Sheridan, WY 7/18 - 7/19

We drove from just outside of Yellowstone Park to Sheridan, WY today and we didn't get into Sheridan until around 6:30 this evening. The reason for the delay was a stop at the Custer Battlefield Historic Park. We are staying at the Sheridan KOA.

The main reason we stopped in Sheridan was to see if I could locate the ranch I spent the Summer when I was 15 years old. All I could remember was it was North of Sheridan on the Montana - Wyoming border. I stayed with Chuck and Joanne Bell who I had met when Dad and I stayed at a dude ranch in Wickenburg, AZ.

Of course nothing looked the same and I was about to give up when we drove by the small town of Decker, MT. Decker has a population of less than 10 people and it has a new post office and one other old building. Sue suggested I stop in and ask if they knew of the Bells. I wasn't even sure if they ever lived in the area. Well I did stop there and I couldn't believe it when the lady behind the counter not only knew them but she had married Joanne's brother. I also found out that Joanne still lives in Sheridan but unfortunately Chuck had passed away a few years back. I did call Joanne she invited Susan me to visit her and see some of Chucks woodcarving. As it turned out, he was a professional wood carver and did some beautiful work. Joanne is standing beside some of his carvings. What a delight to discover her again after all these years and to see Chuck's wonderful carvings. I had no idea he was so talented.

This is a panoramic shot of the hill where Custer was found. The Cherokee and Lakota Sioux village was just to the right of the grove of trees down by the river. There were about 1600 warriors to Custer's 200 + men. He had greatly underestimated the number he was up against.
We spent about two and a half hours listening to Ranger talks and driving the battlefields listening to an auto tour tape and walking on the self-guiding tours. It was fascinating. The area around the battlefield is very much like it was on June 25th 1876, so it was energizing to visualize the battle and what the cavalry was up against. There are also white tombstone markers every place a soldier died on the battlefield, after listening to the audio tapes it you could almost feel the panic and disorganization that took place as the soldiers tried to escape the massacre and retreat to cover. None of them made it.