic elixir that was invented to get truck owners to spend more money.)  Spencer scanned the list of potential eateries and picked out The Thirsty Turtle in Big Timber, Montana.  The truck needs were met and we parked directly in front of the Turtle in downtown Big Timber.  The food was great, portions were huge, and the service was fantastic.

There was nothing left to do except drag the trailer the last 175 miles to our home away from home.  With Jana behind the wheel, I was able to grab a picture of the scenery that I associate with Montana.  I love it out here.


After a total of 1,800 or so miles, we pulled into the private road that would take us to our cabin.  We had been advised that the road was gravel but well maintained.  Ugh!  The road surface reminded me of the jaunt down state route 47 except there was no pilot car to follow.  There was a lot of really deep gravel and when it wasn’t gravel, the road surface was bone jarring washboard.  There is 2 miles of this to reach our cabin so we’re going to need to rethink how we get the bikes onto pavement without any mishaps.  That’s a job for tomorrow.  Tonight we’re enjoying our first evening by sitting on the deck listening to an owl hoot at us.  This cabin is great and will fill our needs for the coming days but even Paradise has it’s challenges.




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