Road Trip to Idaho – Day 3: Miles City, MT to Shelby, MT

Antelope on the Run Antelope on the Run[/caption] Day 3 – March 10, 2013: A beautiful morning in Miles City, Montana.  A cool 45 degrees and bright sunny skies.  Should be a wonderful day to drive to Shelby, about 6 or 7 hours away. Following is the path I took to Shelby from Miles City:

Miles City to Shelby, Montana

[caption id="attachment_1942" align="aligncenter" width="225"]Welcome to Miles City Welcome to Miles City[/caption] Miles City is a town of about 8500 people in Custer County in the far southeast of Montana. The town was founded in 1877 by settlers who had been evicted by General Nelson A. Miles from the Tongue River Cantonment for selling alcohol to the soldiers.  It is a typical Western town and actually similar to some Texas towns I have been to. [caption id="attachment_1935" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Buffalo Statue Buffalo Statue near my hotel in Miles City[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1941" align="aligncenter" width="225"]Indian Chief and Horse statue above a hair stylist shop in Miles City Indian Chief and Horse statue above a hair stylist shop in Miles City[/caption] I took State Hwy 59 north out of Miles City towards Jordan.  This took me through high prairies in lands dotted by cattle ranches, old cabins and grazing antelope. [caption id="attachment_1872" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Montana State Highway 59 heading north Montana State Highway 59 heading north[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1874" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Pronghorn Antelope off if Hwy 59 Pronghorn Antelope off of Hwy 59 (also see photo at top)[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1873" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Old Cabin in the Plains as seen on Hwy 59 Old Cabin in the Plains as seen on Hwy 59[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1876" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Landscape approaching Jordan Landscape approaching Jordan, MT[/caption] Just before getting into Jordan, I made my way through the small town of Cohagen, an unincorporated sheep farming town.  I was enthralled by the bar which also had a pretty old Squirt sign on it. [caption id="attachment_1879" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Cohagen Bar, Cohagen, MT Cohagen Bar, Cohagen, MT[/caption] I also saw another old cabin, something I really enjoy finding on the road. [caption id="attachment_1880" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Old cabin in Cohagen Old cabin in Cohagen[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1881" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Striped field as seen north of Cohagen Striped field as seen north of Cohagen[/caption] From Cohagen I went through Jordan and then headed west on Hwy 200 towards Lewistown. About halfway there I came to the Mosby Rest Area, a real nice rest area by the way.  This rest area had a few historical markers and sits in a fairly scenic area. [caption id="attachment_1884" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Stretch of highway 200 heading from Jordan to Mosby Rest Area Stretch of highway 200 heading from Jordan to Mosby Rest Area[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1944" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Bearpaw Shale Historical Marker at Mosby Rest Area Bearpaw Shale Historical Marker at Mosby Rest Area[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1939" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Kerchival City Historical Marker at Mosby Rest Area Kerchival City Historical Marker at Mosby Rest Area[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1885" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Fort Musselshell Historical Marker Fort Musselshell Historical Marker[/caption] Just up the road I crossed over the Musselshell River in an area where it is drying up. [caption id="attachment_1886" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Mussellshell River near Mosby Rest area Mussellshell River near Mosby Rest area[/caption] Not too far west of the river crossing, I came to the town of Winnett.  Usually I would pass right by, but their welcome sign caught my eye so I had to meander into this town, which is also the county seat of Petroleum County. [caption id="attachment_1888" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Winnett, MT Welcome Sign Winnett, MT Welcome Sign – Go Ahead and Blink[/caption] The small town of about maybe 200 people really does have some character.  There is a small hotel, a little cafe (which I wish I would have tried out) and a couple of bars.  There are some old signs, some nice old buildings and a great view of the butte behind the town. [caption id="attachment_1889" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Old Grain Elevator - Winnett, MT Old Grain Elevator – Winnett, MT[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1893" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Old Store Front - Winnett, MT Old Store Front – Winnett, MT[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1892" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Old Hotel Sign - Winnett, MT Old Hotel Sign – Winnett, MT[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1891" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Old Cabin, Winnett, MT Old Cabin, Winnett, MT[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1894" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Another Winnett Sign - on other side of town Another Winnett Sign – on other side of town[/caption] Continuing west another 25 miles or so on Montana 200 , I came across another small town called Grass Range.  Like Winnett, the town of about 100 people seemed to have some character, so I dropped in there as well, and I am glad I did.  I think I was happiest about the old wooden grain elevator.  What a taste of old western Americana. [caption id="attachment_1897" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Welcome to Grass Range, MT Welcome to Grass Range, MT[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1898" align="aligncenter" width="199"]Old Wooden Grain Elevator - Grass Range, MT Old Wooden Grain Elevator – Grass Range, MT[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1936" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Old Grass Range Depot and Elevator Old Grass Range Depot and Elevator[/caption] The wooden grain elevator used to serve the old Old Milwaukee Road Railroad which ran from Milwaukee thru Montana and on to Seattle, WA. The electrified railroad was built around 1917, and eventually, the Montana portion was abandoned around March 1980, thus giving it “fallen flag” status. There are still remnants of this railroad, including the depot and grain elevator in Grass Range.  There has even been a book written about the Montana portion of this unique railroad called Guide to the Milwaukee Road in Montana by Steve McCarter. The book takes you on a trip along the Milwaukee Road railroad across Montana, from the North Dakota border to St. Paul Pass in Idaho.  There is also a unique video about it on YouTube. [caption id="attachment_1949" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Mountains near Lewistown Mountains near Lewistown[/caption] From the high plains I continued north into the foothills of the geographic center of Montana, better known as Lewistown, the county seat of Fergus County. The town has a unique quality to it…on the edge of the wilderness yet still a population center.  In fact, just about a mile before coming into town I saw a bald eagle sitting in a field. I couldn’t believe my eyes.  It was the first bald eagle I had ever seen in the wild.  And, in the field next to it I saw a second one take off in flight. [caption id="attachment_1902" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Bald Eagle in field east of Lewistown Bald Eagle in field east of Lewistown[/caption] I also saw deer on a hill right in town. [caption id="attachment_1906" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Deer in Lewistown Deer on a hill in Lewistown[/caption] One of the first things you see in town is the visitor’s center, which also has a rocket ship and a replica Statue of Liberty in the park next to it. [caption id="attachment_1904" align="aligncenter" width="199"]Lewistown Rocket Ship Lewistown Rocket Ship[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1905" align="aligncenter" width="199"]Golden Statue of Liberty in Lewistown Golden Statue of Liberty in Lewistown[/caption] I would have to say that the most stunning piece of the town was the Fergus County Courthouse.  It reminded me of some of the courthouses I have seen in Texas. [caption id="attachment_1940" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Fergus County Courthouse, Lewistown, Montana Fergus County Courthouse, Lewistown, Montana[/caption] Built in 1907 from a design by Newton C. Gauntt.  Gauntt used brick from Hebron, North Dakota to build it. Truly a spectacular old courthouse!! [caption id="attachment_1911" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Old Barn west of Lewistown Old Barn west of Lewistown[/caption] After Lewistown I headed west towards Belt and then up through Great Falls and then into Shelby. [caption id="attachment_1913" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Approaching Belt, Montana from the east Approaching Belt, Montana from the east[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_1950" align="aligncenter" width="497"]Big John Statue - Great Falls, MT Big John Statue – Great Falls, MT[/caption] But, the best part of getting up to Shelby?  Grandkidz!! [caption id="attachment_1951" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Grandkidz 1 Grandkidz 2[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1952" align="aligncenter" width="384"]GK1 Grandkidz 1[/caption]

Another great day of travel!!