Bozeman Dinosaurs

Parker recommended Bozeman, so off we went. We passed through Anaconda, home of the big Smelter Stack – the tallest (585 ft) and possibly largest free-standing masonry structure in the world. An interesting note is that the Washington Monument would easily fit inside. We had been warned of the Anaconda swine flu outbreak, so we stayed in the car, and admired the big phallic structure¬† from the highway. I thought it would be bigger ūüėČ

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Butte, Montana was the pit stop portion of our drive. Jason wanted to get the tires balanced and¬†rotated, so he left Bode and I to entertain ourselves at an empty mall. The tire rotation took so long that we didn’t get to see the town’s main attraction, a toxic waste dump that you actually have to pay $2 to see. Jason seemed to have the more interesting day waiting next to a bleached blonde woman in heels, dressed to the nines. An old friend of her’s walked in and during the catching-up she explained she was now a roofer. Her friend asked if she was scared of being up on the roof or swinging a hammer. No way, she loved it! We don’t know a lot of roofers, but Jason guarantees he’s never met one that looked like her in California.¬† “It’s fun! I’m not afraid of being up high.¬† I’m not afraid of anything,” she said.

Many years ago on a particularly blizzardy day in South Lake Tahoe, Jason and I lounged in bed watching the mountain ski report to see if we could make it up the hill to snowboard. The ski-dude weatherman introduced us to the term “Snain” – half snow, half rain. An appropriate term for what we drove through over the Continental Divide on the way to Bozeman. Another often-quoted phrase from that snow report… “Did you see that guy on a bicycle in the blizzard this morning?¬† He doesn’t have a car!”¬† Tahoe weathermen are awesome.¬† You had to be there.

No worries. Once down the pass, the weather cleared a bit. We stayed around Bozeman for 2 days and took¬† care of a few of the things that really bore you on a vacation, like laundry and shopping.¬† It wasn’t really raining, but Bode¬† loves umbrellas. In fact, at one point it cleared up so much we noticed there were still mountains around us.

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Bode and I snuck away to the Museum of the Rockies, one of the world’s largest collection of dinosaurs.¬†¬† Very cool. These smaller feathered dinos actually clawed their way up the big dinosaur to kill and eat it. If Bode would give me a little more time at each exhibit, I could read the displays and learn more. I’ve learned that reading at museums is futile and that I just follow along with him running around looking at stuff.

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We talked to a guy at a restaurant here and yet again we heard the now familiar story. He came to Montana and loved it so much he stayed. He did mention that they had 80 days without snow this year. It stopped snowing in June and started again in September.  80 days.

We’re currently in The Badlands (I just love saying that). We’ll be heading through SD on 90 to visit friends in Vermillion, so if you have any great pit-stops let us know!

7 thoughts on “Bozeman Dinosaurs

  • October 24, 2009 at 8:17 PM

    If you are still on I-90 through to Mitchell, you probably should stop at the Corn Palace. They proudly proclaim it as the “World’s Only Corn Palace” though I can think of two “Corn Mansions” and one “Corn Chateau” off the top of my head…

  • October 24, 2009 at 10:03 PM

    I’m LOVING that you included a shot of the Cat’s Paw parking lot… I spent many an inebriated evening there in college at MSU listening to really poor renditions of country rock. The Museum of the Rockies has it’s own legend Jack Horner ( ). He’s like a dinosaur rock star! Last time I visited that museum they had a nostalgic Star Wars exhibit… never seen so many cool Star Wars toys! Remember… Rushmore is tiny unless you hike! ūüėČ


  • October 25, 2009 at 6:02 AM

    I just did the Glacier-Wisconsin sprint with my own kids, camping, this summer, and it was rough without the snow! Highlights were the Badlands and the falls of Souix Falls fame. They are perfect for hopping around on, weather permitting, not far off the interstate but not well sign-posted, either. For Minnesota, all I can recommend is to put on a few Prarie Home companion reruns and get good coffee BEFORE you cross the state line. Makes Kansas look scenic.

    Hang in there!

  • October 25, 2009 at 7:28 PM

    Crazy Horse!!!
    And don’t forget some free ice water at Wall Drug : )

  • October 26, 2009 at 10:34 AM

    The route shows you going through the Black Hills. Here are some nice tourist attractions. Unfortunately, early snow my be an issue

    -1880 Train from Hill City to Keystone. It may be closed for the season. Call (605) 574-2222 to check.
    -Custer State Park. Drive through to see the buffalo and prairie dogs.
    -Hot Springs. I know it is a little out of the way being in the southern BH. But it has a nice mammoth dig site, and the Evans Plunge.

  • October 26, 2009 at 2:53 PM

    is that the big Smelter Stack, or are you just happy to see me? sorry, i couldn’t resist.

  • November 11, 2011 at 8:03 AM

    As you left this location, I think, you “good samaritans” helped me out as I had run out of gas somewhere in South Dakota. I was the one in the HHR with the two kayaks on the top. I am still telling people about your kindness and I just happened to check in on your site after 2 years! I couldn’t believe you were STILL driving!

    I want to thank you again for your kindness and let you know that it has not been forgotten. So happy to see that you are doing well and still enjoying life on the road. What an adventure!

    Best of luck!
    Tiffany DeShano

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