Happy Independence Day!
Since we only had 8 hours of driving scheduled for today, we slept in a bit and were on the road by 10am after eating breakfast at the hotel. About an hour down I-94 we made a quick scenic stop at the Painted Canyon. Having just been to the Grand Canyon four months ago it wasn’t that impressive but still a pretty view. Half an hour later we crossed the border into Montana (with an 80MPH speed limit!).
1pm found us in Miles City for lunch (Subway) and then two hours later we made a stop at Pomeys Pillar outside of Billings. The Pillar is the site of the only remaining physical evidence of the Lewis and Clark Expedition: Clark’s signature (and the date, July 25, 1806) is carved into the side of the rock. Very cool!
At 6:30pm we were in Bozeman and left the interstate for US-191. The trip west across North Dakota and Montana on I-94/I-90 was scenic, but heading south towards (and through a small portion of) Yellowstone National Park was really impressive (and we’ll see more tomorrow). At 8:00pm we were in West Yellowstone and checked into our hotel by 8:30pm.
The town was hopping with July 4th activities and crowded with tourists (like ourselves). Our plan had been to go out to dinner before the fireworks show so we walked over to Wild West Pizza a few blocks from the hotel. The wait time was 40 minutes so instead we put in a take-out order which would only take 20 minutes. That gave us some time to pick up drinks at the grocery store next door and also wander through a few shops looking for souvenirs. We ate our pizza on a bench on Canyon Street, watched the sun set, and still had time to walk back to the hotel in time for the fireworks show at the end of Yellowstone Avenue.