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12 September…a little catch up

10 September…Today I’m parked at the most beautiful spot I’ve ever camped…I turned off the Beartooth Scenic Byway about 2 miles north of the Top of The World store/campground…the gravel road was in good shape…went about a mile and a half and found paradise…a little bit of leveling and I was all set.

I’m right near the border of Wyoming and Montana in the Shoshone National Forest…sign at the turnoff said I can camp here for 16 days…totally free…saw a few side-by-sides using the gravel roads in the area…looked like families out enjoying some off road exploring…nice.

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My campsite is simply stunning…I’m overlooking two mountain lakes called the Chain Lakes…crystal clear and clean…as is the air I’m breathing. Looking past the lakes I can see the Byway in the distance…cars look like tiny bugs crawling up and down the ridge road. The tree line is clearly defined on the mountains to the north…about 10 thousand feet the trees disappear…replaced with rock and mountain grasses.

The sky is overcast this afternoon…low pressure front coming from the north…wind goes from calm to howling…gentle then quickly building to around 40 to 50 kph…van rocks and sways…very calming in a way. I watch the low lying mountain grasses bend with the torrent then regain their composure as the wind calms…a never ending cycle of motion.

There  is no cell service or internet here…wouldn’t have expected it. I travel with a Garmin inReach satellite tracker/communicator…used it to text my sister and mom to let them know my location, was set up at my campsite, all was well, and I’d be off the grid for a couple of days…nice to have in case of a problem.

Traveling in Petunia is wonderful…the next couple of days will define everything that is good about being totally self contained…I have food, a way to cook it, a bathroom, bedroom, satellite TV (so I can watch the weather and crime shows, never main stream news, all bad), heating/cooling, wonderful Engle fridge/freezer, and on demand hot water if I want to take a shower…life is good.

I’m planning to take Petunia to Alaska next year. In the meantime I’m slowly getting her ready. I’m reinforcing the cabinets and drawers by adding wood glue to all the seams. I except some rough roads and this should help keep stuff from falling apart. I built everything pretty solid to begin with but every little bit helps.

Night is about to fall

The view out the window is good

Good morning from 10,000 feet

And a good morning indeed 🙂

Out for my morning walk…temp around 40F and not a breath of wind…have my bear spray and 40 caliber Glock on my hips….this is grizzly country…as you walk it’s always a good idea to turn around often to see if anything is tracking you.

The road up to the van…a bit rocky and steep but Petunia had no problem with it.

Pulled out of camp around 0700 this morning…glorious weather…temp 38F…I’m heading up and over the Beartooth Pass to Laurel MT…another Walmart for the night cause I’m cheap…I’ll pass through Red lodge on the way.

About to start the descent down the switchbacks towards Red Lodge…didn’t take any stills but shot some nice Go Pro footage for my next video.

Pulled into the Walmart in Laurel around 1000…that’s it for today.

13 September…a somber day.

marble markers showing where many of the Calvary men, including Custer fell
Custer and some of his officers…all were killed
looking down the hill to the area where 7,000 Cheyenne, Lakota, and Sioux were camped along the Little Big Horn River…1500 to 2000 were warriors
Custer and his brother fell side by side
gun found at the battle site
a mass grave of soldiers is under the obelisk at the battle site
the fallen from many different wars are buried here
the main battle area on the ridge
a short pole was driven into the ground where a soldier fell…his name was written on a piece of paper…the paper was rolled up and placed into a spent cartridge…the cartridge was then hammered into the top of the -pole to identity the body.
the memorial to the fallen native Americans is next to the battlefield site
surviving families of the fallen warriors chose to have them remembered with red granite markers instead of white marble like the calvary men

I have very little words…I was truly moved by the spirit of the battlefield…I can’t imagine the horror and desperation felt by the men who perished…white and redskin alike.

14 September…nice drive today over to the Conestoga RV Park in White Sulphur Springs Montana….got a couple of days before I’m scheduled to be in Fort Benton…really nice park…the owner Curtis, gave my a nice spot so I could look out over the prairie…no dust and folks drive really slow through the place…good…showers are good and the wifi is ok too…gonna spend two nights here.

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17 September…had a great time visiting my dear friends Pat and Tom in Fort Benton MT…they have a beautiful place and are always so welcoming when I stop by. Thanks again!

They even have a paved place for me to park Petunia

Fort Benton is my kind of place…clean, lots of history, beautiful parks, decent people, and really quiet.

Parked at the city park on the Missouri River
The Missouri and the ducks
Fort Benton
The historic Grand Union Hotel in the background
Walking bridge over the Missouri River, originally used to bring cattle over the river to Fort Benton

My sister Debbe is flying in to Great Falls tonight…I’m checked into the Hilton Gardens Hotel near the airport…I’ll pick her up at the terminal around 9:30 tonight. Tomorrow we’ll head south to Red Lodge MT…gonna be fun showing her around MT and SD for a week or so.

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