Bozeman Montana, Great Fossils, Not-So-Great Day

The trip back east on the northern route also included a stop in BOZEMAN MONTANA. When I think of this part of the trip, I am happy for Jackie. I was also happy for me, and then sad. Allow me to explain. Bozeman Montana

Montana was a beautiful place, and the scenery was great. We were getting tired of driving by this time, over three weeks into the trip. Jackie piloted the Outback through much of Montana. Bozeman Montana

I may have suffered a minor stroke when, at one point I woke up from a nap, looked over at the speedometer and discovered we were doing 110 MPH. I calmly (read terrified) asked my daughter why my Outback’s warp drive had kicked in. Bozeman Montana

Her response, “I’ve always wanted to go over 100, Montana didn’t used to have any speed limit and now it’s like 80 or something. No worries. We’re fine.” Bozeman Montana

I calmly (read frantically) requested that she slow down to the speed limit. I didn’t take any more naps after that. Bozeman Montana

Now out of warp drive, we began following Myrtle’s local directions in search of our Marriott Fairfield Inn, when Jackie perked up. Bozeman Montana

“Oh my Gosh! Look! There’s a sign for the Museum of the Rockies. It’s on our list of things to see!” Bozeman Montana

She explained that Montana was the best state in the country for fossils. Apparently some glacier had made a stop there and dumped a bunch of rocks and dinosaur bones a few years back. There’s now this museum where people interested in that sort of thing have reconstructed all kinds of dinosaurs. She appeared to be really psyched to see it. I like dinosaurs too, so I got excited. Bozeman Montana

We drove on a little further, still not having found the Marriott. Jackie again said, “Oh my Gosh! Look! There’s a Popeye’s Fried Chicken! I didn’t know they had those this far north. We have to get some fried chicken, red beans and rice, biscuits and onion rings for dinner. This is awesome, and I don’t think we’re very far from our Marriott.” I really like Popeye’s fried chicken, red beans and rice, biscuits and onion rings, so I was happy too. Bozeman Montana

We found the Marriott a couple of minutes later. As it happens, all of the Marriotts we had stayed at to this point were great, large, comfortable, clean rooms and beds, free breakfasts, very nice. However, this lone Marriott was one of the worst places I have ever stayed. The room was tiny, barely enough space for two single beds and a TV. The bathroom was the size of most showers. And it was hot. The A/C struggled to maintain anything below 80 degrees, and it was in the 90’s outside. Bozeman Montana

We settled into our room, and then Jackie “suggested”, and by that I mean pulled me by the arm to the car, that we go get some Popeye’s for dinner. So, off we went. We ate at the restaurant, mainly because there wasn’t enough space for this activity in our tiny hotel room. We then returned to the hotel, settled in and Jackie told me more about the Museum of the Rockies. Bozeman Montana

It’s apparently located on the campus of Montana State University, associated with the Smithsonian Institute and has a world renown collection of dinosaur bones and complete dinosaur skeletons. We planned to get up first thing in the morning and head out for a day of paleontological bliss. Bozeman Montana

In the middle of the night, I discovered that I had reached the age where my GI tract refused to peacefully digest spicy Popeye’s fried chicken. My guts were none too subtle about this, and I didn’t get a lot of sleep. Jackie snored right through my discomfort, and I did my best not to wake her. She would probably have to do the majority of the driving for the next couple of days. Bozeman Montana

Next morning Jackie woke up early, as planned. I lay in bed, exhausted from lack of sleep, holding my stomach and moaning. My daughter took one look at me, and very astutely asked, “Dad, are you all right? You don’t look so good.” Bozeman Montana

I explained my GI system’s displeasure with the spicy Popeye’s food. “Honey, I’m in pain and distress, and very tired from lack of sleep. I don’t think I’m going to be able to visit the Museum of the Rockies today. I need to stay here near a bed and bathroom, and get some rest. Would you mind staying here in the hotel with me? We could chill out, watch TV and you could keep an eye on me in case this gets any worse. Take the day off and rest.” Bozeman Montana

“But, Dad, we’re in Bozeman, Montana. The greatest dinosaur museum in the world is just down the road. Don’t you think at least one of us should see it?” Bozeman Montana

I moaned.

Jackie went into her luggage, and pulled out a toy stuffed buffalo she had named Barry. She had purchased Barry at one point, in case we couldn’t find any actual buffalo in Custer State Park later in the trip. She was concerned that Mooar guy had hauled his buffalo gun up to these parts as well. “I’ll leave Barry with you. He’ll take care of you while I’m gone.” Bozeman Montana

I gave her my saddest sad face, but she wasn’t fazed. The look on her face clearly demonstrated a woman determined to spend the day with dinosaur skeletons. I had raised my daughters to be strong, independent women, and once again it had bitten me in the butt. Bozeman Montana

“Suck it up, Old Man. You’ll be fine. You just need to rest, drink lots of water, and not eat anything for a while. I’ll take lots of cool pictures and bring you back something from the museum. Watch some TV. I’m sure there’s some old Murder She Wrote reruns on somewhere. You love that awful show. I’ll be back by dinner time, and maybe you’ll feel like eating by then.” Bozeman Montana

She took the keys and headed for the Outback. I made sure to moan extra loud as she exited the room, but to no avail. She was off for a day at the museum, and I thought I was going to die all alone in a tiny, hot Marriott hotel room in Bozeman, Montana. (It actually wasn’t quite that bad. I kind of exaggerate for effect, but…well…Barry wasn’t much company, and he refused to fetch cold diet Pepsi’s for me). Bozeman Montana

I spent the day in bed, moaning, traveling back and forth to the bathroom, and having a generally miserable time. I did find a rerun of Murder She Wrote, one of my favorite murder mysteries. I’m not even sure why I like it so much. The plots are kind of silly, and Mrs. Fletcher simply irritates the bad guys until they give up and confess to shut her up. Maybe it’s because the plots are so simple I can almost always figure out who the killer is before the reveal; makes me feel like I could actually be a detective. Jackie hates the show…maybe that also has something to do with why I like it so much…that father-daughter argumentative thing. Bozeman Montana

Jackie returned to the hotel around five that evening. I was feeling better, until she told me about the museum. She obviously had the time of her life. She showed me lots of pictures from her iPhone, and there were entire reconstructed skeletons of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops and lots of other incredible exhibits. I found myself wishing I had fought through the pain and gone with her anyhow, until she said, “You wouldn’t have made it. The place was gigantic, and there was only one men’s room, at the far end of the building. Probably best you stayed here.” Bozeman Montana

So, that was it, the one day that we had scheduled for Bozeman. She had a wonderful time, and I am happy for her. Me, not so much. But, that was the only bad day that I had in the entire trip, so I can’t really complain. However, I must admit that whenever I see that damn Barry, I want to punch him. He could have fetched me at least one cold drink, or rubbed my arm and told me everything would be okay. All he did was sit there and look like a stuffed Buffalo. Do better Barry. I tried to throw him out the car window later on in the trip, but Jackie wouldn’t let me. Bozeman Montana

If you liked this travel blog post, you would probably also enjoy MURDER BY ROAD TRIP. You could find out what clues, and trouble, PI Longfellow found in Bozeman. This was one of his more bizarre stops. Get the book on Amazon at Barnes&Noble and   Indie Books