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We left Yellowstone on Thursday morning, after stopping at Old Faithful one last time to grab some souvenirs. On that first stretch of Montana highway, we had to drive through a huge storm for quite a ways. It was only at this point that I thought to contact Jim Phillips, the “Antler Man” behind the Antler Shed, which I’ve wanted to see ever since I found out about it in 2013. Even though it was such short notice (since I could never commit too far in advance to anything on this trip, as our travel time including stops was hard to know for certain), Jim got back to me and told me to come on over. We had a little mishap with the RV in Jim’s driveway, but he was wonderfully gracious and gave me a full tour of the shed. It is incredible. Pictures really do not do it justice. Jim’s collected 15,000 sheds over 50 years, and although he sold over 2,100 elk and deer sheds in the 80s to put three daughters through college, he has never bought an antler. He pointed out the weird ones to me and told me their stories – it was so fascinating.

On the way to Coeur d’Alene, we stopped in Butte to (talk to a person about our RV problem, and he stepped out of his home to help us even though he had some serious family stuff going on – really, Montana people are wonderful) see the statue of Auditor the Strip Mine Dog and in Missoula to have dinner at James Bar and walk Cody around. Missoula was not what I’d expected when we drove by it on the way to Yellowstone, but on the way home when we spent some time there I fell in love! No kidding, almost every person we saw stopped and talked to us (usually about Cody because he is so cute). They were so friendly. I’m so glad we got to stop. We were back at our Coeur d’Alene campground that night, in the morning we walked Cody all throughout town (right on the water – so lovely!), and then we went home! This is not the end of my pictures, though; I still have a post or two coming up…