West Route Post Number Twelve

“It was an Elan. A delightful little thing famously made of Kleenex and unicorn farts.” ~ Sam Smith

DAY TWELVE This was actually a rather boring day, but in a good sense! I noted yesterday that I stopped early and recalculated the rest of the route to the GeoCenter and home. Part of that process was the realization that I could do it in three long, long days much as I did when finishing the eastern loop. But I am older and wiser and I keep hearing Ann’s voice telling me there is no race to the finish.

So, common sense (?) has at last prevailed and I am taking four days which will be shorter, including today, as well as using the Interstate in the quite rural part of the country. The result is that I am checked into my motel already at 4:00 pm and starting this blog. The irony is that I have extra time and little to report.

I left Missoula at 8:00 on the dot and started out in the cool morning. I never run hard until I have fully 70 degrees of water temp for a few minutes to make sure I am not overstressing the Elan, so I was driving about 50 and all the cars were zooming by at 80 as that is the speed limit. And I mean both of them were going that fast!

After a few minutes I was able to move my speed up to about 67-68 where she likes to hum along and I made great progress. As the day warmed, I would stop at an exit, go up the ramp, stop and take off a layer, start back up and rejoin the freeway. At one stop, I took these two photos just to have some content for the blog.

Looking back (west) toward Big Timber
Looking North toward Glacier Park

This is pretty typical of eastern Montana which is much like South Park except much bigger. They talk about “Big Sky” country and I see why, there is little to block the view to the horizon. After a while I was reminded of a song by John Denver called “Wild Montana Skies” so I looked it up when I hit the motel and it is as good as I remembered it. Here is the link if you’re interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RRgIP-0pHk

I almost forgot to mention that I crossed the Continental Divide at Homestake Pass just east of Butte at an elevation of 6,329 feet which is lower than the elevation of my home in Colorado Springs, yet is the highest point on the entire 3,020 mile length of the highway which runs completely across the USA.

• Montana is a very wide state to cross, just like Kansas. What is NOT like Kansas though is that Montana is much prettier, cooler and calmer (i.e. much less windy) and carries much less truck traffic on I-90 compared to I-70. It also has up and down grades and left and right curves in abundance. Much better!

• The last several days have started out cool, almost cold, but by the midafternoon it is genuinely hot. It is 84 degrees here in Hardin now and the A/C in the motel room is very welcome.

About Me

Hi, I’m Ross and I’m a tripoholic. I love driving especially in my old cars and then writing about the adventure that always follows. I’m old enough to know better but that doesn’t stop me. If you like stories of the road, every word true no matter how far fetched it may seem, then grab a beer or a cup of coffee and join me!

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May 2021


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