Sunday, July 14, 2013

road trip recap

Poor neglected blog!

We've been busy over the last several weeks and I've had a couple vacations. Yes, more than one, but I scheduled my time off work this way this year so that I could see Mama again and also spend time away with the Man.

Time with Mama was good. I see differences in her each time I see her, but she is 80 now and time does take a toll on everyone. Grateful for the time and ability to have seen her at the end of May.

The last 2 weeks were an amazing adventure in our series of road trip vacations that I tend to call Days of Wine and Railways. The overview is that we drove through Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, back through Idaho, Oregon and back into Washington.

The beauty of this country amazed me. At every turn, there was another catch-your-breath moment. Many places are so beautiful they brought tears to my eyes.

A few pictures here today, and a few more will follow for several days.

This is Wallace, Idaho, where the movie Dante's Peak was filmed. At each corner of this intersection is a sign that indicates "Center of the Universe".

We stumbled upon this fun little wine bar after dinner. As I took this picture outside, the owner walked up and invited us in to see the other work he had done. His demolition business allows for the reusing of all sorts of interesting items for the furnishings. Great place, wonderfully done. It's a new business, just 18 days old when we were there. Ray, Lana and Lauren are fun and knowledgable about wine and food. We ended up spending a couple hours with them, talking and laughing as if old friends had invited us into their home for a glass of wine. Wonderful beginning to this vacation!

From there, we headed toward the Little Big Horn National Park and the monument for Custer's Last Stand. On site is also a National Cemetery, with gravesites for service folks from many wars. We saw some who had served in both World Wars, Korea, and Vietnam, in addition to the Little big Horn and other Indian battles.

We found that through some archeological work, they were able to determine exactly where the folks fell in the battle. There were many white marble stones to mark the 7th cavalry soldiers. For the Indians who died on this battlefield, there were only a few red marble markers. We were told that it was because the Indians took the bodies of their loved ones away as quickly as possible to bury elsewhere. 

I still wonder who put the flag here since it is one of a very few markers with a flag added in. It intrigues me and I want to know the stories of the decendants of Goes Ahead.

One of the few red marble markers indicating that an Indian fell in this spot, each reading that the person died defending the Lakota way of life. (or the actual tribe to which the person belonged.) I found that phrase to be moving.

 This is the hillside where many of the officers of the 7th cavalry died. This portion of the battlefield is fenced off. Custer's marker is the one with the black inset. His brother's marker is just in front of his, and there are markers to the right of these two for an uncle and nephew.

A little closer shot of the markers for the Custer brothers.

This wedding ring, in the museum, really brought it home to me that these were real people, not just names in history books. 

When we left Little Big Horn, we headed down into Wyoming to the site of the Fetterman Massacre. There are reports that Fetterman, who was a Civil War hero, said to give him 80 men and he could ride through the entire Sioux Nation. Sadly, his lack of respect for the fighting style of the Sioux didn't work. His entire group was wiped out in 20 minutes. This is the monument to that battle.

The inset plaque reads: On this field, on the 21st day of December, 1866, three commissioned officers and seventy six privates of the 18th U.S. Cavalry, and four civilians, under the command of Captain Brevet-lieutenant Colonel William J. Fetterman were killed by an overwhelming force of Sioux under the command of Red Cloud. There were no survivors.

Next stop... Colorado and Pike's Peak!

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