The Dude Rancher Lodge was the second of our last-minute reservations Sue booked just before we left Canada, and it turned out to be a good choice. We arrived at about 5 PM after leaving Glendive, MT and then touring the Little Bighorn Battlefield before continuing westward on Interstate highway 94. Billings is laid out in an orderly manner, so we had no problems finding the lodge, even though it is in the downtown core.
Once again, our beds were comfortable and the room even had a mini-refrigerator to keep our wine and left-over vegetable snacks cool. The Lodge had its own wireless internet system that worked well, allowing us to catch up on a few emails.
I also liked their off-the-street parking area that can be accessed by driving through what is somewhat like a medieval gate beside their check-in area (the entrance can be seen behind Sue in the 2nd photo). It was nice to be located in the downtown city core because the weather was beautiful and the restaurant area was only a few city blocks away, which made for a pleasant stroll. The Dude Rancher also has a full restaurant serving meals from breakfast through into the evening. We paid $77 including taxes and would return again if we happen to be in the area. The next morning found us exploring Yellowstone National Park!
After booking our two nights in Yellowstone/Grand Teton National Parks more than a month before we left Regina, I had not bothered to make sure that we could easily find a room on the first few nights of our road trip. After all, we had stayed in Williston, North Dakota without any advance arrangements two years earlier when we drove down to Mount Rushmore. However, Sue thought we had best at least try the night before we left. As it turned out, the recent oil discoveries in that part of the USA had resulted in so many oil field workers that they were booking the local motel rooms. Our calls met with no success in both Williston, ND and Sidney, MT before we struck gold (well, maybe silver) in the next town, Glendive.
The Days Inn-Glendive had mixed reviews on the internet but at least we had found a place to spend our first night, even if it did mean we had a longer first day drive than I had planned on.
It turned out to be a typical older motel, but the room was nice enough and the beds were comfortable. Wireless internet was available, but there was no actual hotel internet provider - you just had to pick up whatever signals were available locally. One review had mentioned that the signal was so weak that their computer could not connect - that was what happened to us too.
The complimentary breakfast was really meagre unless you like sugary donuts and such, so we settled on a couple of nice apples and hot water to go with our tea bags. We did not linger long as we had a lot of ground to cover if we were going to be able to tour the Little Bighorn Battlefield and then reach our next stop in Billings, MT. Overall, the staff were friendly and our total bill for just the room came to $75 for we Seniors and with no special discount memberships.
A family owned campground, the 7th Ranch RV Campground has a variety of sites to choose from. All 48 of their full-service RV sites are at least 70 ft. long, and are level gravel pull through sites. They each have a 20, 30,and 50 Amp service, there are also 18 water and electric sites, 20 tenting sites, tepees, and 4 small one room cabins with heat and air conditioning. Some of the campsites are shaded, and a number of small trees have been planted throughout the remainder of the campground. Each site also has a lighted pedestal, picnic table, grill, and small lawn. If you are traveling with a horse, they also have 8 stalls available. The campground has free wireless Internet, and is handicap accessible. A coin laundry, and restrooms with showers are also available.
Your pets are welcome, but you must pick up after them. There are some movies available to rent, and a small book swap area. Feel free to drop your mail off here, or use their fax and copy service. The campground is generally open from May 1 to October 15, however, if you are traveling earlier or later in the season, call the campground to see what is available. Located in the countryside, with wide-open views, you can enjoy the sunsets and sunrises, which can be spectacular. See my third photo for a view of one of the small cabins.
This campground also offers tours to out of the way places, some as far away as the Medicine Wheel in the Bighorn Mountains. These tours are quite expensive, however they are custom designed, and the bookings are exclusive, with no other guests included during your tour, unless at your request. The horseback and vehicle tours are fully licensed and insured, and if you wish to do a horseback tour, but own your own horse that is also available. For more information about tours, visit the campground web site, and click the tour link.
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