2018 Road Trip – Day 10

Sunday, August 12

We woke up to a beautiful morning with no smoke. When we left the hotel, we weren’t sure where we were going to go but first we had to get some breakfast. Tommy asked someone at the gas station where we could get a good breakfast sandwich. He was told to go to the Montana Nugget Casino and we did.

As we looked at the map trying to decide where we should go, Tommy said we should go to Idaho.

And when we realized how far north we were, we decided to drive up to Canada. Since neither of us has a current passport we couldn’t go across the border, but we got close.


We saw this nest before we saw the bird in it and thought it was an eagle’s nest. As we zoomed in, we realized it wasn’t an eagle. Sent the picture to Evan who identified it as an osprey. Cool!

We drove into Bonners Ferry to go to the Visitors’ Center and saw this grain elevator. Have never seen one like this.

In a few towns we saw these fish. I guess trout fishing must be good there.

We drove Hwy. 37 along Lake Koocanusa. We drove up to the dam on one side and then along the lake on the other side. The lake is 93 miles long!

We found a quilt barn in Eureka, MT.

And another nest of ospreys. Look closely and you will see three in this nest.

It was a really nice 400 mile drive. Parts were beautiful, parts smoky and some boring. The lakes and rivers were so pretty. We arrived back at the LaQuinta in Kalispell and got dinner from Applebees.

3707 miles driven.




2018 Road Trip – Day 9

Saturday, August 11

Going to Glacier National Park! The drive from Great Falls up to Glacier was really smoky. As we got closer to Glacier, the mountains seemed to all of a sudden appear. If there hadn’t been so much smoke I’d have said they were majestic. We drove into the park to the Visitors’ Center to get my Passport stamped. While there I heard one of the park rangers talk about how much smoke there was. Tommy talked to a fellow who was leaving after a week’s visit to the park. The guy said that it was hard to get good views due to the smoke. We left the park and drove to Kalispell and checked in at the LaQuinta Inn.

3299 miles driven.

2018 Road Trip – Day 8

Friday, August 10

We left Miles City at 10:00 AM. We thought that we would head towards Helena but didn’t know if we would stay there for the night, go farther or go a completely different route. We wound up in Great Falls instead.

There was lots of this driving through eastern/central Montana:

Grain elevators:

A couple of churches and a hotel:

Petroleum County – In the 2010 census it was the least populous county in Montana and the 7th least populous county in the United States. We believe it!

We got to Great Falls and checked into the Comfort Inn. But first we went looking for the great falls. This is all we could find.

3047 miles driven.



2018 Road Trip – Day 7

Thursday, August 9

We stayed at the Little Missouri Inn the night before. What a nice hotel it was. For dinner, Tommy walked to the restaurant, Teddy’s Lounge, that was in the hotel next door. I got a Steak Mochata Salad which was delicious! Tommy ordered medium hot wings that were really hot!

We left the hotel at 10:30 AM, filled up with gas and ice. We drove around town looking for a local cafe for breakfast and couldn’t find one. We wound up getting something from Hardees.

Then we headed for the North Unit of the Roosevelt National Park. While it was not as interesting to me as the South Unit, we still enjoyed the drive.

Another favorite photo.

We left the park and headed towards Miles City where we would spend the night. We got to Montana at 3:00 PM.

We got to the Best Western in Miles City at 7:30 PM. We ordered take-out Chinese for dinner–yuck!

2697 miles driven.

2018 Road Trip – Day 6

Wednesday, August 8

One of the luxuries of not having a plan to stick to is we could be lazy if we wanted; we decided to do just that. We left the hotel finally at 9:40 and did the usual “first morning” stuff–gas, ice, breakfast. We headed north towards North Dakota.

At about 11:40 AM we drove into Hoven, SD to see the Cathedral on the Prairie. Spectacular!

Since we had no place in particular in mind to visit in North Dakota, we decided to go to the North Unit of the Roosevelt National Park (we had previously gone to the South Unit). Along the way we saw:

Lawrence Welk’s birthplace in Strasburg, ND. I wonder how many people now know who Lawrence Welk was.

Along our way we decided to stay the night in Watford City, ND, and go to the Roosevelt National Park the next day. But, we still had a lot to see before the day was done.

Salem Sue, the World’s Largest Holstein Cow in New Salem, ND

In North Dakota wee began to see smoky, hazy skies from the California fires.

2386 miles driven.

2018 Road Trip – Day 5

Tuesday, August 7

A first for us–we were going to stay at a hotel for two nights in a row. We had a very nice room at the Clubhouse Inn. Our room was on the first floor and we had a small walkout that led to the larger courtyard. We left the hotel at 8:20 AM, it was 60 degrees and clear. To that point we had traveled 1700 miles. The only thing we wanted to do on this day was look for sunflowers.

As we were driving down a dirt road, we saw a sight that made us slam on the brakes and put the truck in reverse. This turned out to be my very favorite photo of the whole trip.

We drove about 250 miles in a great big circle around Pierre. What a great day!

1954 miles driven.

2018 Road Trip – Day 4

Monday, August 6

This is the day I had been waiting for! Sunflowers! We left the hotel at 9:05 AM, got gas, ice and breakfast. It was perfect weather for taking pictures–69 degrees and cloudy. We had a fairly short distance to go to our next stop. While we had not really planned the road trip, we had always known that we would be going to go to Pierre and staying at the Clubhouse Inn. The direct route from Huron to Pierre is only about 115 miles. We did not go directly there as we were looking for fields of sunflowers. Along the way, we saw:

Wessington, SD

Our first sighting of a sunflower field was in Gettysburg, SD.

We left this field because we couldn’t get up close to the flowers. So we drove on. We didn’t just see sunflowers, but lots of hay and a grain elevator here and there.

Then, more sunflowers as we got closer to Pierre:

We got to the Clubhouse Inn in Pierre at 3:30 PM. Tommy did our laundry and we ordered dinner from the restaurant next to the hotel. We had plans to go somewhere to see a sunset but a storm came through and washed away those plans.

1700 miles driven.

2018 Road Trip – Day 3

Sunday, August 5

We left the hotel at 9:05 AM, got breakfast at McDonald’s, gas and ice. I was really looking forward to the day as we would be traveling where we hadn’t been before.We headed west on US20. Not long after we got on the road the skies looked ominous. The good thing (or bad in some cases) is that you can see a long way there. I have never seen skies like these in person. It was incredible!

Although the clouds lifted some, it still rained a bit off and on. Even the sheep were trying to hide from the rain.

We drove into Pomeroy, IA, and found this old bank building and this other building which we have no clue as to what its purpose was.

Just a bit outside of town we found this quilt barn.

And what luck! As we were turning around after seeing the barn on the left, we saw another quilt barn. What a great day it was turning out to be.

And another quilt barn and a grain elevator–great day for photos and it wasn’t even lunchtime yet.

We stopped at a roadside park in Rock Rapids, IA for a picnic lunch. In the park was the First Reinforced Concrete Bridge in the United States. I tell ya, you just can’t find stuff like this flying in planes or driving interstates!

On our way out of Rock Rapids we found two churches.

At 2:00 PM we entered into Minnesota and almost immediately found a grain elevator.

We got to South Dakota at 3:30 PM and made reservations at the Quality Inn in Huron. Before we got to Huron, we found a car for sale and thought of Marc. We sent him a photo of it but I guess he wasn’t impressed or maybe he has enough cars.

We got to our hotel around 5:00 PM. Tommy went to get our dinner at the Ground Rounder next to the hospital. The burgers were overcooked otherwise they would have been good.

1454 miles driven.

2018 Road Trip – Day 2

Saturday, August 4

We “planned” this trip with no plan except to be in Laramie for Miss B’s first day of Kindergarten. So we got up and had to make a decision of which direction to go. We decided to go north in Missouri into Iowa.

Summer must be a busy time for road repair. Several times we had to take detours because the roads we were on were closed. When we got to the town of Marshalltown, somehow we got turned around. As we circled around and around we saw a lot of destruction all over from a tornado that hit on July 19.

Our day started out right when we found a little cafe in Ewing, MO, to get our breakfast.

Then on to searching for barns, churches or whatever caught our eye.

Just a few minutes down the road, we came to this barn:


A lot of the counties we’ve been through in the midwest have beautiful courthouses, like this one in Bloomfield, IA.


Another barn–I absolutely love this one–in Eddyville, IA.

Such a peaceful setting.

We got to the Baymont Inn in Ft. Dodge, IA, at 6:00 PM. We ordered pizza from the Pizza Ranch and had it delivered.

1087 miles driven

2018 Road Trip – Day 1

Friday, August 3

We left home at 5:40 AM in the rain. We stopped at the McDonald’s in Cartersville for breakfast. I got a chicken biscuit and the piece of chicken was huge but spicy. By the time we got to Chattanooga the clouds were lifting and we flew through town. Just outside of Nashville we ran into heavy traffic (as usual) for about four miles. But with all the rain we have had at home, the blue skies were delightful.

At 1:00 PM we stopped at the Rend Lake Rest Area for a picnic.

At 3:15 PM we got off I70 onto Hwy. 79 to, hopefully, follow the Missouri River into Hannibal where we will stay the night.

We got to Hannibal and used GPS to find our hotel. The directions given by GPS had us going in circles which ended up with us having a small accident. Thankfully, no one was hurt. We eventually made it to the Quality Inn for the night.