Summer 2008 Trip: Day 41 – Harlowton, MT to Rapid City, SD

I’d forgotten how nice a hot shower felt. It’d been five days since my last one.

We pulled out this morning around 9am, after getting coffee in a small coffee shop visited by Michael Keaton and breakfast at a small general store/restaurant in Shawmut, MT and headed for Billings.

After a quick search of my GPS for “western wear” clothing stores in Billings, MT and directions from that hit to another store two blocks further down the street, I’m now the owner of a real belt buckle. Not just a plain old buckle, but a fancy one with some whitetail deer on it. I can check off another item off my list of things I wanted to do/get this summer.

From Billings, it was on to Devil’s Tower National Monument about an hour and a half from Rapid City, SD. Honestly… I’m not too impressed by the place. It features a mediocre visitor center that doesn’t really educate you about too much and a trail around the base of the rock. Granted, it’s a pretty cool and large rock in the middle of nowhere and it looks like it would be an awesome climb… but, after coming from Glacier and the bigger parks, it wasn’t all that exciting. Perhaps if I’d stopped on my way out west it would have seemed more impressive.

From there, it was a straight shot into Rapid City and a pain in the butt to get a hotel room. My first thought was to stay at the Motel 6 that Kevin and I had seen on our previous trip through the area when we got a room at the world’s most expensive Super 8. Well… the road construction made it tough to find. So, we headed across the road to the Econo Lodge; they were booked up. In their parking lot, I hopped on the internet (my cell phone data plan has been a lifesaver) and checked on the Motel 6’s availability. Their website said there was a non-smoking room with dual full-size beds available. We booked it over there and I was told nothing was left but smoking rooms. A trip back out to the parking lot and a confirmation number led to the discovery of a flaw in their booking system – I hadn’t been assigned a room number. They made a call for me, and found a room for a bit more an exit down the road. Whatever… I just wanted a bed and a shower in the morning.

And I rediscovered why I hate Rapid City. Confusing roads, streets that apparently turn into one way roads after 9pm (why else can you not make a left turn onto certain roads between 9pm and 3am?), and let’s not forget the badly timed stop lights. And yet… we braved it and went to see Get Smart, which was actually a really good movie in my mind; it reminded me a lot of the old TV show.

Tomorrow: the Badlands, maybe a trip to Wall Drug and showing up at Kevin’s apartment in Cedar Rapids, hopefully not at an ungodly hour of the night.

Day 41 - Harlowton, MT to Rapid City, SD via Devil's Tower

Travel Distance: 493 miles

1 thought on “Summer 2008 Trip: Day 41 – Harlowton, MT to Rapid City, SD

  1. I am going to have a “Quater Country Journey” in comming this September. I will go up there, Glacier National Parks, and comming down to south and throught the same routes as you were. And I planned stay in Harlowton, Montana. Next day, I will go to the “Devils Tower National Monument” from Harlowton, Montana, and planned stay in Spearfish or Rapid City. It is a almost identical trip as you descibed. However, I still didn’t find a good place to stay over night in Harlowton, Montana. If you have any good place you can recommend to me, Please e-mail me the name of place, rates and etc. I found only 4 motels in Harlowton and they don’t have their own web site. If you know good place in Rapid City than let me know too. I will appreciate a lot.
    Thanks.
    Y Lee

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