Sunday, August 12, 2012

Going south

After leaving the buffalo-jump place, we were ready to go back to the U.S.A.  We weren't going straight home, though, because I wanted to see the Black Hills and the Badlands of South Dakota.  The interstate took us right past there anyhow, and I had not seen that part of the country since I was a teenager.  
There was a duty-free store just before we crossed over the Canadian border.  I had been looking everywhere for a Canada sweatshirt to take home as a souvenir, and anything I found was either overpriced or had a hood on it.  We keep our house pretty cool in wintertime, so I wear sweatshirts inside a lot, and can always use another one; don't need the hood, though.  Luckily, I found what I was looking for right there on the border, at a reasonable price.
As we were waiting in line to cross back into our own country, we watched a guard carefully searching the car ahead of us.  My heart sank, not because we had anything we shouldn't have, but because the back seat and trunk were so full, and everything was so messy (wet tent, remember?) that it would be embarrassing to have it all searched.  However, we were asked a couple of simple questions and waved on our way.  
Towns are few and far between in Montana, and many of the towns you do find are tiny.  All of them seem to have a casino, though, stuck in the back of a gas station.  According to the GPS, we would arrive in Billings between five and six o'clock.  Billings is a big city spread out over a long, narrow valley, and we were confident we would be able to pull off the Interstate and get a room with no problem.  
What we didn't know was that the state fair was going on in Billings.  Every motel in town was booked up.  I searched on the GPS for motels in Billings and called half a dozen before I finally gave up.  We stopped at a Wendy's and got something to eat, because things didn't look too promising on down the road as we looked at the map.  
It was almost eight o'clock when we found an old-but-clean motel in Stanford, Montana, a town even smaller than our little town; I'm sure the only reason there was a motel there at all is that it's in the heart of hunting country.  
A couple had parked their Harley and were checking in just ahead of us; when they mentioned they were going to Sturgis, I panicked:  We were going to arrive in the Black Hills at the start of the Sturgis rally!  Once again, our timing was awful.  Would we find a motel there, with thousands of bikers visiting?  This time there was no tent to fall back on; we left it at a dumpster in mid-Montana.  
Here we go again!


Carlene Noggle said...

I never knew they had casinos in Montana. Did yall go to the state fair? I cna't wait for the next entry!

patsy said...

no hoodie, you might get shot for asulting a man with a gun while he was protecting him self from you.

Donna said...

No, Carlene, it was six o'clock at night and there was no place to sleep.

Margaret said...

I would be very stressed about not having a place to stay. No fun!!


I once drove 12 hours and had no place to stay. Ended up sleeping in my car. That's when I learned to plan ahead. Set a destination for each day and have somewhere to rest your head each night. we also travel during the OFF seasons, in late September or October. have places all to ourselves. I feel really bad you faced such an ordeal during what was supposed to be a nice vacation. Ruined it, for sure.

Melissa Wiggins said...

You're posting faster than I'm reading, but I love each entry. It's like we're on the trip with you. MGW

Missie said...

A trip you'll always remember!