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Day 12 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Little Bighorn Battleground

Billings, MT to Little Bighorn to Gillette, WY

Billings, MT to Gillette, WY Ride Map

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Fast Eddie’s ’57 Chevy… 8 years and thousands of dollars later. Very nice car…

Today is day  12 of our national park motorcycle ride. Over the course of 16 days we will ride some of the best national parks, historic sites and national monuments in the U.S. and Canada (Pikes Peak National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, Banff National Park, Little Bighorn National Historic Site, Devils Tower National Monument and Mount Rushmore National Memorial). Come follow along as we ride one of our dream rides on our bucket list.

We have put a lot of miles on our motorcycles since we left on this adventure ride. Today we are taking time to get the oil and filter changed at Hi-Tech Motor Sports & Marine here in Billings. Before we left on our ride, we called ahead and made an appointment so we could get in and get out and back on the road as soon as possible. Tyler took good care of us. If you are in the area and need service give Tyler a call at (406) 652-0090.

We were back on the road by 11:30 heading for the Little Bighorn Battleground.  We ate lunch at Blondie’s before we hit the road. We met a guy there called “Fast Eddie” who had restored a ’57 Chevy that was a jewel… A really nice car and nice guy. Eddie had a lot of stories about restoring the car and when he raced cars… I guess that’s how he got the name “Fast Eddie”…

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Leaving Billings, Montana after lunch heading to Little Bighorn

While at Hi-Tech one of the sales people told us we should see Pompey’s Pillar National Historic Landmark before heading to Little Bighorn. Lewis and Clark stopped here and signed their names on the rocks. Again we crossed the path of Lewis and Clark… but will have to save seeing it for another time. It would be 50 miles added to the day’s ride. If we had left Billings sooner we could have made the visit… So if you are in the area make plans to stop and visit…

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Monument atop “Last Stand” hill at Little Bighorn Battleground

The last time I was at Little Bighorn was 41 years ago. There have been a few changes since then, but all for the good. There were more visitors than when I last visited. The Battle of the Little Bighorn is one of the most famous battles in American History. Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument preserves the site of the June 25 and 26, 1876, Battle of Little Bighorn. Standing at this site takes your mind back to a different time. It is very emotional to think what must have gone through the minds of the men on each side of the battle. The U.S. Seventh Cavalry, including the Custer Battalion, a force of 700 men led by George Armstrong Custer, suffered a severe defeat. The total U.S. casualty count, including scouts, was 268 dead and 55 injured. It was an overwhelming victory for the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho, led by several major war leaders, including Crazy Horse and Chief Gall, inspired by the visions of Sitting Bull.

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Area of Indian encampment along Little Bighorn River

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“Last Stand” hill at Little Bighorn Battleground

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Where Custer fell on “Last Stand” hill at Little Bighorn Battleground.

The granite memorial, built July 1881, stands on the top of Last Stand Hill. Soldiers’ remains were re-interred  near the new memorial. Stakes were left in the ground to mark where they had fallen. In 1890 the stakes were replaced with marble markers. On Memorial Day, 1999, the first of five red granite markers denoting where warriors fell during the battle were placed on the battlefield for Cheyenne warriors. On June 25, 2003, an unknown Lakota warrior marker was placed on Wooden Leg Hill, east of Last Stand Hill.

As I stood on top of “Last Stand Hill”, looking across the prairie grass-covered hills, with a slight breeze at my back, it was hard to imagine such a battle could have happened in this place… a place today that seems so peaceful.

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Heading to Gillette, Wyoming with rain in the distance… More beautiful ranch land…

From Little Bighorn Battleground we headed to Gillette, WY, our destination for today. Today’s ride is just 233 miles. Because we didn’t know how long the oil and filter changes would take, and we didn’t want to be rushed seeing Little Bighorn, we limited the mileage for today. Our route was more great plains riding of mostly ranch land.

Today was another good ride with more great scenery and perfect weather. There was a little rain in the area this afternoon, but we managed to miss riding in it. We have been very fortunate with good riding conditions since we left 12 days ago. Four more days to go… I’m not ready for it to end. We have ridden over 4,000 miles and we are feeling great physically and mentally… We aren’t getting younger and feel blessed to be able to do this ride… The only thing that could be better is if Janet and Shirley (our wives) could have come along. They are missing one great ride… 🙁

For more pictures of our ride click here and don’t forget to like “The Texas Rambler” Facebook page. Look for the “Subscribe to Texas Rambler via Email” at the bottom right column to receive notifications of new posts by email. Also please take some time to leave us a comment. We always love hearing from y’all…

Tomorrow we will be riding to Rapid City, SD via Devils Tower National Monument, Spearfish Canyon and Deadwood, SD.  Ride safe and I hope we will see you somewhere on the road…

This has been one amazing ride for Larry and me. Check out the other post from this ride using the links below…

National Park Motorcycle Ride – 5542 Miles in 16 Days 2013
Day 1 & 2 National Park Ride -Getting There
Day 3 National Park Ride – Dalhart, TX to Georgetown, CO
Day 4 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Georgetown, CO to Pinedale, WY
Day 5 National Park Motorcycle Ride: Grand Teton & Yellowstone
Day 6 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Yellowstone National Park
Day 7 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Gardiner to Kalispell
Day 8 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Glacier National Park
Day 9 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Troy, MT to Golden, AB Canada
Day 10 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Banff National Park Canada
Day 11 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Lethridge, AB to Billings, MT
Day 13 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Devils Tower National Monument
Day 14 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Mount Rushmore