Pompeys Pillar National Monument on the Lewis and Clark Trail

09/08/17 Friday in Billings, MT

Today we traveled to Dickenson, ND (our first time in North Dakota), stopping at Pompey’s (POM pees) Pillar outside of Billings. As Lewis and Clark were leaving the West for Washington DC, they planned to meet at the Missouri Badlands, where the Little Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers meet. They took 2 different routes to add more knowledge to their understanding of this western territory. Clark took the Yellowstone route, with Sacajawea leading the way. At this time her child, John Baptist Charbonneau, was nicknamed Pomp by Clark. She led them to this rock that stands out on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains, affording a great 360 degree view of the plains beyond. It also happened to be a place of great sacred significance for the nearby Indian tribes, where many left their images (petroglyphs) on it. Clark signed it as well, with the date of his signature: July 25, 1806. The park has placed a glass cover over it to protect it, but you can still make out the lettering.

pillar 5

pillar 07

Bullboat built by Lewis’ men from Bison hide and Cottonwood limbs because Indians had stolen their horses.

pillar 08

Canoes built by BLM employees as replicas of those built out of Cottonwood trees by Clark’s men to travel the Yellowstone River.

Onward to North Dakota!


Our motel is right next to an Elks Lodge. It looked like they serve meals. Well they do it up with “Fine Dining”, complete with a pianist playing lovely movie tunes and expensive prices. Oh well, why not? We shared the 12 oz. Elks burger (with bacon and mushrooms); I had a quarter while John had ¾ of it. Rich and yummy. I also had salads from the salad bar. We tried to walk off some of those calories by going to the nearby Cash Wise grocery store, checking out their offerings and buying some frozen berries. Headed for our Comfort Inn motel room to explore that place. They had quite the waterpark additions to their swimming pool which ensured the loud echoes of kids screaming. Not so relaxing for us older folks.


About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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