Freaky Family Fun – Days Twelve and Thirteen (Two Days, Four States)

Day 12 – Traveled 683 miles from Spearfish, South Dakota, to Missoula, Montana.

The cemetery for the soldiers killed at Little Bighorn (the site of Custer’s Last Stand).  The tombstone with black writing is where Custer was originally buried before they moved his body to West Point.

We made a quick stop at Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument in Montana.  Quick because it was hot.  My nephew, who is from Oregon and prefers temperatures in the 50s with rain, called the heat we were experiencing on this trip as “unholy heat.”  I had to agree.

Over 260 U.S. Army soldiers lost their lives during this battle.

The location of each of the 262 soldiers that died in this battle is marked with a white stone marker.

The Battle of Little Bighorn occurred on June 25, 1876.  The battle was between the Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho Indians, who were resisting the Grant Administration’s mandate to move them to the great Sioux Reservation, and the U.S. Army.  These tribes were fighting to preserve their traditional way of life as nomadic buffalo hunters.

The Indians won this battle but lost the war.  When I visited this site in 1997, it was on the anniversary of the battle and there were actual soldiers and Indians involved in a reenactment.  The site originally honored only the soldiers, but it has been re-designed to also give tribute to the Native Americans who lost their lands and way of life to the new settlers.

Around 60 Native American Indians lost their lives and the locations where they died are marked with red stones.

The exact number and location of the dead Indians is unknown.  Each tribe removed their own dead immediately after the battle, and the location where they died became part of oral tradition.

What is amazing about this site is that it covers about 5 square miles.  Seeing the markers through the prairie grass over the expanse of low hills is surreal and spiritual.  A new feature is that you can use your cell phone and listen to a self guided tour as you drive the loop through the battlefield.

Day 13 – Traveled 666 miles from Missoula, Montana, to Eugene, Oregon, or 1,349 miles in two days.  With two teenagers who really wanted to get home.

My niece in front of the Nora’s Table restaurant in Hood River, Oregon.

We had planned to spend the night in Eastern Oregon, but the kids really wanted to get home to Eugene and their own beds and their dad and their friends.  Heck, we were ready for a little separation, too, so we stopped for a nice dinner in a little bistro restaurant (that was the compromise – no fast food or chain restaurant) before continuing our journey to our destination.

We chose Nora’s Table because 1) it looked good, 2) it has the same name as my niece, and 3) it was the first one of the several we looked at that we found as we drove into the quaint town of Hood River, Oregon.

Hood River, Oregon, sits along the Columbia River.  Mount Hood, the tallest mountain in Oregon, is over 11,000 feet and looms over the town and area.  Unfortunately, I was unable to get a good picture of it.  Just take my word for it – this snow-covered peak is awesome.

Fresh Copper River salmon, basil orange sauce, toasted Israeli cous cous risotto with Wildwood Farm rainbow chard and red, gold, and chiogga beets.  Yummy.

One of my favorite things about visiting Oregon is getting fresh fish.  And by “fresh” I mean it is caught the same day that it is cooked.  No farm raised salmon here.  Here you can get several different varities of salmon (or other seafood) depending on the season.  And let’s just say that since Oregon is a little New Age-y, almost every restaurant offers locally grown, organic food that is fresh and in season.  They were doing that in this state before it became the latest food rage.

We enjoyed a glass of Marchesi Vineyards, a Hood River winery, wine with dinner.  Oregon allows one to buy a bottle and cork it (if you don’t finish it) to take home.

A few hours after dinner, we pulled into the driveway of my sister’s home in Eugene, Oregon – my home away from home for the next few days.

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