The Badlands would be my last National Park stop on my road trip. From there I stopped at the little famous town of Wall and meandered through the never-ending maze of Wall Drug. Then, I drove through the town of Sturgis, home of the ginormous motorcycle rally. I was actually there about a week before the annual event, so I got a taste of the celebration as hundreds (if not thousands) of bikers started flooding the surrounding area in a thunderous roar. I was impressed with the conditions they rode their motorcycle in. All throughout Wyoming, South Dakota and Eastern Montana, the winds were relentless and gusts would literally push my RV over the line into the neighboring lane. I can’t imagine it would be a pleasant drive for the bikers either. To top it off, no one wears helmets!
My next few stops were in Montana to visit the Custer Battlefield Museum and the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. In case you need a refresher on the Battle of the Little Bighorn (as I did), this was where a combined group of Lakota Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians annihilated General Custer and his 7th Calvary Regiment. The regiment was sent out to collect the Lakota to bring them back to the reservation, but when Custer ordered his first column led by Major Marcus Reno to cross the river and charge the village in a rather hostile manner, what Custer failed to recognize was the sheer number of Indians gathered at the camp. And as the remaining U.S soldiers approached the village from several directions, they were met with an army of Indians with the intent of protecting their women and children.
At the Battlefield National Monument, a paved road with interpretive signs snaked through the grounds where the battle took place. Scattered along the road were tombstones of where U.S soldiers and Indian warriors fell. It’s unfathomable what life would have been like in the 1800s when our country was still so wild that at any moment (most often in the middle of the night), whether one was a Native or a White settler, savagery and death could rain upon you and your family or village. I suppose it could still happen today, it’s just a different time.