Note, this was written on the evening of June 13 but not published till the 14th when cell coverage was located.
I passed out last night listening to teenage girls complain about mosquitoes, but I was awoken in the middle of the night by a distressed horse. By the sounds of things it was either giving birth, or considered it self in mortal danger.
It’s funny the things that go through your mind when you are laying alone in a hammock listening to another creature in distress. Should I go check it out? Has a bear wondered into the campgrounds? Why am I not sleeping with a pistol? If that’s a bear I am defenseless in this hammock. Maybe the horse just spooked at his own shadow, they do that. Or maybe it saw a spider, spiders are scary. Definitely a spider. Well it stopped, so I guess it’s dead now…
Surprisingly other than that I slept pretty well last night.
I got a slow start this morning, taking my time to clean up camp at a leisurely pace. I was in no big hurry because I needed to be in town at 9am to use the Internet for a Skype interview. So of course I dug out my polo and killed time rearranging my life inside the jeep as I packed up and headed to town.
The interview had a few technical difficulties, but once we gave up on Skype and swapped to just using FaceTime, it went marvelously.
And that’s when I hit my first twisty turns mountain road of the day. There were no main highways for the first hundred miles of the trip, and there were no gas stations for the 2nd hundred.
Luckily I made it to little the gas station at the gate of Little Big Horn, I put 16.3 gallons into my 16 gallon tank. I really am a lucky SOB sometimes.
The Little Big Horn Battlefield was a very somber experience. I opted to skip the visitors center and do the driving tour. I remember learning about the battle in school, but something about seeing the fields littered with the headstones… You see the soldiers were all hastily buried in shallow graves wherever they fell. Seeing the headstones and reading the signs telling you how the battle unfolded makes it very real.
I couldn’t help but wonder at what point Custer realized he had made a tactical error.
Speaking of tactical errors, my actual adventures for the day didn’t start until after my visit to Little Big Horn. I was supposed to camp and spend the night nearby, but I checked out how long the drive to Yellowstone was and Google Maps found a quicker route. One that would only take 2 H 45M. So I checked online and there were several campgrounds inside the park that had walkup camping still available. So I went for it.
You see that face… that is the face of a guy who was 2 hours into his 2 hour 45 minutes drive and beginning to suspect that he made a mistake. You see the new route I found was absolutely beautiful switchbacks up a mountain and then a drive through twister, turny, ice covered high tundra. The ice on the road is when I realized I had made a mistake. It’s also when I realized that I had zero phone coverage… you know what, here is a video of what I was dealing with.
Ok, I couldn’t get the video to upload… but trust me, it was shady…
So my 2H 45M drive took me 5 hours. When I reached the gate, it was closed for the night, but the board told me that there was one campground still taking new campers. It was 86 miles away and cell coverage was still out. So I ventured into the park with no map, no google maps, and no idea where I was going. I did however get an up close and personal interaction with a jay walking buffalo.
That happened 3 hours before I found the campground. It was full, it was 11:30, and I had no other plan. Well that’s when I stumbled into Steve. Steve was a friendly gentleman who was doing a road trip with his son and they too were hoping to find a campsite. He and I chatted and shared his hand rolled cigarette (I know, I quit, but we were bonding and I didn’t want to be rude). Steve told me about another campground about 10 miles away that was scheduled to open this weekend, so we convoyed over there and found about a dozen other like minded squatters.
So here I lay in my illegal campground writing this post even though I have no cell coverage. Hopefully tomorrow’s adventures will be less of a failure… actually no, I hope they are just as sporadic and random as today’s have been. Cheers folks!
Daily Scavenger Hunt score: 1
– 1 point for taking a selfie at Little Big Horn
Total score to date: 7
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