Friday, August 16, 2013

Don't Fence Me In

Road side poetry at a rest-stop in Montana.
From Seattle, we traveled east on Interstate 90. As we crossed the Columbia River in Eastern Washington, we spotted the Wild Horse Monument, 15 life-sized sculptures of galloping mustangs.

We continued on to Idaho, where we drove a scenic byway around beautiful Coeur d'Alene Lake. My mom told me later that my grandparents had gotten married here. The Late Great Gaga always did have great taste.

Our resting spot for the night was the charming college town of Missoula, Montana. Should you ever find yourself in Missoula, do yourself a favor and eat dinner at the Riverside Cafe. Their rhubarb pound cake wins for best dessert of the trip.

Walking along the Clark Fork River in Missoula.
The next day, we set out for Keystone, South Dakota, a 10+ hour drive away. My goal was to get us to the town just outside Mount Rushmore so that we could beat the crowds and the heat by viewing the monument first thing the following morning. This was, I think, a mistake. I wish now that we had added at least another day to the trip here and wandered south to see Yellowstone National Park. Someday, perhaps, we will get back and see the wilds and rivers of Montana not visible from the highway.

Instead we pressed on, stopping for BBQ brisket sandwiches in the quaint resort town of Bozeman. In the afternoon, we visited Little Big Horn National Park, otherwise known as Custer's Last Stand.

Last Stand Hill
From there, we took what we thought would be a short cut on the 212 highway through the Cheyenne reservation. 

Small Town America

The route turned into the loneliest stretch of road we had ever seen. For miles and miles, there were no cars in ahead of or behind us. There were no services either, and we were grateful we had filled up the tank before switching highways.

Lonesome Road


Until the cows come home.
In the evening, as we came into South Dakota, we started passing through small towns again.

Our stop for the night. (Thank God, no.)

We rolled into our motel at 11:00 p.m., grateful for a shower and comfortable bed. At 7:30 a.m. the next morning, we drove to the Mt. Rushmore Memorial. We arrived so early that the staff were still power-washing the walkways. We had the viewing platform to ourselves as we watched the light bounce from the granite faces.

Our next stop was Sioux Falls, South Dakota, a mere five hours away. We'd get there in the early afternoon, relax, stretch our feet a little, and grab a steak dinner somewhere. It was going to be great.

Next time: car trouble!


  1. Oh - I have got to get there! It looks amazing - so Lonely and wild...

    1. I wish we could have gotten out to Glacier National Park at the northern edge of Montana. Next time...

  2. I do believe you will always remember this trip. Some places you can only get to by car and many miles on the road. Hope you are settling in.

    1. Memorable, to be sure. We are just about all settled in now. :)

  3. Those life size statues of the Mustangs are amazing! The views of the Northwest are so grand and scenic! Have a wonderful weekend! Pamela

    1. You can actually hike up the hill and stand next to the sculptures, but with the dog and the heat, we declined.

  4. Your trip looks absolutely incredible. I had no idea, when I read about it before you set off, what it would entail! What an extraordinary and wonderful way to move house.

    Your photos are wonderful, too. Thank you so much for sharing them. I really want to do this journey now, too! [Looks a lot more enticing than Route 66 ... :-) ]

    1. Two years ago, we drove much of the "new" Route 66. Although Montana and South Dakota were beautiful, the southern route made for a more interesting drive overall.

    2. Interesting. Deri really wants us to drive across America. He favours Route 66. I want to drive up the east coast, and now I've seen your photos I want to drive across the north too! We will have to consult you when it looks like we might have time and money.

      [Looks into misty distance. Thinks about the mortgage. And penchant for cookery books and expensive shoes. And that pearl necklace which is winking at her from the internet. Returns to searching the job adverts].

      Well at least I can look at your photos! :-)

    3. Oh yeah, jobs. I need one of those too. Sigh.


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