Generation Z. Cruising in an RV.: Converging@Yellowstone, on to Mt.Rushmore OLA

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Converging@Yellowstone, on to Mt.Rushmore OLA

Old Faithful 5:00 PM, June 6, 2011
The North Entrance to Yellowstone is in Gardiner, Montana, 6 hours away from Glacier National Park. It is a 7 hour drive from Jim’s (Bill’s son) home in Boise, Idaho and a loooong 10 ½ hour drive from Suzanne’s (Bill’s daughter) home in Westminster, Colorado.  But they came to meet us there. We were at Yellowstone (and Grand Tetons) last year but this time around was different because Jim, his wife Anna and children Madeline aanother bear jam ond Ben and Suzanne and husband Dean and children Devin and Cassie joined us there.  Unfortunately, we still missed Bill’s daughter Cristine and Mitch from Anchorage.
another bear jam on a Yellowstone road
Besides, it was late summer when we came last year and this time it is still late spring. Snow still covered the eastern part of the park and some mountain tops. The colors seemed less vibrant and the gushing less spectacular this time. Wildlife was not yet all out grazing to begin another round of stocking up for the next winter. But Old Faithful remained faithful to the expectant crowds (every 93 minutes it gushes for 5 minutes). At Fountain Paint Pot, we were lucky to see the outburst of the Spasm Geyser which erupts for 30 minutes every 12 hours!

the Entrance Arch at Gardiner, Montana
The children had loads of fun, frolicking on the grassy area in the middle of the cluster of cabins, 5 miles from downtown and the Arch.  They had rented one with 2 bedrooms and a great patio at the back. With the campfire and smores and the ‘pasalubongs’ we had for each one, it was a real party on the first nightThe children entertained us with original song and dance routines (not yet ready for prime time!) The next day was a busy tour around the Park, spotting wildlife and watching geysers, the girls in one car and the boys in another! It would have been perfect had Jim been spared from intestinal flu!

Ben, Devin, Madeline, and Cassie entertaining us!
It will probably be another year before the Colborns (especially with Cristine, Bill’s youngest daughter) so far away in Anchorage, Alaska) can get together again. Perhaps late September 2012 when we will most probably be back in Colorado! That will be an 8-hour drive for Jim and family but since the kids will be in school we may have to drive out to Boise in our little Saturn! Till then, skype will have to do!

Bill on Last Stand Hill @
Little Bighorn Battlefield Monument
But, Mt. Rushmore beckoned and we have 3 lovely weeks to spend around Rapid City, South Dakota. We are here now and can’t wait to tell you about the treasures we are finding every single day in this state! But, before that, let me tell you a little about Billings, Montana. We stayed there for the night and bought some RV stuff and groceries that we needed. We also had a quick stop here in 2009 when we were making our way from Suzanne’s home in Denver to Claudine’s home in Calgary.

the Indian memorial at the Battlefield
That was when, surfing through the Net, we discovered there were two interesting attractions in Billings: the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument and Pompey’s Pillar. The former is a memorial to the U.S. Army's 7th Cavalry and one of the Indians’ last armed efforts to preserve their way of life. Here on June 25 and 26 of 1876, 263 soldiers, including Lt. Col. George A. Custer and attached personnel of the U.S. Army, died fighting several thousand Lakota and Cheyenne warriors.

Pompeii's Pillar
Pompeii’s Pillar is one of the most famous sandstone buttes in America because it bears the only remaining physical evidence of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, appearing on its trail today as it did 200 years ago. On the face of the 150-foot butte, Captain William Clark carved his name on July 25, 1806, on his return to the United States through the beautiful Yellowstone Valley. Captain Clark named the Pillar in honor of Sacagawea's son Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, whom he had nicknamed "Pomp."

Clark's signature on the rock
Next Stop: Spending Sunny Days in South Dakota, Parts 1 & 2