Billings Montana, Buffalo Wyoming, & Rapid City South Dakota

July 31st, 2022

We left Great Falls on Sunday the 24th of July and headed to Billings Montana, staying at a KOA for two nights.  The KOA was the first ever of the chain developed in 1963. It was a relaxing drive on two lane country highways through the grass lands of Eastern Montana.  However, that evening at the campground we had a small very strong thunderstorm with hail, mostly pea size with a few marble size.  We had no damage but some others in the campground were not so lucky… a car and a dully truck got smashed by a large tree. Temperatures have been 80’s for highs with a few 90’s and 50-60 at night with about 25% humidity, not bad really.

Billings is the largest city in Montana at 118,000 population.  Heading South along highway 3 you come to the edge of a large bluff and below the bluff is the city surrounded by other 300-800 feet sandstone clifs/bluffs and downhill you go to the city.  It was nicknamed the “Magic City” because of the rapid growth from its founding as a railroad town in March 1882.  Very neat place.

Rene’e has been watching “Shark Week” on television. In one episode they used a fake Pig to draw in the sharks. They called the pig Jeff. So, I have been a pig this week. I didn’t think it was very funny, but she did!

We are on our way to Grand Island Nebraska to see Renee’s family and are making several 1-2 day stops along the way not doing much sightseeing.  Leaving here on Tuesday for Buffalo Wyoming for a night.

Buffalo Wyoming.

The towns we have encountered like Buffalo (4,500 pop) are small rural towns and remind me of Nebraska towns. Rene’e and I grew up in such towns where the pace is slower, people are more down to earth, hard workers, and no fluff… proud but poorer; not many high dollar homes here. These are the people that feed the rest of the Country. Something to think about. The campground we stayed at is called Deer Park, long wide gravel sites with FHU’s. Nice place.

The drive has been just beautiful. Not much farm land but open prairies with cattle. I think this is why I like travel days… get to see the Country that we have never seen before!

After a one-nighter at Deer Park we headed to Rapid City where we stayed at Ellsworth AFB, one of our favorite Military RV campgrounds.  As we got closer to Rapid City coming in from the West, we passed the turn off to Devils Tower which we hope to see next summer.  So, Rene’e and I had to watch “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” that eve.  Still a great movie even though it was produced in 1977! Mashed potatoes were not involved…

While at Ellsworth, next door to our campsite was another camper just like ours but a few years older. As we were visiting we discovered that they too had problems with the smaller wheel hubs. Just a verification that I need to upgrade the hubs, which I will do this fall.

We have stayed at a lot of different campgrounds, from State Parks, National Parks, Commercial (KOA, etc.), Corps of Engineers, to Military bases called FamCamps and my favorite is the FamCamps.  I feel at home here, can relate to the other campers, we all help each other, don’t have to be concerned with theft, folks say please and thank you and are genuinely concerned for others well fair without having to be recognized on Facebook for a deed done good.  A totally different atmosphere from a Commercial campground where people are consumed with themselves it seems.  I think our value system in this Country is going downhill or more accurately, becoming nonexistent…  people just do what they want when they want without regard for others.  Enough of that talk.

I bet you did not know that Kentucky does not issue KY Drivers licenses to folks who travel full time in a RV? Well it is true, but this is not the case for all States to include South Dakota. Most of this week was spent getting this resolved (planned). So, we have new drivers licenses and vehicle plates from South Dakota, who does acknowledge folks who travel full-time in an RV; good for them! In addition to getting this done this week we had some time to re-visit the Badlands, one of our favorite places.

Click here for a few photos…

Heading to Valentine Nebraska for a couple of nights then on to Grand Island NE to see Renee’s family.