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Just like in Wyoming last month, our first night in Montana, a new state for us (our 48th), will be spent in a Walmart parking Lot.

We are overnighting here to position ourselves to visit Pompeys Pillar National Monument tomorrow morning before we cruise on down the highway for another 150-mile driving day.

But I'm getting a little bit ahead of myself, that's what's happening tommorow. Let's talk about what we did and what we saw today!

With a 246-mile driving day ahead of us we got off to a fairly early start, 8:30AM to be exact. The first 14-miles of the route today took us out the West Entrance of Yellowstone National Park, a route we had previously driven, but without THE POD. Today, since we had THE POD along with us, we gave ourselves credit for crossing a new state border, Wyoming into Montana, our 82nd such crossing. You can check out all the others HERE if you feel so inclined.

In the gateway town of West Yellowstone, MT we made a 90° turn to the right to stay on US-191, the same road we've traveled upon through Grand Teton National Park and the southwest side of Yellowstone National Park.

Just north of West Yellowstone we briefly found ourselves back in Wyoming and back in Yellowstone National Park. As soon as we crossed back into Montana we entered a very wide, but very definitive canyon.

We then saw signs telling us we've "Entered the Gallatin National Forest" and soon began seeing signs for trailheads and campgrounds. All along this portion of the drive was the Gallantin River, which we criss-crossed several times over the next 65-miles.

Along the road there were countless businesses offering rafting adventures down the river, and it wasn't long before we saw some of them doing just that.

In the following photo several people in the rear raft appear to be scanning up into the trees looking for something...

...and I'll bet those guides steering the raft know exactly where to look. That's why you pay to have a guide take you down the river and not just rent a raft and float the river on your own.

YEP! They've spotted something and are pointing it out to the raft coming up behind them.

In addition, because of them, we too have spotted what it is they are looking at. Thanks guys!

Not one...

...but two American Bald Eagles.

The American Bald Eagle has been the national emblem of the United States since 1782
and a spiritual symbol for native people for far longer than that.

After the excitement of seeing the eagles we returned to the road and when we got to the small township of Four Corners, outside of Bozeman, MT we pulled into a gas station to fill up before getting onto Interstate-90 to finish up the last 150-miles of today's drive.

While at the Conoco Station I began a conversation with a Class A Motorhome driver who was filling up with diesel fuel. I only need about 18-gallons to top off the tank, but the other driver was pumping when we pulled in and was still pumping when we pulled out. I sure am glad I don't have to pay his fuel bill.

In addition to his 40' Motorhome he was pulling a 25' cargo trailer. When I asked what was inside the trailer he simply said, "All of my toys!" In other word, a 4x4 Jeep Wrangler and his prize possesion, a Harley Davidson motorcycle. He's headed to Sturgis, SD for the 2023 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally (Aug 4-13).

We thought we were at a large rally when we had 2300+ attendees at the Airstream Rally in Rock Springs, WY last month. The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is not just a biker rally but a regional celebration. It draws over 500,000 people on average to the small town of Sturgis each year.

I'm glad we won't be anywhere near Sturgis until the week after the Rally is all over.

After we talked about him heading to Sturgis he asked where we were going. Turns out we both were planning on spending the night in the same Walmart parking lot tonight, the one 150-miles still down the road.

About 50-miles outside of Billings, MT (our destination) we pulled over in a Rest Area to stretch our legs and take a restroom break. It was here that we saw this sign and thought we ought to share it with you.

What? Like Montana rattlesnakes won't/can't bite you if you stay on the sidewalk?

Sure enough, after we arrived in Billings and visited a Costco across the street, before the Target Store a few miles down the road, we arrived at the Walmart (1 of 2 in town) and found our new friend already setting up in the parking lot. It's kind of hard to miss a 40' motorhome with a 25' cargo trailer, even in a crowded giant-sized Walmart Parking lot.

I went over to say hello before entering the store and congratulated him on squeezing his rig into the parking lot. After entering the store I went straight to the water filling machine in the rear of the store to start filling our three empty 3-gallon water bottles. Just as I finished filling my bottles, Dave (the guy in the motorhome) was walking up behind me to fill his four 1-gallon jugs.

We joked about how the "free overnight parking" at Walmart usually ends up costing about $100 in groceries and we both agreed that's what they're hoping for by letting us stay "for free".

It's 9:30PM and I need to get some sleep. We're getting up early tomorrow and traveling another 150-miles down the Interstate, ironically to another Walmart.

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