Eastern Utah
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Monday, June 11, 2012

Miles City, Montana

Can you believe it??? Take a look at a map and think about me starting out this morning in Grand Forks, ND and ending up in Miles City, MT! My destination today was Williston, ND, an easy day's drive - until near the end of it.

To begin with, North Dakota is just fine. The first two-thirds of my journey was through pretty nondescript territory, but the road was a divided highway with two lanes each way. I didn't find much traffic to begin with. When I passed Minot the terrain became much more scenic but the scenery was marred by the oil drills, trucks and equipment everywhere, dirt and mud everywhere. Still, the traffic moved ok and it was possible to maintain a fairly steady speed. The roadway up to Minot was superb, and the rest of it was ok although you can see the effects of all the truck & equipment traffic.

Eastern ND:

Western ND:

The photos were taken in a moving car so that's the best I can do and still keep my eyes on the road.

When I got to the outskirts of Williston I knew it wouldn't be a good experience. Heavy traffic, mostly trucks and oil tankers moving through the town bumper to bumper. I stopped at one motel and quickly saw a sign in the lobby saying no pets allowed, so I quickly left. I drove on to a Super 8 motel which I knew overcharges for the rooms but does allow pets for an extra fee. They were absolutely booked up, and when I saw the lobby it was enough for me to leave and decide to drive on.

Leaving Williston the road was just two lanes, not divided, and there was a lot of slow traffic and trucks on it. Coming into Montana I made the decision to leave US 2. While I liked it through Wisconsin, Minnesota, and most of North Dakota, I knew it would be hard to find a motel within my budget. I turned south early on and connected with I-94 at Glendive, then drove the rest of the way to Miles City. I haven't taken my mileage yet so I don't know how many miles I drove (not sure I want to know); I just brought a few things inside along with Lady, opened a cold beer, and will need to go back to finish retrieving my stuff from the car.

I'm not sure where I will go from here. I really want to see Glacier NP, so I might take I-94E to US 12 and stop overnight in Helena, driving the following day to Glacier and staying overnight for 1 or 2 nights in Kalispell. If I do that I will skip Crater Lake in Oregon and go back a more direct route.

I realize I swore I didn't want to get back on an interstate for a long time, but to tell the truth, there was virtually no traffic on I-94 whereas US 16 that I drove south on was terribly congested. You just never know.

I found this link that makes me feel pretty sure it was a cougar I saw back in the UP of Michigan. http://www.kostich.com/Cougar04.JPG In thinking about it I realized if it had been a tawny color I would have thought "mountain lion" right away. The picture has the head and ears right, but the one I saw did not have his mouth open and was completely grey. Gorgeous animal!

So, for anyone who hasn't driven US 2 I would say it is an excellent highway for as long as I traveled it. Through ND there were plenty of rest areas along the way, and fuel stops (with diesel) in the small towns. These are good fuel stops for the most part, with clean restrooms and just about everything that you would find along an interstate.

The wind was blowing steadily at around 25 mph with gusts up to 50 mph. My fuel mileage took a dive although the price per gallon in ND is lower than in Montana, so fuel up at the border if you drive this way. I would strongly recommend bypassing Williston - for being fairly large there isn't anything you could need badly enough to make it worthwhile.

I guess I'll be writing from Helena tomorrow, or not. One more thing, I mentioned that my son tracked down the cell phone I left in Duluth. I still can't locate my MiFi, and now I can't find my sunglasses. Since sunny weather is expected I really need to find them. I started out in a car that was tidy and organized, and by now it is a total mess! It may take me until I get to CA and start removing things from it that I will locate my missing items.


  1. I didn't think to warn you about Williston. It is a nightmare over that way. I just sent you an e-mail.

  2. I'm finally back on line. Sounds like a long drive for both of you today. Don't forget to stop and enjoy. :)

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  4. I was at Glacier N.P. way back in 1959. It was beautiful then and probably still is. I enjoy riding along with you and you are making wonderful time.

  5. Glacier is gorgeous and today was sunshine! Well? I thought you were coming Hwy 2 all the way. Jim and Sandie are going to Helena? well, poo! y'all come on up this way!

    The paper today said the Going to the Sun Road is still scheduled to open Friday..... sure hope so.

    The only bad part of taking Hwy 2 is coming through Browning... but once past there... it is beautiful... on in to Kalispell.

    Hope to see you soon!

  6. Crater Lake had 3" of snow last week, and the road from the north entrance is not yet open. Just sayin...

  7. We have traveled Hwy 2, WA to Maine two times but have not been in the area for about 10 years. Have always liked Hwy 2. I guess Williston is now booming due to the oil. Enjoy your trip.

  8. Hope you find your mifi soon! Or at least track it down to where it was last? Can the company track it down for you if someone is using it?

    Glad you made a change on your route and found a better way to travel without such hassels... enjoy your trip!

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

  9. Skipping Willison sounds like a good decision. Hope you get to see Glacier and Carolyn. I know you won't be sorry. What fun you two will have...you three I mean.

  10. How could you possibly miss Crater Lake? It's blue is awe inspiring. When we lived in Oregon we went as often as we could! It's a "must see!"