Saturday, June 23, 2007

Day 10

Friedman Acceptability Measure: 5

We awoke at a reasonable time and headed for Teddy Roosevelt National Park, where we set off from an empty trailhead on our most ambitious hike yet (no other hike had exceeded 1 mile). The park looks consistently like the picture below. About 2 miles in, we came across a herd of buffalo, which at first seemed scared of us. After they regrouped, the leader of the herd made what I would describe as a mildly threatening gesture towards us. Remarkably, at that exact moment, we realized that we had seen exactly the right amount of the trail, and we turned around to take another fork and explore its many nooks and crannies. The picture shows Friedman in front of the aforementioned herd after they ran away, before we got close again.

After showering at the motel (we needed to get an extra-special 15-minute extension from check-out time), we pointed our general nose towards Little Bighorn. I would like to take this opportunity to express my long-held, if weakly supported, belief that visiting battlefields is a hopelessly and overwhelmingly boring American responsibility. Battlefields are the only tourist attractions that can get away with having nothing visually appealing to offer. The hill that Custer died on is quite literally indistinguishable from 20 other hills within plain view. But whatever, Friedman seemed to enjoy it.

From Little Big Horn, it was on to Billings, where we caught the home opener of the Billings Mustangs. The 'stangs were cruising through 7, having allowed only 1 hit, but the floodgates opened in the 8th and Missoula ended up the victor. Billings came across as remarkably cosmopolitan compared to Casper. Cosmopolitan is not an adjective Billings is paired with often. Oh, and you're allowed to buy 4 beers at a time in Billings - a constraint that, while weaker than any other stadium I have ever been to, still managed to bind to several fans' displeasure.

In closing, an observation. Plus grade gas costs less than Regular in the Dakotas. What's up with that?

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