Day four took us to Makoshika State Park outside of Glendive, MT.
On Thursday night Dale and I poured over the maps in figuring out what our next step is. Even though this is an unplanned camping trip, Dale has kind of figured out about how far to go each day and we were already behind. Our dates to be here or there remain flexible other than when to arrive in Jacksonville, FL. We want to be there on the weekend of October 19th for two reasons; one, to visit with the Manchesters on their weekend off and two, to celebrate my 55th birthday with Ellen!
We reasoned we can come back to the southeastern corner of Montana anytime, we may not head as far east as we have planned again, so east is our priority! Thus, we decided to skip Medicine Rock State Park and head into the Dakotas.
Day four – Makoshika State Park, MT
The eroded and wind-formed hills were very interesting. A few years ago, Dale and I traveled through the southern Utah desert to see the unusual rock formations in Bryce and Zion and other areas. I was impressed with what Montana showed us in it’s unusual and unique landscape; it was different than Utah but equally magnificent.
Day five – We left early in the morning from Makoshika State Park and drove into Glendive in order for me to connect to the internet to post “Homesteads, Montanans and “Gold”.”
When I finished posting, we headed east and then south and then east and then south and ended up in Spearfish, South Dakota via North Dakota. So we are in new states!
While driving on Route 7 south of Wibaux, we came upon a historical marker. We pulled over and read about a wagon trail of old that took the pioneers west. It was interesting in that you could still see the trail ruts on the hillside.
On our way east the scenery began to change into rolling hills. The farms and ranches still spotted the countryside but we began to see a new crop, black gold. It looks like the closer we approached the North Dakota border, property owners found their new found wealth in a new crop that didn’t grow on top of the ground but was found underneath the ground. There was a small town near the border of Montana and North Dakota called Baker and this small farm town of long ago was now a booming oil town.
Then we went in South Dakota, traveling south we came to a town of 5,000+ called Belle Foursche. This town had a great little museum called Tri State Museum featuring various displays and informational tid bits from Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. For being a city museum, it was great.
I loved the display about cowpokes that herded thousands of cattle across the west into Belle Fourche for shipping east to the packing plants. Belle Fourche replaced Kansas City when KC grew into a city and cattle could no longer be herded into the railroad stockyards.
There was also a great display on Tri State Roundup rodeo held on the Fourth of July. I also liked the Miss Rodeo queen display, too. Pictures of the past queens began in the early 1960’s and forward. It was fun to see how hair, make-up and fashion progressed as each decade passed.
Another interesting fact is the center of the USA is just outside of Belle Fourche. I saw the marker sign while traveling south on Hwy 85. It said the marker was only seven miles down this dirt road. Now I wonder if we should have made a u-turn . . it would have been fun to say I was in the center point of the United States of America!
We arrived at a lovely campground called Chris’ Campground. It is a mom and pop joint of about 100 sites from tents to full hook-ups with cable. It is clean with nice walking paths and a large dog run for the travel weary pet. We let the dogs run loose to work out some of the wiggle.
Today takes us into the Black Hills. We plan on driving a recommended scenic route taking us through Lead, Deadwood and Sturgis. I am curious about Sturgis and their July motorcycle rally. In Montana in July our highways are over run by motorcycle groups as the tour their way to or from the Sturgis rally. From there we’ll travel south to Hill City to camp for the night. On Sunday morning, we plan on waking early to see the sun rise over Mt. Rushmore.