Thursday, July 03, 2014

US Hwy 191: North-Central Montana

For about 70 miles north of Lewistown, MT, US191 runs through vast open grasslands. There are a few rolling hills to traverse along the way, but it's mostly flat and grassy as far as the eye can see.

All of a sudden -- and I mean sudden -- it looks like you're about to drive off the edge of a cliff.

With relief -- but still on edge about the long steep pitch you have to manage if you're pulling a trailer -- you realize that you're descending into what's known as the Missouri River Breaks. It's a daunting complex of valleys, created over the eons by a river that must have been absolutely huge in the past.

Crossing the modern Missouri River is actually quite anti-climactic, as the whole thing is spanned by a pretty typical little highway overpass bridge. Still, it's a significant milestone on this road trip.

North of the river the vast grasslands continue, though "vast" somehow seems an inadequate descriptor. For the next 70 miles, the impossibly green, lush and seemingly endless fields roll by.

Driving this narrow, uneven stretch of road takes a surprising amount of concentration.

The lack of shoulders -- and presence of strong, gusting crosswinds -- qualifies it as stressful.

With nary a roadside pull-out to be found, it almost feels like you are a prisoner of the road.

So, it was a bit of a relief when I reached the town of Malta, MT, and the intersection with my old friend, the US2 "Hi-Line."

From here it's 60 miles to the Canadian border.

The map shows virtually nothing along the way.

I plan to drive there and back tomorrow, wrapping up this road trip… Stay tuned!

Click here to see exactly where I am posting this from on Google Maps.

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