Friday, July 15, 2011

Day 20 Friday, July 15, 2011

Big Timber, Montana to Bismarck, North Dakota
Miles Traveled Today: 512.6
Total Miles: 5992.2

Today was the last day where we actually followed the Lewis and Clark Trail. We were able to see one of the interpretive centers that we desired most. We made it to Pompey's Pillar just outside of Billings about 9:00. This is the only place where there is still actual evidence that Lewis and Clark, in particular Clark, actually were on this expedition. William Clark carved his name and the date into a 200 foot high pillar which he called Pomps Tower, named for Sacagawea's 17 month old son. Later, Clark would actually raise Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, and Pomp, as he was affectionately called by the Corps, went on to be a trapper and mountain man.

The carved out words were originally saved from vandalism by the railroad placing metal grates in front of it. Later this glass case was installed to keep it safe. The next photos are from atop the pillar looking to the east and west.

Lewis and Clark wrote about all the plants and animals they found. One proved to be a beautiful plant when flowering, but a bane to the Corps' existence otherwise. Take a look just behind the sign. They are everywhere out west, and walking on them is extremely painful.

After we left Pompey's Pillar, it was time to log miles. We put on quite a few. We followed the Yellowstone River all the way to Glendive, Montana, and our last view of it reminded us of the terrible tragedy the flooding has caused. An entire huge cottonwood tree, roots and all, must have been eroded off the bank and was floating downstream.

Then at Dickinson, North Dakota, as we were pulling in for gas, Paul's gear linkage broke, just like Jeff's had earlier in the trip. It was wired together temporarily, and will be changed out tomorrow at the Mandan Harley shop. A second problem was noticed. The front tire on Paul's bike was cupping badly, and in an odd pattern, so it may need to be replaced as well, unless there is no risk until we make it home. Guess everyone had to have a problem with his/her steed at some point. Almost made it home with one bike going unscathed, but not quite.

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