Beartooth Pass and the Little Big Horn

Red Shale Campground, Custer National Forest —  OK,  I’ll admit it.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to drive over an 11,000 foot pass in an RV.  SteveL had recommended this road, but you have to remember, he did it on a motorcycle.   Still,  I decided the truck and I were up to the challenge of driving over a  pass that’s 200 feet higher than Mt. Baker.  Remember that next time you look at Mt Baker, my truck with camper was 200 feet higher than the top of that volcano.    All I can say is,  it was a blast!  Where else can you drive through alpine meadows and past alpine lakes like the one pictured at the top of this post?  Whoever decided to put this road in is absolutely crazy!

Here’s a shot on the way up the West side

West Side Beartooth Pass
West Side Beartooth Pass

I made it to the top!  It’s pretty cold and windy.  That, and the fact that I my truck doesn’t have a pressurized cabin meant that  I didn’t stay at “the top of the world” very long.

Beartooth Pass Summit, Elev.10,947 feet
Beartooth Pass Summit, Elev. 10,947 feet

Here are a couple of pictures taken on the east side of the pass.  These were not taken from an airplane!

East side of Beartooth Pass
East side of Beartooth Pass
East side of Beartooth Pass
East side of Beartooth Pass

I celebrated my transit with my first restaurant meal of the trip.  I had breakfast at small cafe in the town of Red Lodge, a small town on the Montana side of the pass.

After Red Lodge I made my way to the historic site of the Battle of Little Big Horn.   There’s not much to see beyond a monument and grave markers, though the visitors center does have some of Custer’s belongings and other artifacts.   I’m glad I stopped.  There’s a lot of historical significance to this special place,  and later I couldn’t help but visualize the life of the nomadic tribes as I crossed over the Northern Plains on my way to the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Here’s the view as Custer would have seen it the day he and his men died.  I like the fact that the Park Service noted that both sides fought for what they believed, for their people.  It was nicely balanced.

Custer's Last Stand
Custer’s Last Stand

Next Stop:  Mount Rushmore

Miles Today: 252
Total Miles: 1286
Avg Miles/Day: 257


2 thoughts on “Beartooth Pass and the Little Big Horn”

  1. That Rushmore photo from inside the museum and showing the outside scene is really cool. I have to admit you’re making me a bit envious and now interested in what camper life is like. Maybe you could describe a bit of what it’s like living inside the box?

    1. Thanks, Craig. I think I remember you having a trailer once. It’s not a lot different, just a lot smaller. I’ve concluded that RV’s are like boats. There’s no perfect solution, only compromise. The truck camper is perfect for a road trip because I’m never staying in one place more than one or two nights. I think you could even do it with two people if you had the extra storage of a club cab pickup. I think I’d prefer a trailer if I was going someplace to spend a week, or a month. It would be much easier to explore without the RV attached.

      One thing that I am having to get used to is a lack of storage and flat surfaces. Accessing most things is a matter of sequencing. For example, to get a bowl, I have to remove two glasses and a large bottle of seasoning. Then I take all four bowls out, remove the top one, put the remaining three bowls back in, followed by the seasoning, followed by the two glasses. The bathroom is similar. If I want to sit on the throne, I go in right shoulder first. If I want to use the sink, I lead with my left.

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