Thursday, October 31, 2013

Birthday Trip Continued

In addition to spending time with my mom, visiting friends, and checking out some of the local shops and restaurants, Vince & I spent some time checking out some historical places outside of Billings that were really extraordinary.

Our first stop outside of town was Pompey's Pillar
and its accompanying visitor's center / museum

Dugout canoes

Information and displays inside the museum

Bullboats (small boats made of buffalo hides)

…and Pompey's Pillar- a beautiful rock formation named 
after Sacajawea's son. This landmark was a great sign for
Lewis & Clark and their Core of Discovery team

Here is where William Clark carved his initials on the pillar- so cool!

After visiting Pompey's Pillar, we headed to the Bighorn County 
Museum in Hardin, MT. These cabins were modeled after cabins 
used by Custer's troops at Fort Custer

A beautiful teepee replica

Painting of Custer's Last Stand

Various arrowheads, spearheads, and hide-scrapers

Just a few of the many gorgeous black-and-white photos

Some articles from the troops


…and weapons- pretty cool. Next stop: the real scene of the battle!

Here is where Custer's Last Stand took place

Some information about the site

Photos of Teddy Roosevelt and Sitting Bull

Short summary of the battle

Wow- this would take some getting used to!


Another perspective of the battle

Vince and I near one of the large memorial stones

In addition to visiting the main burial area and the visitors' center,
you also have the option to walk along a path that depicts the battle…
which to me was the best part. This sign was near the start of the trail- ssss!

The red markers were for the Native American warriors

Signs along the trail did a great job depicting the battle

The white markers were for Custer's troops

Pretty amazing- I had no idea of the distance covered by
this battle. It was a very educational and evocative visit; so 
glad we had the opportunity to go here :)

Another great place we saw was the Madison Buffalo Jump

Some information about the site

Although many buffalo were killed this way, everything was used

…and the jump itself; how neat! We stopped here on 
our drive back to Washington, and it was a great last major 
"landmark" stop before our return. We are definitely looking forward 
to our next visit to Big Sky country :)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Birthday Trip 2013

Wow! It's been awhile since I've written, but I think I needed a little downtime ;) Here's to catching up! For my birthday this year, I decided to make a trip to Montana to visit my mom and some of my bestest (yes, I know this isn't a real word, but it works) friends- and, I wanted to take my sweetie to meet them. I flew into Wenatchee to meet my honey (Vince), and then we took the scenic (a.k.a. driving) route from there to Billings, Montana. What a great trip! It's been some time since I had seen the rugged beauty of the MT countryside, so it was a refreshing road trip. My only regret is not stopping to take more pictures along the way… I will be sure to do that next time! We were on a mission to get from point A to B because we wanted to try and maximize my time with mom, but I did get some good pics once we made it to Billings…

…count on me to make my first picture a food-related one, but this was
our first stop in Billings (hey- we were hungry!). This little gem is a great
BBQ place on the way to my mom's house, and boy was it good!

Nothing fancy, but it was delish- best brisket I've ever had…

After stopping at Blue's BBQ to re-fuel, Vince and I headed to my mom's house for some good visiting time. It was really good to see my mom, and we made plans for the next day (my birthday). Next stop: hotel and bed!

I made our reservations at the Best Western Clocktower Inn (you can see the sign peeking out from behind Stella's)… I was thinking ahead! Not only is it right in downtown Billings, but it is right next to the best breakfast place in town ;)

I HAD to show Vince the cinnamon-rolls there! I was trying to save myself
for my birthday dinner, but I couldn't help myself… after staring at his cinnamon
roll the whole time I was eating my breakfast, I had to at least "help" a little hehe...

Needless to say, we were pretty full after that breakfast, so we decided
to walk around downtown and had a lot of fun. The weather was beautiful,
and we found some really cool antique stores that were full of history.

Okay, so we were still full at lunchtime, but we met one of my best
friends Jean at a local lunch spot and had a great time catching up :)

The rest of our afternoon was mostly spent trying to walk off breakfast, but we did find a few treasures at the antique stores: I got an old cookbook from Butte, and Vince found some great arrowheads, an old bison tooth, and an Indian hide-scraper to take home… and then it was time to pick my mom up and head to dinner!

We went to Juliano's for my birthday dinner (my choice). Not only
is it the BEST restaurant in town, but it was a lot of fun for me to go
there because I used to work there in the kitchen… probably my
favorite job ever to this day. The visit there was especially great
since V made sure to reserve a table near the kitchen- yay!

My mom :)

Mmm! Both Vince and I chose the elk medallions with mashed potatoes
in a red wine and berry demi-glace. SO good! 

With full bellies and happy hearts, we headed back to my mom's place after dinner to play some cards. Great ending to a great day!

The following morning, we headed up to my aunt's house for a visit. As always, it was great to see her. My aunt Cathy (my mom's sister) is the aunt I know the best, so it is always special getting to visit.

Aunt Cathy

Her pup Abby :)

After our visit, Vince and I decided to head up to one of the trails along Billings' Rimrocks for a little history, a little exercise, and a lot of sunshine.

One of the trail markers

Neat info on an interesting Montana character…

Later that day, we headed to a barbecue with my good friends Steve & Maggie. They had generously invited us over for some elk steaks. As always, it was fun to catch up with them, and the elk was delicious!

Steve telling stories on the porch :)

…and Steve & Maggie starting up the fire pit. Good times!

The next day, we decided to check out some more of the local history, so we set off for the Pictograph Cave State Park on the outskirts of town.

One of the two main caves- the "Ghost Cave"

Vince checking out the pictographs

The red colored drawings were the easiest to spot...

Some info on the drawings

A timeline to put the dates in perspective… very cool! I left in awe :)

We decided on Mexican for dinner- and went to one of my mom's favorite spots

Yum! Found something else I need to learn how to make ;)