Lewis and Clark Trail Back Home 1805 — 1806

Day 24: September 4th, 2001 Dillon — Livingston

The guy at the reception recommended yesterday the Paradise Inn for breakfast. I am a bit sceptical at first, but the breakfast convinces me. Only the coffee service is some sort of ok. I do not have to wait for too long with my empty coffee cup for a refill.

Next is my usual stop at the gas station. I start my tour at a quarter to ten. Clark took out his gear and canoes from storage at Fortunate Camp. Unfortunately most of their gear was rotten. They used a lot of precaution but that did not work out. At least they were able to save enough for the return journey. First they follow the Beaverhead River, then the Jefferson downstream. Last year they were traveling the same rivers in opposite direction.

Their destination is Three Forks. There the group separated in two parties. One group should follow the river down to Great Falls with their canoes. There they should reunite with Lewis’ group. They should also take all the gear with them. The other group under command of Clark should follow the Gallatin River down to nowadays Bozeman. They should cross the mountains in the area of nowadays Bozeman Pass.

Highway 41, MT Highway 41, MT
Highway 41, MT

This time I follow the trail on Highway 41 because I already took the backroads two years ago.

Then I turn onto Highway 55 which I follow all the way to Whitehall. There the road unites with Highway 2.

Highway 2, MT Highway 2, MT
Highway 2, MT

Most of todays trip lays still in front of me. Therefore I decide to not visit the Lewis & Clark Caverns again, because I already have been there two years ago.

At Three Forks I follow the footsteps of Clark. I don’t take the Interstate but the small Frontage Road paralleling the Interstate. Just past Bozeman I reach the crossing to Kelly Canyon Road. Following this road I am in the exact same footsteps when Clark and his men entered the Kelly Canyon.

Historical Marker Lewis & Clark Trail, Kelly Canyon Road, MT Historical Marker Lewis & Clark Trail, Kelly Canyon Road, MT
Historical Marker Lewis & Clark Trail, Kelly Canyon Road, MT

To my surprise I see an historical marker for the Lewis & Clark Trail showing where the party has camped here in 1806. There was no sign (as it usually is) on the main road pointing to this historical place. After taking pictures and doing my video taping I follow the road to the end at Highway 86.

Jackson Creek Road, MT Jackson Creek Road, MT
Jackson Creek Road, MT
Frontage Road, I–90, MT Frontage Road, I–90, MT
Frontage Road, I–90, MT

It’s only a short distance until I reach Jackson Creek Road, another nice gravel road. This road takes me back to Interstate 90, whereas I am following again the smaller Frontage Road as usual. I am able to stay off the Interstate all the way to Livingston, which is my destination for today.

I arrive just past 3pm. But even this early I get the last room on the first floor. The guy gives me a special price for the double bed room, because all single bed rooms are already taken. Usually the price would be much higher. I say thank you and ask for the nearest post office. I have plenty of time until dinner. This gives me the chance to eventually write all my postcards which are traveling with me for several hundred miles.

Finally I ask for a nice dinner place. He recommends the Spokane, a very good steakhouse. I thank him again and drag my stuff into my room. Then I check the videos of today. After that it’s time to start the card writing marathon. When I am finished it is almost too late for the post office. I give it a try anyway and drive into the city. But the counters are already closed. I am half an hour too late. Looks like I have no other choice than to stop by tomorrow morning. They open half past eight according to the timetable at the door.

I leave the post office and start to search for my restaurant. I got a very good way description which makes it easy to find the restaurant — but not a spot to park my car. After driving around the block I see some space in a reasonable walking distance to the restaurant.

It doesn’t look much from the outside. Just an old downtown house. After entering you run into a giant bar with a bunch of slot machines. The door to the restaurant is at the other end of the room. There are not too many tables. But I am early and so I get a table after a short waiting time. At the entrance is a sign shwooing they don’t take plastic — credit card — for payment. Lucky me I have enough cash with me.

The prices are more on the upper level. But the food is also at the appropriate level. The steak is exactly as I have ordered it. After this great meal I leave the restaurant. The cashier is the bartender at this giant bar. I have the chance to start a conversation with him. He is really excited when I tell him that I am following the Lewis & Clark Trail. Especially that a guy from Germany is following this trail and also buys a car to do these trails.

I leave the restaurant around 8pm and drive back to my motel. I plan to make a not yet planned stopover in Columbus at the Montana Silversmiths. I need some buckles, bolo-ties and ear rings as a gift. Therefore it is not too bad if I have a chance to go to bed early.

  • Sights
  • Lewis &Clark Camp, Kelly Canyon Road
  • General
  • Breakfast: Paradise Inn, Dillon
  • Dinner: Stokane, Livingston
  • Motel: Super 8, Livingston
  • Distance: 168 miles