Day 7, Saturday Sept. 12, Pierre, SD to Mandan,
ND – 248 miles, total 1279
Our day began in the King’s Inn parking lot unloading our bus with the
broken brake and loading our new bus with our new driver, Gary. With
many helping hands we were on our way at 8:45 am. Waving good-bye to
Marv, who will stay on the original bus until the repair is made, we
headed north on Rt. 83 with an overcast sky.
Dick Gelfond, a geologist on this trip gave us an
explanation of why the Missouri River is at its location. On the SD
map he pointed out the group of lakes in the northeast corner of SD, an
Eskars, or big pile-up of ice from the Glacial Period. The Eskars show
movement of granite in that area – the Great Plains – which is flat. We
crossed the Missouri River on the Mobridge.
Our 10:30 rest stop was at Grand River Casino on
the Standing Rock Reservation. We stopped near by to view Sitting
Bull’s grave and monument. He is facing the Missouri River that he
loved. We then walked to Sakakawea’s monument. (Some noticed a small
prairie rattlesnake on the road.)
Historian Tom told us stories about mountain men
Hugh Glass and Jedediah Smith. Tom said the best book about mountain
men is A Majority of Scoundrels by Don Berry.
After crossing the state line into North Dakota, we
saw Sitting Bull’s original grave and monument before his grave was
robbed and he was moved to South Dakota.
At 12:45 we had a Bountiful Buffet at Prairie
Knights Casino on the Standing Rock Reservation. We then proceeded to
Fort Abraham Lincoln. First Sgt. Johnson, 7
th Calvary, was
our guide through Gen. Custer’s home. He has been employed by the Abe
Lincoln Park Foundation, which restored this park.
Custer’s home is 3500 sq. ft.. The second floor has
an unofficial “officer’s club” with a pool table and card table. In one
room there is a stuffed buffalo head shot by Custer in 1868. And a
grizzly bear which he shot in 1874. In 1876 Custer, aged 36, died at
the Battle of Little Big Horn. He had ordered the Cheyenne, Sioux and
Arapaho Indians to move back to their reservations. Sitting Bull, Crazy
Horse and Chief Gall refused.
Our next stop at 4:30 was the Lewis & Clark
Riverboad Cruise on the lovely, peaceful Missouri River. (Our weather
was beautiful so we really enjoyed the boat ride.) As we navigated the
river we could imagine the Corp of Discovery experiencing this river,
even though they had immense challenges as they overcame obstacles
In the 1860’s a riverboat captain could earn
$1000/mo., with no taxes. Soon railroads brought competition and
salaries dropped to $125/mo.The Missouri is the longest river in the US.
Fish found in it include Wall Eye, Perch, Sturgeon, Northern Pike and
the river boat is just used 3 months when the weather is warm.
We arrived at our hotel by 6:30 pm Dinner was at
seven and we enjoyed a quiet, peaceful, restful evening.
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