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Day #6: Across Montana

Our second night in the tent was a little tougher. Libby had a headache (so didn’t sleep too well). I lacked having as much “fire starter” on hand (so struggled to build one old school out of kindling in the early morning hours). Once I had a roaring blaze, I then managed to burn holes in a pair of Emerson’s long pants (thankfully she wasn’t in them at the time). Opps. 

But, we eventually got out act together and drove up to Bozeman via Big Sky following (more or less) the Gallatin River through one of the most picturesque sections of road we’ve seen on this trip. Big Sky is also clearly “big dollars.” I can see why though: the location and real estate both look pretty breathtaking. 

In Bozeman, we stopped at the Museum of the Rockies, which has an impressive dinosaur collection.

This guy is especially impressive, as it isn’t merely a casting (as most dinosaur skeletons are) but the real fossil:

The museum also had some interesting exhibits on Montana history and culture, as well as a hands-on, interpretive history site that demonstrated daily life in 1890s Montana:

I should also mention that the town of Bozeman itself was fairly appealing.  Maybe not a great place to visit (not a lot of touristic interest), but it seems like a good place to live if you can accept the climate. 

The drive across the rest of Montana to Medora, ND was rather pleasant and interesting enough. Eastern Montana certainly isn’t as arrestingly beautiful as Western Montana’s mountains. However, it was a nice change of pace from Florida. 

We arrived in Medora, ND around 6pm and checked into our fairly “old school” motel. I didn’t expect much of the town or accommodations — we were just coming for the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. But, we were shocked by what we found: a pristine, quaint, well cared for town and a modest but very nice (and newly renovated) motel. 

We were utterly smitten.

How did this come to pass? It turns out the town was founded by a French aristocratic (using his wealthy American in-laws money), who’s business there ultimately failed (though his “chateau” remains). Teddy Roosevelt, of course, loved the area and helped to make it famous. But, Medora kind of languished until it was bolstered by the vision and finances of the inventor of Mr. Bubbles (among other things).  Today, it thrives, supported by a well-endowed, non-profit foundation and hundreds of volunteers each summer. I could go on, but I suggest you just read about it at Medora’s web site

Here’s a couple of photos of the town, including an awesome playground:

Today’s box score: +1 state (North Dakota)

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