The open road: 2010 summer trip day 14

Day 14: Murdo, SD to Helena, MT — 689 miles

The second day of heading home was going to be another day of making miles, but, we’d finally break away from the interstate for many of those miles, making for a much happier day for me.



[click to go to an interactive map]

Welcome to a rainy morning

Nikon D70, ISO 500, ƒ/5.6, 1/160sec, 31mm focal L. @79 MPH, ~63mi from prev photo, map

By and large, the weather for the previous 2 weeks had been phenomenally great. So, it was about time to pay the dues. The weather was threatening to start spitting any moment as we were leaving Murdo, making an easy decision to don the rain suit in the comfy environs of the motel room. After an hour or 2, it was all behind us with nothing but blues skies and 80˚ air ahead. Perfect!

And to add to the perfection, the Midwest was behind us and we were making sufficient time to depart the super slab and make our way toward Lolo.

Finally, the end of the interstate!

Nikon D70, ISO 500, ƒ/5.6, 1/800sec, 18mm focal L. @70 MPH, ~98mi from prev photo, map

Rather odd old building — Maybe an old house?

Nikon D70, ISO 500, ƒ/6.3, 1/500sec, 56mm focal L. @71 MPH, ~2.7mi from prev photo, map

Black hills of Wyoming

Nikon D70, ISO 500, ƒ/6.3, 1/1250sec, 46mm focal L. @75 MPH, ~40mi from prev photo, map

After a brief ride through the north-eastern corner of Wyoming, we’d made it to Montana. Settling into the grove of some nice two-lane roads, I heard the unmistakable sound of turbojet engines at low altitude and then caught sight of a B-1 Lancer in planform doing a low’ish run over the terrain. They are equipped with terrain following radar enabling a low altitude, high-speed approach to their target.

B-1 Lancer — Certainly woke me up!

Nikon D70, ISO 500, ƒ/6.3, 1/2000sec, 70mm focal L. @65 MPH, ~48mi from prev photo, map

Enjoying the scenery

Nikon D70, ISO 500, ƒ/6.3, 1/1600sec, 70mm focal L. @77 MPH, ~36mi from prev photo, map

When I see industrial sites, I often snap a picture of them to record the location and try to figure out what it is (I’ve spared you most such photo’s!). But, this one confused me since the satellite view shows a site that is clearly missing much of the supporting equipment. Turns out it’s an old sugar factory built to process the local sugar beet crops. Since this photo was taken, the place has been demolished, or, “recycled”, as the case may be.

Hardin’s old surgar factory

Nikon D70, ISO 500, ƒ/6.3, 1/2000sec, 70mm focal L. @71 MPH, ~89mi from prev photo, map

BIL VORTAC — The bowling pin shape is the antenna for the navigation radio transmitter.

Nikon D70, ISO 500, ƒ/7.1, 1/1600sec, 70mm focal L. @65 MPH, ~49mi from prev photo, map

Oreo Cows — maybe Belted Galloways?

Nikon D70, ISO 500, ƒ/8.0, 1/1250sec, 62mm focal L. @72 MPH, ~28mi from prev photo, map

This old building caught my eye. Apparently, it used to be quite the icon.

Formerly the Adam’s Hotel — Built in 1908.

Nikon D70, ISO 500, ƒ/8.0, 1/800sec, 22mm focal L. @32 MPH, ~9.2mi from prev photo, map

Think of the potential! — Great location for a meth lab.

Nikon D70, ISO 500, ƒ/8.0, 1/1600sec, 22mm focal L. @42 MPH, ~0.3mi from prev photo, map

Helena Heights? — Some posh homes on the hillside.

Nikon D70, ISO 500, ƒ/8.0, 1/500sec, 27mm focal L. @78 MPH, ~134mi from prev photo, map

Making our way into Helena, it’d been a bit over 12 hours since leaving Murdo. We moved up scale from the standard Motel 8 and sprung for a Holiday Inn — big timers, I know.

Continue to the next day that would take us over the “famed” Lolo Pass!

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