Day 34 – July 5 Eastbound and down, Big Prairie Chicken, and Rain

I pulled out of Forsyth, MT this morning at 9:30 and pounded eastbound on I-90. My intention was to go 200 or so miles to Mandan, ND and camp again with the wild horses and prairie dogs at the Teddy Roosevelt Nat’l Park.

I have already explored the YT in eastern Montana, both last year and last month, so it was Interstate time. I drove past Fallon, where I waved good-by to the Yellowstone Trail, as it wanders southeast from there through Ismay (sometimes known as Joe) Montana and on to the Dakotas.

From Wikipedia: Ismay is a town in Custer County, Montana. The population was 19 at the 2010 censusAs a publicity stunt coordinated by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1993, the town unofficially took the name of Joe, Montana, after the NFL quarterback Joe Montana.

By the time I got to Mandan, it was very windy and black clouds were rolling in. A quick check of the weather forecast and radar on my ‘droid phone told me to forget camping…severe storms and lightning coming. May as well keep driving, so I did.

Somewhere in North Dakota, during a break in the windy, rainy, and boring ride, I came across a statue of the “World’s Largest Prairie Chicken”. Really…I even took a photo of it (see above).

Off and on rain brought me to Bismarck after 330 miles, to a nicely remodeled motel that I reserved earlier from Mandan. It’s super.

I’m pretty burned out after 34 days, so I will do long drives for the next few days…hopefully getting home after the heat wave breaks (it was 104 there today, only 88 here).

St. Paul, MN tomorrow, 440 miles away.