Day 16 – 9/15 Little Bighorn Battlefield and Bighorn Canyon

Yummmm starting my day with a Juan Valdez coffee, this is sooo good.  We had a lot of whole coffee beans since that’s what we use at home, a few different brands, so I decided we should bring it, and we bought a coffee grinder.  About once a week or so I grind the coffee and we use it in a small drip coffee maker we got from Ricardo.  It’s not the same as our espresso maker at home, but it is nice to have the trailer smelling like coffee in the morning.

Once we did our usual start of the morning things, got the girls started on school stuff, caught up on emails and quick computer work, I had a call, Carol got some food ready to go…. we left to go to Little Bighorn Battlefield.  We left around 11am, and it was about an hour drive.  Girls did some school work in the car.  Bia was almost done, but Bella was messing around early in the morning and had a good amount of work.  She did all the computer work in the truck, but none of the book work.  I think taking them off their school work routine was not a good thing, at least yet.  It didn’t impact Bia much, but Bella was all over today, and the driving and going didn’t help, so she didn’t finish all her work today.  I told her I’d wake her up a bit earlier than her usual tomorrow so she can wrap up the work from today and get caught up. 

The drive to Little Bighorn Battlefield was easy, pretty much I90 all the way there.  The sky was smoggy, due to smoke in the air, so mainly the skyline in the horizon and a bit higher, but not the sky immediately above us.  Though for pictures, that smoke smog would show up in almost all, and it did make it harder to see farther away. 

The place is another part of the National Parks System, so we used our annual pass and didn’t have to pay to get in, score!  The ranger station was closed due to covid, but hard to tell if it was due to safety or defunding, it was not clear. 

The area is very interesting, it’s hilly, and you can see the markings of where the soldiers fell as you drive and walk around.  You can kind of imagine how it all unfolded, and where people were, where they went, as you follow the paths and roads and spot the tombstone like markings.  The girls learned the word “outnumbered” very well today, as they learned more about the history here and how the Indians outnumbered the soldiers.  It is a very interesting site, interesting story, and it does not take too long to drive around a bit then walk the short paths they have.  They have signs around telling you what happened in that spot and setting the tone and timing for the story, it’s very nice.  The view is typical for the area, hilly plains (if that’s a thing) and grasslands. 

From there, we decided we’d drive to Bighorn Canyon, which was 30 minutes away, and kind of Southwest from where we were.  It was a cool drive, and we could see us getting closer and closer to the higher mountains and the canyon in the middle, where a river runs. 

When we were close, the views were pretty cool, but there were no signs of where to go, no signs of trails, nothing.  Some roads were closed, and there was not a sign of where a good spot to start looking around was.  I looked for the ranger station and followed a road close to the edge, eventually driving by a National Parks office, but it was not a station for this park.  The girls got out to use the bathroom, and we kept driving into roads that seemed like they’d take us somewhere cool. 

We eventually found a spot that had a trail sign, it was a trail of 0.1miles, and yes, you read it right it’s ZERO POINT ONE miles.  We went down anyway, and were done in like a minute. 

I thought, there has to be something amazing down there…. Nope, just a tiny spot where some people use to jump in the water.  It is very close to a dam, so the ranger that was around cleaning some trees told us the water is very cold there.  Well, we tried. 

We kept driving around, eventually a road led us very close to the water, it was a bit of an adventure, we saw some bear poop on the road, and an eagle.  The girls were very excited to see their first “real” eagle, not in captivity and close. 

From there we decided to drive back.  We took in what we could from the scenery, enjoyed the view of the canyon and drove back.  It was a little disappointing for me, I had high expectations of the canyon, and hoping we’d find some really cool trails to walk around, and be near the edge of the canyon with cool views, etc.  But, ok, we’ll have plenty of opportunities on the trip yet. 

The girls, especially Bella, talk about our “10 month trip” (they say that, but we actually don’t know how long we’ll take… a few months?) now more frequently and naturally, so I think they have it sinking in and so far are enjoying this adventure. 

Before we got back we stopped at a camping store and I bought a hose and a one way stop valve, so I could install between the city water and the water pump, so city water would not flow into the fresh water tank, and the pump would still work. 

Fortunately they had what I needed.  We got back and while Carol made dinner, I went to the back compartment where the water connections and the pump are to install the valve.  It took about 15 minutes total, between clearing the area from stuff that was stored there, getting to the hoses, putting the new piece and putting it all back.  I tested the pump and it worked, then we drained the fresh water tank and I took the plug out, then turned the city water back on and no drips!  It’s working. 

The girls were doing school work meanwhile. 

We then had dinner outside, and it was nice to sit down outside, have dinner and chat, those moments are great.  And we just did our shutdown procedure from there, finished school work, cleaned up, etc. 

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