A Long, Lonesome Road

Now we get to the long, open prairies.  Most of us don’t ever have to cope with the endless, horizon chasing roads.  The landscape rolls, drops, rises and twists…and repeats for hundreds of miles.  The drive sucks up hour after hour and before you know it, the gas tank is low and it’s time for dinner.  There are very few opportunities for diversion…things to find out of the ordinary.  Here are a few from the last few days:

Helena…an interesting little town that acts as the center of government for the HUGE state of Montana.

Great Falls…the best thing about this town is the Lewis and Clark interpretive center right on the Missouri River.  The facility is staffed with the happiest and friendliest group of volunteers you’d ever find.

Fort Benton…the end of the navigable Missouri River.  And the beginning of the Missouri Breaks.  Try and find it on a map.  Don’t use Google maps…go to an atlas and try and find this little spot and then trace the river back to St. Louis.  You’ll have a greater appreciation for those pioneers in the 1850′s and a feeling of awe for Lewis and Clark.

Havre…not much here except Pig on a Pole, which was very good.

And then … nothing until North Dakota.  And even then, still nothing.  It was night and time for bed but on a Saturday night in July there weren’t any campsites to be had.  So we stayed in . . . wait for it . . .  a Walmart parking lot.  We’d heard about this from others, how it was a place to spend the night and Walmart encouraged campers.  Sure enough there were maybe eight others and we had a pretty good nights sleep.

Tonight we’re in Lewis and Clark State Park just east of Williston on Lake Sakakawea (that’s the way they spell it here).

We’re going to spend a couple of nights because tomorrow the plan is to visit Fort Union National Historic Park where the Yellowstone River joins the Missouri and then drop down to Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  I just finished a book about TR and his early conservationist leanings.  Much of that drive when he became president was formulated in these badlands around the Little Missouri River.  Can’t wait to see that.

ADDED:  A while back I was asked about an itinerary for our trip.  There really isn’t a formal thing, just sort of an idea with a few hard dates.  We plan to follow US 2 across to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan letting our interests be pulled by whatever appears.  A couple of weeks exploring the UP winding up in Chicago by August 15th to meet our niece.  Then we want to follow US 20 from Chicago as far as we can, breaking off to head to NYC for most of September.  The next main date is the first weekend in October.  We want to make the Fiber Fair and Sheep Dog Trials at Montpelier in Virginia.  We hope to drive from NYC to Asheville during the first part of October along the Appalachian Trail (that means Blue Ridge).  We’ll be heading along the deep south during the last part of October because our last hard date is the first weekend in November for the National Quilt Show in Houston.  Then we’ll try and get home for Thanksgiving.  Otherwise Lynn will never speak to us again.

7 Responses to “A Long, Lonesome Road”
  1. allison 19 July 2010 at 6:49 am #

    Great update! WONDERFUL photos! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Martha Haynes 19 July 2010 at 1:58 pm #

    This is so much fun, following you two and your adventures across this huge country. Any time I have ever driven across we always had hard dates, and it was at the other end. We were never able to meander as you are. I’m interested in the Lewis and Clark stuff. What is the title of the TR book that was read?

  3. durry 19 July 2010 at 2:09 pm #

    The book is Wilderness Warrior by Douglas Brinkley. Donna got it for me last year. As for L & C, everywhere you turn here they stayed, portaged, hunted or passed by.

  4. Mel 28 July 2010 at 11:03 am #

    Are you getting a sheep dog? I thought SC was in there somewhere??

  5. donna 31 July 2010 at 2:46 pm #

    Well Mel, we were thinking of a sheepdog as a present for your son. South Carolina? I thought DJ wasn’t allowed to go there without you:)

  6. Mel 5 August 2010 at 10:16 am #

    He’s not supposed to…but I wasn’t aware I could tell him what to do & he’d actually listen

  7. Mel 5 August 2010 at 10:17 am #

    Dylan doesn’t need another dog for his mother to take care of, but he’d love a quilt!

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