Greetings from Hardin, Montana. We made it here today after 555 miles of driving starting in Chamberlain, South Dakota. We did a lot today so apologies in advance for the plethora of pictures. Also, because we have to choose just a select few for this blog, we’re going to post all (well, most) of our photos once we have sustained internet and time in Portland. I’ll send a link for that, there’s so much more that you haven’t seen! And don’t forget we’re going strong on Twitter throughout each day: http://twitter.com/hairmanmao.
Update: I completely forgot to mention that our credit card company is suspecting us of identity theft. Because our purchases are seemingly sporadic and in weird places (you know, like gas in Wyoming, lunch in South Dakota, hotel in Missouri, etc.) they’ve threatened to deactivate our account. Even after Morgen called to assure them that it was us and that we are just moving across the country, they’re still keeping an eye on us. Oh, and we both are somewhere between 80 and 90% sure that we saw a six-legged cow in Wyoming this afternoon. It looked like two cows walking really close to each other until we passed and there wasn’t another cow there! Very creepy. Anyway…
This morning we woke up to a beautiful sunrise in Chamberlain, SD. We took in a picture perfect view of a wide crossing of the Missouri River (yes, again) before really hitting the road. After two hours and crossing into Mountain Time, we reached Badlands National Park. I think it’s my second favorite national park. It was an amazing day with clear, blue skies and a nice breeze. We drove through the nearly forty miles of the park and made a few stops to take in particularly stunning views. Afterwards we headed up to Wall Drug in Wall, SD. It’s quite famous (sort of like On the Border) and we were there at a good time (aka, morning, before the school year is over!). We saw the sights, ate their famous handmade donuts and got back in the car. Wall is fun and weird but there isn’t exactly a whole whole lot to do.
From Wall we drove about 100 miles to Deadwood, SD. Deadwood is famous for having been the place where Wild Bill Hickok was shot dead (you know, Aces and 8s, the dead man’s hand?) and Calamity Jane roamed. HBO did a fantastic, though incredibly crude, show about Deadwood a few years ago. Highly recommended if you can handle 3000 uses of the F-bomb over three seasons! Anyway, we made our way through the Black Hills National Forest to Deadwood and pulled into town hell bent on losing at least $5 on slot machines. We accomplished that feat very quickly while pulling the levers at the Gem Saloon. The Gem was an original saloon in town but the modern manifestation looked more like a sad version of an off-the-strip joint in Vegas. Anyway, Morgen did manage to win 25 quarters on one pull and I had a few successes of the four or five quarter variety.
Leaving Deadwood we passed out of South Dakota and into Wyoming. We didn’t do much in the relatively short time in the Cowboy State as the interstate passed mostly through the northeast corner of the state. We got gas in Gillette, passed close by the Bighorn Mountains in Buffalo and eventually cruised by Sheridan. Upon entering Montana we were immediately within the realm of the Crow Reservation. There wasn’t much going on there, as you might imagine, including a complete lack of gas, food or places to stay. Hence, our stop here in Hardin. We’re literally a mile north of the Crow Res and about 45 miles east of Billings. It’s been a long day of about 13 hours on the road or at attractions. But very fun to finally get out and really do some of the stuff travelers are usually supposed to do.