Lewis & Clark Trail

Day 27: September 16th, 1999 Garrison — Williston

I am at the Lakeroad Restaurant at half past six. The breakfast included two giant pancakes. This is the first time where I am not able to eat the whole breakfast. My server only said: “Yes, he makes pretty well sized pancakes” — I think there is nothing to add.

Sunrise, Fog at Douglas Creek, ND Sunrise, Fog at Douglas Creek, ND
Sunrise, Fog at Douglas Creek, ND

I start around seven after a stop at the gas station. The sun is starting to rise. This gives me the chance to see a sunrise with all kinds of colors. After a couple of miles I turn onto my planned backroad. But after two miles the road is blocked and I have to turn around. I try it again on the backroads a couple of miles further on. And now I have luck and I am able to travel the planned route. But only for a short time. Also this road turns to a road where I cannot drive further. So I have to turn around and try another backroad. This happens to me a couple of more times.

Lake Sakakawea, ND Lake Sakakawea, ND
Lake Sakakawea, ND

Then I am on a road which is almost too much for this vehicle. But the view of the lake was worth to fight the way through. And I also manage to get out again. After another couple of blocked backroads I am finally back on Highway 23. I follow this highway to New Town.

Highway 23 Bridge over Lake Sakakawea, ND Highway 23 Bridge over Lake Sakakawea, ND
Highway 23 Bridge over Lake Sakakawea, ND

Now I cross the Missouri to reach the Three Affiliated Tribes Museum. This is next to the casino which is also run by the Three Tribes. The museum tells the story of the Three Tribes. I also have the luck that currently is a special Karl Bodmer exhibition to see. Karl Bodmer was a swiss artist who travelled in 1883 at the age of 23 with prince Maximilian von Wied from Germany and his butler on the Missouri River from St. Louis to Great Falls. He did a lot of paintings of the landscape and the people he met. This is nowadays an important source for historians.

At the end of my visit I can watch a dia show in the museum. Then I drive back to New Town. Around half past twelve I am back on Highway 1804 on my way along the north shore of the lake. Lewis & Clark set off for their journey from Fort Mandan on April 8th, 1805. On April 15th they reach the area of New Town.

Backroad, ND Backroad, ND
Backroad, ND

I follow Highway 1804 until I can turn onto the backroads again. But also around here “Private Property”–signs stop me every now and then. So I have to figure out how to circle around a couple of times.

Lewis & Clark State Park, ND Lewis & Clark State Park, ND
Lewis & Clark State Park, ND

Eventually I reach the Lewis & Clark State Park. First I hesitate to visit the park, because it is already 4pm. But I decide to do a brief hike in the park. I start to talk a bit with the guy at the entrance station. He currently studies the history of Lewis & Clark in school. He is really excited to hear that I am following their trail. I park my car and start my hike upriver along the river banks. The landscape in this area is still like Lewis described it in 1805. The hike is through high prairie gras, small bushes and prickly cactus. Only the hike through small tree areas or thick bushes is not really pleasant. As soon as I reach the cooler area countless numbers of mosquitos start to attack me. It is best to run through this small areas to not loose too much blood…

Lewis & Clark State Park, ND Lewis & Clark State Park, ND
Lewis & Clark State Park, ND

The trail takes me up a small hill where I can see the mouth of a small river. Lewis & Clark had to camp in this area to wait until the bad weather was gone. I hike back to the car and leave the park past five. I drive on CR15 along the shore of the lake. Unfortuantely I am not able to drive as far as I want to. A warning sign tells me that the lake has taken part of the sandy bay and also the road. So I have to drive back and and search for another way. I reach Highway 1804 and drive on to Williston. My destination is the Super 8 Motel. I check in around 6pm. At the parking lot I meet a guy from the National Guard. They have a training in this area. He was once stationed in Germany and still knows a couple of German words!

Then I start to search for a restaurant. I drive through the small city and decide to visit a small Family Restaurant close to my Motel. I leave the Western ND Restaurant around eight and drive back to my Motel.

  • Sights
  • Three Affiliated Tribes Museum (Fee $3.00)
  • Lewis & Clark State Park
  • General
  • Breakfast: Lakeroad Restaurant, Garrison
  • Dinner: Western ND Restaurant, Williston
  • Motel: Super 8, Williston
  • Distance: 230 miles