Monday, July 23, 2012

Road Trip, Part 3

We drove from Keystone, SD to Martinsdale, MT.  We passed through Sheridan, WY at lunch time and stopped at the Flagstaff Cafe.  There I had the best chili ever.  I'm going to try to copy it and start winning chili cook-offs by the dozen.  The secret is well-seasoned chunks of melt-in-your-mouth roast along with the regular ground beef.

After lunch we drove into Montana and stopped at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.  It was really hot there, at least 100, and no shade in sight.  Most of the things to see were outside, too, so we didn't stay long.  It was a somber place, a memorial to the June 25, 1876 battle where General Custer and about 260 other soldiers were killed by thousands of Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho Indians.

In 1879, a National Cemetery was created.  Those killed in action, or Veterans of all the wars from the Indian Wars up through Vietnam are buried here.

In a separate area, where Custer's last stand actually occurred, there are markers where each soldier fell during battle.  The marker with a black plaque is Custer's.  Many of the fallen soldiers are buried on this hill, though some remains (including Custer's) were removed and interred elsewhere.

In more recent years, much has been done to commemorate the Indian casualties as well.  Red granite markers can be seen where Indian warriors fell, and a large circular memorial was made listing names of those from each tribe who died and other information.

Overall, being at this place impacted me with thoughts of the sadness, violence, and injustice of this time period in our history.  I really felt sad for everyone, not one side or the other.  Everyone suffered.  It's just an ugly thing.

We drove on to Billings, MT and stopped to get some groceries.  Martinsdale, MT, our destination, is almost in the center of the state and is 2 hours away from any major cities.  It has a population of about 50 and even the closest larger towns to it are very small with tiny grocery offerings.  We had brought a cooler in preparation for buying groceries 2 hours away from Martinsdale.  I didn't have to buy much.  My friend Kari was going to take good care of us while we visited her, but I wanted to pick up some special snacks and treats.

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