Mad In Pursuit Notebook

Continential Divide, Montana

Missoula to Great Falls, MT: Facing Eastward

6.12.2013. Back on the road. Weighing various roadtrip strategies. Occasionally, we've done trips where we drive till we're tired, then find a place to stay (A). On this trip, I've been careful to plan each overnight well in advance (B). The first strategy seems more carefree on the surface of it. But you need to be able to deal with the anxiety of getting a decent room for the night AND there is the likelihood that you will put the pedal to the metal and drive too far.

We kind of told ourselves we'd use strategy A on this trip (happy-go-lucky kids that we are). But once you start looking at the maps and comparing it with lodging listed on the internet, you start worrying right from the git-go. Yes, I know there are plenty of little roadside motels and cabins that are probably wonderful, folksy gems, but... what if they don't appear out of the mist at just the right hour for repose???

Anyway, as hypervigilant as strategy B sounds, it has forced us to take it slow. Assuming there is no specific attraction between "here" and "there," a three-hour drive and lodging with a 3 PM check-in forces you to check out all the byways. Today, we detoured to the Hi-Country Trading Post, where I had a sample of fresh beef jerky for the first time in my life -- not bad, but I suspect it is evil. Although we bought fudge there, which I KNOW is evil. Then we detoured to experience one of the higher Continental Divide passes in the region -- Flesher Pass at 6131.' (Photo above, looks east.)

I think I might have already mentioned that I drive slow. The speed limit on secondary roads in Montana is 70 mph. I go 55 and pull over if someone is at risk of being annoyed with me. In some areas, I'd probably prefer to go 45... you see wildlife better, you absorb more, the slower you go. Life in the slow lane makes me think I should be having great thoughts as I drive along. But no. I just am.

montana