The final days of the road trip were by far the longest of the entire trip. Day 20 took me from West Yellowstone, MT to Medora, ND. This was nearly 520 miles and I had to be in Medora for the Musical at 8:30. I got going about 8:30 and it was a nice drive north out of West Yellowstone, which actually took me back into Wyoming and through the edge of Yellowstone NP. The route followed the Gallatin River which was really nice, I saw lots of fly fishermen along the way.
At Bozeman, I connected to I-90 and the pace really picked up. Most of my driving the last three weeks has been on older US highways or state highways and you just can’t drive that fast, Interstate Highways rock! I hadn’t planned to stop anywhere along the way, but saw a sign for Pompeys Pillar and checked my map to confirm that it was right next to the highway so figured I could use a short break from driving. I had no idea what it was, but it was a national historic site, so what the heck.
Turns out, Pompeys Pillar is a big rock in the middle of the plains that Native Americans had known about for awhile. William Clark (of Lewis and Clark) came across it in July of 1806 and carved his name on the rock. It’s pretty much the only visible evidence left anywhere of the Lewis and Clark expidition. A new visitor center just opened Memorial Day this year.
From there it was on to Medora and I made it there by about 5 o’clock. Got my tent set up and then took a quick tour through part of the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Lots of prairie dogs and beautiful scenery. I couldn’t spend too much time though as I had to be back in Medora for the show. I got there about 8:00 and as the sun was going down, the temperature dropped nicely and it was a perfect night to see the show.
The featured act for the entire summer is a group of acrobats from Kenya. It’s seven guys and they do some pretty amazing things. One of the highlights was the flaming limbo bar placed atop two Coke bottles! The other act was a comedian from New York and he was quite funny.
Saturday was the last day on the road and was scheduled to be just over 570 miles – a long day! However, I had gotten an e-mail from my mom earlier in the week saying that my grandpa was not doing too well. It’s been quite awhile since I’d seen him and since I wasn’t too far away, I though I should make a detour up to Tioga. I made it up there just before noon (would have been earlier, but those darn time zones work against you when you’re travelling east). I spent about an hour with him and then was on the road shortly after 1. So the little detour added about 240 miles making this by far the longest day of the trip. After over 800 miles and I don’t know how many hours, I pulled into my garage at midnight. Good night!