Lewis and Clark Trail Back Home 1805 — 1806

Day 34: September 14th, 2001 Miles City — Fargo

As promised I call my friends in Chicago and Detroit before I start my journey back. From now on I can reasonably calculate my driving time and if my car does not break down I will be in Chicago and Detroit according to my schedule. My friends are really happy that it works out this time to visit them. My friends in Detroit even invite me to stay in their house overnight. This really makes me speechless, because we just know each other from a brief talk at the counter in a Bob Evans. Read about how we met in St. Louis on my Lewis & Clark Trail.

After receiving this great news I leave the motel and drive over to the Gallagher’s, the restaurant I also have had breakfast last time when I stayed in this town. Then I drive over to the nearest gas station and Wal Mart to get something to drink, a new phone card and other supplies. I am ready to roll around a quarter to ten. It’s time to hurry up because there are almost 500 miles laying ahead of me…

I–94, MT I–94, MT
I–94, MT
I–94, MT I–94, MT
I–94, MT
Yellowstone River, I–94, MT Yellowstone River, I–94, MT
Yellowstone River, I–94, MT

First I follow the Yellowstone River on I–94. The Interstate leaves the river around Glendive and turns east. This will be the road I will follow for the next two days.

I–94, State Line ND I–94, State Line ND
I–94, State Line ND

I reach the State Line to North Dakota after a few miles. The weather is getting worse now. It switches between light rain and thunderstorm. But I am still good in time.

When I reach Bismarck I still hope that the weather will clear up a little bit to give me a chance to get a nice view of the Missouri River. But it looks like it is not my lucky day. At least it looks like I am good on gas. So I decide to drive on and fill up at the next city. According to my manual I should have a 20 gallon gas tank. If this is right I should be able to make it to the next city.

But the gas gauge needle goes down much faster than expected. I see no gas station sign along the Interstate when I am getting extremely close to “E”. Eventually I see a sign around Medina. I leave the Interstate but there is no gas station to see. A sign points me to the next village. There is a real old fashioned gas pump where people are already lining up. And this gas station has no roof while the rain is really pouring.

So I decide to turn around and hope to reach the next gas station soon. If I really have a 20 gallon gas tank I should be able to make it all the way to Jamestown. I enter the Interstate again and after a couple of miles a small hill starts. Now it happens: All warning lights turn on and a beeping sound starts. The engine immediately shuts down. Great, now I can fill up my gas tank on the Interstate in the puring rain!

I roll to a stop on the shoulder and pull out my 5 gallon spare gas can. It feels like emptying the can takes forever. When you are standing in the rain everything feels three times longer. Eventually I make it. I put everything back in my truck and hope the engine will start again. At least this works, the engine starts on the first turn. Ok, nothing broke here, that’s good. But now I know I cannot get 20 gallons out of my gas tank. I assume I get something like 17 to 18 gallons.

I also know that there is no warning light when I am running on almost empty. Good to know — and good to have spare gas cans with me…

I continue my journey to Jamestown. There I leave the Interstate again and drive to the first gas station. At least this gas station has a roof and a modern pump which accepts credit cards. Then I am able to continue my journey and reach around 6pm my destination of today: The Motel 6 in Fargo, North Dakota.

I am now almost at the state line to Minnesota. As usual around this time of day I only get a room on second floor. I ask if they have a Jiffy Lube around here. It’s time for another oil change. They tell me I just have to drive through the Interstate underpass and to the mall area. This sounds simple and I assume it is easy to find and don’t need a more precise description.

I take a look at the phone book in my room and see an Outback Steakhouse. Seems my dinenr is safe. But first I want to check if I am able to get my oil changed before. I start my search but unfortunately the oil change station is not this easy to find as expected. Due to the minimal description I have no clue where to search in this big mall area. The area is giant. Great way description from my motel!

After an hour of searching around I eventually find it. It’s not a small building by itself like the other oil change stations but included in the big mall houses with other companies to the side. But it looks like they are currently closing. So I can start the next search for my Outback Steakhouse. I was not able to find it yet. I follow the road a little bit further and there I am able to see it. It’s not really far away from my motel if you know where to search…

As usual I have my Outback Special. Then I hurry up to get back to my motel. I check the video of today and go to bed early. Tomorrow I will need some extra time for the oil change. Therefore I plan to get up early.

  • Sights
  • General
  • Breakfast: Gallagher’s, Miles City
  • Dinner: Outback Steakhouse, Fargo
  • Motel: Motel 6, Fargo
  • Distance: 468 miles