Friday, August 26, 2011

Days 2-4: A Visit to Pompey's Pillar (and more)

On August 9, the second day of our road trip to Alaska in 2007, it became uncomfortably apparent that something was indeed wrong with Harvey's air conditioner. We stopped at Camping World in Rogers, Minnesota to see if they could charge it for us.

They sent us to the local Chevy garage who, in turn, sent us to a little Sinclair gas station with two service bays. They charged the air conditioner for us; and, when we mentioned the trouble we were having with getting the radio adjusted properly, the owner/manager called a young man out to take a look at it. That young guy fixed the settings on our radio, without even a glance at the manual that I had been studying since we left home the day before. And the radio sounded MUCH better when he was finished. And, even more importantly, the air conditioner was working!

That night, we stayed in Melrose, Minnesota, where we found a little camping area in a community park on the Sauk River. There were a dozen sites, with water and electric hookups and a dump station. There was a concert going on at the park at the time, and the music was a pleasant accompaniment to our peaceful campsite beside the river.

100_0058-Sauk River Park in Melrose, MN

A sign said that the camping fee was $12 and that a police officer would be around to collect. If we missed the officer, we were to go to the City Center to pay. Well, no police officer showed up to collect our camping fee, so we set out to find the Melrose City Center the next day. The streets were confusing, and it took us awhile to find the right place; but we finally did, paid our bill, and were on our way for our third day of travel.

100_0060-Doug Driving in ND
Driving across North Dakota

That night's camp was at Camp on the Heart, in Dickinson, North Dakota, where a storm blew through and rocked Harvey a bit, but it didn't last long and caused no serious problems.

On Day 4, we stopped at the Painted Canyon Visitor Center and overlook, part of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, near the North Dakota/Montana state line, on Interstate 94.

100_0072-Theodore Roosevelt NP-Painted Canyon
Painted Canyon at Theodore Roosevelt National Park

We didn't spend a lot of time there...just enough to look around and get some photos. But we knew it was a place we wanted return to and investigate more thoroughly, which we did in 2010.

Later, we stopped again to drive a short distance off I-94 on Road 253, a scenic byway, near Terry, Montana. We came to a road sign that said "Scenic View" and decided to walk up the path because it looked too steep and too rough for Harvey. There was some beautiful "badlands" type of scenery there, and a small painted canyon.

100_0078-Terry, MT Scenic View at Hwy 253
Scenic View Near Terry, Montana

100_0081-Terry, MT Scenic View at Hwy 253
A look back at Harvey, where he waited for us as we walked up the path to the scenic view.

It was a nice break for both of us, but especially for Doug, who was doing all the driving. He felt that Harvey was too hard to handle for me to drive it. I didn't argue, since I enjoy riding and watching the scenery.

Just east of Billings, Montana, we stopped to see Pompey's Pillar, on which William Clark had inscribed his name in 1806. Part of the historic Lewis and Clark expedition, Clark was exploring the Yellowstone River, on his way back to civilization after spending the winter with the expedition on the Pacific coast, when this unique rock formation caught his eye.

100_0085-Pompeys Pillar

Captain Clark named the Pillar "Pompey's Tower," in honor of Sacagawea's son, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, whom he had nicknamed "Pomp." Nicholas Biddle, first editor of Lewis and Clark's journals, changed the name to "Pompey's Pillar."

Sacagawea was the only female member of the expedition, serving as an interpreter among the Indians. Her son was born in February, 1805, at the expedition's winter camp on their westward journey.

100_0088-Pompeys Pillar

William Clark's inscription on Pompey's Pillar is the only remaining physical evidence of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

By the time we left Pompey's Pillar, it was getting on towards supper time. We decided to drive in to Billings, eat supper at a restaurant, and get a motel room for the night. We did find a place to eat, but no motel rooms were available because the Montana State Fair had opened that day in Billings.

We drove on to Reed Point, Montana, about an hour away, where the Lord blessed us with a campsite at the Old West RV Park. The owner told us that this was the first night all summer that they hadn't been full.

It was after 10 PM local time when we pulled in, and it didn't take us long to hook up and get ready for bed.


  1. Well--except for a few glitches, it looks like Harvey is doing pretty well so far!!!! Gorgeous scenery.. That Clark signature is neat.


  2. I've never heard of Pompey's Pillar, but what a neat, historic thing to see. I love hearing about your trip. I can't imagine driving all the way to Alaska in a camper! Seems like a good story line for a movie. Lol.

  3. I am so enjoying this travel with you via the internet.The scenes are fascinating and your commentary is very enjoyable.

  4. Betsy - Harvey had his moments. :) I've become quite interested in the Lewis and Clark expedition in recent years. It was a phenomenal accomplishment. And it was a treat to visit Pompey's Pillar.

    Elizabeth - I really enjoyed seeing Pompey's Pillar and Clark's inscription on it. He was an amazing man, as were all the members of that expedition. I'm glad you're enjoying the trip with us. Stay tuned. :)

    Ruth - Thank you for your kind comment. I'm glad you're enjoying the series. More to come. :)

  5. Breathtaking scenery Linda.
    Something I'd love to do myself now; tour like that in a camper.

  6. Keith - Thanks so much, Keith. I saw that little camper in the video you posted today. It looked perfect for you and Jim. :)

  7. Interesting and really fun to follow along on this! Your photos are great...scenery I'd love to see someday in person.

  8. Thank you, Deb. I hope you have the opportunity to do this some day. You'd love the photographic opportunities it provides.

  9. I have seen the signature, and always am amazed at the Lewis and Clark expedition. Harvey is a great friend to have. LOL

  10. Steve - I agree about the Lewis and Clark expedition. I've recently read a compilation of their journals, and it's absolutely amazing what they were able to do. As for Harvey...well, let's just say he was a mixed blessing. :)


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