November 21, 2015
If I’m to be completely honest, I don’t remember what (if anything) I learned about Lewis and Clark. I know that with Sakajewea they explored and mapped much of the northwestern United States including the areas that now make up Teton, Yellowstone and the National Forest south of Great Falls. Honestly, if for nothing else, I’m grateful to them because these places are overwhelmingly beautiful.
We chose to take HWY 89 route to Great Falls over the freeway and the time difference was pretty small – Google suggests it’s around 15 minutes but in reality it’s about an hour longer. But so completely worth it. In about two minutes from the hotel we were on a rural road that quickly had us on HWY 86 which in itself was a great riding road. The road twisted, turned, rose and dropped like crazy. It felt like every turn flew in the face of the posted 70 MPH speed limit. It would have been nuts to charge this road at that speed. Add to that the fact that it was an open range with cattle sitting roadside I had to quietly wonder if the officials in Montana weren’t working hard at keeping the population size down :) Regardless, what a beautiful way to start the day.
Soon we headed north on HWY 89 and climbed into Lewis & Clark National Forest. If you ever need to travel north/south to Great Falls/Bozeman I couldn’t recommend this road more highly. It was quiet, the road is gently sweeping, and your path seems to dance with a river almost the entire time. The only intimidating part of this route is perhaps the lack of services on the way. Fill up your tank early and as often as you can. We made it through no problems but I may have been more anxious with my Duc and it’s smaller fuel capacity.
The trees and brush often bordered the road hiding little creatures along the way. We saw some deer but the only bugger to run out in front of us a little black field mouse whose little legs pumping to get him across the road would have made the main page at cuteoverload.com for sure.
After the full day in Yellowstone, the trip through Lewis & Clark National Forest seemed all too short and on another day we may have just turned around and done it all again.
We pulled into Great Fall, MT and it seemed like absolute mayhem! We were told when we booked the room that this was the last room available in the entire town – and from the number of people being turned away from hotels and sleeping in cars it seemed to be true. We’ve been blessed on this trip. It turns out that the county fair was on, as well as stock-car and horse racing so the town was all aflutter.
For us, it was dinner, a walk around the area and watching the storms roll in before settling down for our last night in the States.