The Lewis & Clark Trail

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Growing up in Bird Island, Mn, I learned early about the exploration of America.
In the summer of 2000 I finally had the chance to fullfill a lifelong dream of
following the Lewis and Clark Trail to the Pacific and then returning home along
the Oregon Trail. All of this on my Goldwing and accompanied by good friends.

My planning started in March, 2000, as I read and studied Steven Ambrose's book, "Undaunted Courage" during my spring break on the beaches of Grand Cayman. To make the journey more exciting for everyone I gave each of my traveling companions a copy of the book on tape.

The long planned adventure began on June 29, 2000, when the group met at Moon Motors in Monticello, Mn. A fitting choice since Monticello was also the location of President Thomas Jefferson's home in Virginia, the visionary who organized expedition.

Although not within the area of the Louisianna Purchase, our first stop was in Moorehead, MN, for a visit to the Scandinavian Heritage Center. Handcrafted in wood, it is a beautiful building.

Our next stop was in Bismarck, ND, where Lewis & Clark met Sacagawea the young indian girl who played a pivital role in the success of their journey. Everyone on the trip was given a newly minted 2000 Sacagawea dollar gold coin to be blessed at her statue. Good luck and great weather followed us for the next 18 days.

We visited Fort Mandan where Lewis and Clark spent their first, and coldest, winter with the friendly Mandan indians - 1804-1805. The French Canadian trapper Toussaint Charbonneau was signed on as a guide.

Charbonneau tells us about the adventure to come. His Shoshone indian wife, Sacagawea, "about 15 years old and six months pregnant", was the real prize because she knew the language and the territory.

We stayed overnight in Medora, ND, and attended the musical pageant. Theodore Roosevelt had a ranch near here and I stopped to chat with him.

The following day we drove thru T.R. Roosevelt National Park in the North Dakota Badlands. T.R.'s log cabin ranch home has been preserved and is located at the visitor's center.

On our way west we followed the Yellowstone River to Billings Montana to attend the GWRRA Wing Ding. Just east of Billings, along the Yellowstone River is Pompeys Piller, named by William Clark in 1806 on his return journey from the Pacific coast. "Pomp" was the nickname Cpt Clark gave Sacagawea's son who had been born in February, 1805.

The Corps of Discovery, as the Lewis and Clark expedition was to be named, frequently had to make boats to haul their equipment west and then back home. Large hollowed out cottonwood trees, found near every riverbank, latched together, served the purpose well.

At Pompey's Piller Wm. Clark carved his name and the date (July 25, 1806)into the soft sandstone.
This is the only physical evidence any member of the
Corps of Discovery left as proof the expedition.

As we headed west in our search for the headwaters of the Missouri our only bad luck stuck Schlumpie's Goldwing. A flat tire west of Butte, MT, only caused a few hours delay, and we are thankful no one was injured.

Like Lewis and Clark, one of our goals was to see the headwaters of the Missouri River. Here Fran and I stand at the junction of the Jefferson, Madison, and Gillantin, the three rivers which converge to form the Missouri River near Three Forks, MT.

We left Missoula, MT, and followed the Lewis and Clark trail over the Bitter Root Mountians to the top of the Lolo Pass.

From this point forward it was all downhill.

We stopped at an ancient ceder grove forest along the Lochsa river to marvel at trees hundreds of years old.

The route from the top of the Lolo Pass along the Lochsa river was clearly one of the most scenic rides we took on our 5,540 mile journey.

Continue to follow our 2000 adventure:

The Wing Ding in Billings, MT.
A day of white water rafting with Exodus Wilderness Adventures in Riggins, ID.
Continue Along the Lewis and Clark Trail to Fort Clatsop, OR.
Follow the Oregen Coast, Redwood Trees and Crater Lake.
Taking the Oregon Trail Home to Minnesota
Return to Belli's Home Page

I hope you are enjoying our journey.
May the skys always be sunny, the roads dry, and your traffic lights always green.

Return to Belli's Home Page

This page was created by Bob "Belli" Frazee

Bob at Grand Tetons, 2015
Belli at the Grand Titons, June 2015

If you have any questions, or corrections, just write to Belli.

Have a good day and come back again.

Since October 15, 2000, you are visitor number