I had met the wonderful Joal and Harlan at the Victorian Ball where they had offered me a ride to Bozeman on sunday night. After exploring Virginia City for the day I met them in the late afternoon for the final part of my journey. The two were still in their historic costumes when we left, so the only not authentic piece of the ensemble was the motor in the car.
So we left Virginia City with the direction Bozeman.
I had expected the arrival to be emotional, but I was in tears about half way during the ride. Not only did I recognize the landscapes from Otto’s diary, but Joal and Harlan showed my the old trails which were visible from the highway quite well. We then took a detour off the highway and actually rode on a part of the old trail. Just were my great-great-grandfather had passed by 135 years ago. And just a little bit later, we drove by Red Bluff, a stagecoach station where Otto ate and slept on his return in February 1882. It was so spectacular, it is hard to put it into words.
Finally, at 10 ½ in the evening, we arrive in Bozeman, the final destination of my travels. From New York until here I had covered a distance of about 3200 miles or 5150 kilometers, while the distance from the English harbor Southampton to New York is only 3100 miles.
The moment I saw the “Welcome to Bozeman” sign was simply incredible. We stopped at the sign and I had to walk up to it and touch it with my shaking hands to realize that I had made it. I was here. In Bozeman. 3.5 years after I had the idea to “one day” visit the city. I could not believe it. My host Mike called me and ask if we were lost, but I just cried into the telephone and said I was was having a moment at the “Welcome to Bozeman” sign.
Shortly after, we arrived at his house and one of so many random moments during this trip occured. I expected to meet Mike, and he expected to meet me. However, three people and a dog ran around the yard when we arrived, Tammy and the neighbour – and they certainly did not expect three people in historic costumes to be arriving. Great moment!
So now I was in Bozeman, Montana!