We went up high in the mountains and we came down, we went up in the beautiful mountains, down and up and up and down again and again; cloudy, pretty, oh so green! It’s not crowded, it’s like a song or an opening scene from a classic movie, really lovely. My eyes are taking pictures. Passed through some huckleberry land a ways back.

Community Food Co-op on Main Street in Bozeman (thank you Bob.) Loved this place. Photo is the upstairs cafe and coffee bar. I’d say this is an exceptional co-op. Nice lively trendy downtown area too.

Not crazy about KOA’s. Some are amazing, most are so-so and some are really terrible. Consistency varies widely. Many are overpriced. This one was on the okay side of in-between. Mostly nice people except the guy with 2 BIG dogs that broke loose and came barreling towards me and my dogs as were walking!!!  I don’t get why people tie their dogs anyway expecting that will be sufficient …   can’t you train them? No?  Maybe you should not take them camping then.

Spent a night in Billings, Montana at the first KOA campground in Montana. My space is in the back with the pond at my feet. i.e. the rear of my van where my bed is. It’s as I asked, quiet and calm. That’s a miracle as there are 165 spaces and the camp is mostly full. The one and only dog exercise area is ridiculously petite. The camper two spaces down has a bloodhound and 2 pigs he’s traveling with, right next to me two senior women with 3 little yappy white poodles, across the way is part of a family meeting up with others on the other side of the camp, they have 2 dogs, one of which bites children! They are here to meet their grand kids and are driving a 1990 RoadTrek on the Dodge Ram, like my base unit, but they are having trouble with theirs. Saw a couple with 3 Burmese Mountain Dogs, still I’m that “crazy-lady” with the tiny camper and 4 dogs! No I don’t know what they call me, but everyone does notice me, I stop and talk to people interested in the breed, and sometimes women that are wondering how I can do what I do. The comments about my dogs being so well-behaved surprise me. I’m a good camper though, I always turn out my porch light, I don’t walk through other people’s sites, I keep my dogs quiet and happy, I don’t leave trash, don’t blast music or make piles of smoke; really its super easy but I’ve been camping and road tripping in one form or another since I was a baby.

RV camping around Billings as it turns out is EXPENSIVE and minimal. I tried to stay closer to town but RV spaces were sardine-jammed and all on gravel… terrible for my dogs. Another “camp” down the road from the KOA was over $80 for partial hook-up or maybe that was without services. They had a sign saying not to freak out about their prices that they had some discounts…  ha-ha.  Everything was nearly full so guess they can charge whatever they want this time of year 😦 I needed heat and air-conditioning (for my dogs) so could not do without power and somewhere to safely exercise them. Billings did not look like the best town for Boondocking but I learned later that I might have checked Cabela’s or Sam’s Club, no power though and of course noisy but worth checking out if you are passing though and are not looking for a place for your kids to play.

 It’s 9 pm local time, I’m running my air conditioner in a dry spell, for the moment, in an ongoing storm with more rain for the next few days, a break and then more rain, heavy rain.  I’m bit up with mosquitoes; forgot to get lemons when I stopped at the Coop in Bozeman. Loved that Coop, actually loved the city of Bozeman and would have stayed except the rain is expected to produce heavy flooding and even stronger wind than I’ve been battling. I was hoping (erroneously) I could outmaneuver the worst of the storms and make headway east. Driving has been intense, loud, and stressful.. The dogs freak out, been giving all them calming pills, Jackson gets extra.

Every Morning Olympia carefully checks out the site for the day.

The distance to the Great Lakes is seeming like a joke. Other than visiting friends it’s been rest stops to walk the dogs, get gas, search for a sleeping / resting place for the night, clean the van, feed dogs, exercise dogs and occasional food stops for me. I’m driving all day, resolving problem as they occur, not sleeping very much, waking at 5 am, certainly not relaxing (there’s always something that needs doing and only me to do it) and super tired. The last part of today I picked up the speed. For the last 2 weeks I’d been keeping a steady 60 to 65 (except for the slow crawl in gridlock)…  today was 70 and at times 75 as it seems the more I drive the further I have to go… My little camper is running strong.

The windshields are dirty and for some reason almost every gas station lacks cleaning substance in their window washing supply, is mostly dirty water. Why is that? A new mood in the country, dirty windshields? Somewhere in my supplies I have soap, my own bottle of water and cleaning wand but it keeps raining anyway. Love these trains.

My hair is drenching hot, it holds warmth perfectly but I want to be cool. I slugged an entire bottle of Orange Recharge, refilled it with water and drank that too, all of which seemed to vanish directly, evaporating as fast as I could take it in.  I should let the dogs out more to play, but not tonight.  We did several spins in the way-too-small dog exercise area and walked all over the roads here including a path by the Yellowstone River and even through the tent area on the other side of the pond since no one is in a tent tonight.  All those swollen inflamed bites on my arms, and toes, the back of my neck are heavy.  The river too is swollen having flooded recently and from the looks of things it will flood again soon, it might flood tomorrow from listening to the news. The dogs all had Kaopectate with dinner as I’d let them drink some local water a few days ago, same as what I was drinking but that didn’t settle well for them. They responded by gobbling big wads of native grasses this morning then of course throwing that up along with waking me up during the nights for potty breaks. Mason was sluggish, I had to carry him for our walk so we all will rest. Jackson and Olympia of course disagree and want to go out and play! Olympia is liking the spot I made for her under the bed. Mason was the first to discover that space, he was so cute under there, I had the back door open, was the first night we actually camped and he ran under there all excited. He was so happy, I really meant the space for Olympia but both Mason and Olympia enjoy the crawl under spaces.  I have not missed not carrying the dog crates and exercise pen, my dogs are well-behaved, they stay close to home-base.

Battle of The Little Bighorn, known to the Lakota and Plains Indians as the Battle of the Greasy Grass.

Or known as Custer’s Last Stand

Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, leaders of the Sioux tribe on the Great Plains, strongly resisted the mid-19th-century efforts of the U.S. government to confine their people to reservations. In 1875, after gold was discovered in South Dakota’s Black Hills, the U.S. Army ignored previous treaty agreements and invaded the region. This betrayal led many Sioux and Cheyenne tribesmen to leave their reservations and join Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse in Montana. By the late spring of 1876, more than 10,000 Native Americans had gathered in a camp along the Little Bighorn River–which they called the Greasy Grass–in defiance of a U.S. War Department order to return to their reservations or risk being attacked. . . .”

 

 

This was the morning traffic jam before I left my campsite:

 

Chattering away at the gas stop.

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