Day 14 - Rapid City, SD to Belgrade, MT

When you first start planning a 10-ish week trip around this country, your first thought is that you are going to see everything and might struggle to fill all the time.  That thinking quickly starts to fade when you work on logistics.  You realize that, if you are travelling via car, you will have some long days, you will have to make choices, and you will skip things you really want to see.  Yesterday was a great day but it was 500+ miles in the car, mostly through some winding elevation.  We had to skip Crazy Horse, seeing the bison in Custer State Park, visiting Deadwood and heading up to Glacier NP.  And at the risk of getting too philosophical on a Tuesday morning, ain't that life?  We can choose to fill our lives with an endless variety of things and people.  We can't regret what we missed, just take in and value what we have chosen to do and who we have chosen to do it with.  Ok, enough of that!

Yesterday we took off out of Rapid City fairly early (despite being up late at the Mt. Rushmore lighting ceremony) and hit the road due west.  Interstate 90 West is our constant companion.  Interesting statistic: we could drive one mile out of this hotel, turn left, drive 1,242 miles on I-90, turn right, and drive 5 miles to our house.  Our only long stop for the day was Devils Tower National Monument.  No need to explain this one much - you get it from the pictures, except if you have never been there, you completely don't get it from the pictures.  The size, grandeur and I guess 'spirituality' of the place is really moving.  We had lunch in the shadow of the tower, took the hike around the base and then moved on.

The drive was long and winding.  We stopped a few times.  Dinner was at a cool Montana/Western styled steakhouse named Bull Mountain Grille in Billings, MT.  We have been doing a good job eating healthy but sort of tossed that out the door for dinner.  When we took off on our last leg about 8:00 pm, it was 100°.  As we drove, a front came through, winds looked to be about 50 mph and the temps dropped 30° over about an hour or so.  Pretty crazy conditions but the BigTripMobile has (knock on wood) been a complete champ to this point.

Shorter drive today as we move through Montana and creep into Idaho.  Have a great Tuesday!

Doesn't need a caption.

My hiking crew.  It was hot.  They are champs.

The photographer in me could spend a week walking around this place.