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Old 07-04-2019, 08:22 AM   #1
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Montana Roads

I'm heading from Badlands NP up to Glacier NP in a couple of days. Looks like I can save some miles and see some different scenery going on 212 west near Sturgis instead of I90. Anybody been on this route?

Heading to Custer's last stand for one night, it looks like I can save 40 mi and 8 min according to google 212 vs I90. Since I don't take advantage of the 75-80 mph speed limit I should save even more time. Its only 240 mi so gasing up in Sturgis should mean no gas stops. Anything interesting on that route? I've done the I90 drive years ago, Gillette and Sheridan are interesting ranch towns(for an easterner) otherwise I don't recall anything interesting on this route.
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Old 07-04-2019, 08:34 AM   #2
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We went last year. Saw all the western 'stuff', Devils Tower, Custer, Deadwood, etc. I have to admit, Custers Last Stand area was a disappointment. Just a big grass rolling hilled field with old headstones all over. Yet, I still recommend going.


We were staying in Buffalo, WY. We also stayed in Spearfish, SD. I recommend both. Downtown Buffalo has an old (still working) hotel that is an almost "must" to go in and see. But that appears to be out of your way.


We also drove up through the Bighorn Mountains. Drove 'off road' to a beautiful lake, and just looked around. I loved that whole area........I have "people claustrophobia" and that general area is the best spot for such a disease.


On your question, I'd take 212 up and the other way back maybe.
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Old 07-04-2019, 08:39 AM   #3
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I'm heading from Badlands NP up to Glacier NP in a couple of days. Looks like I can save some miles and see some different scenery going on 212 west near Sturgis instead of I90. Anybody been on this route?

Heading to Custer's last stand for one night, it looks like I can save 40 mi and 8 min according to google 212 vs I90. Since I don't take advantage of the 75-80 mph speed limit I should save even more time. Its only 240 mi so gasing up in Sturgis should mean no gas stops. Anything interesting on that route? I've done the I90 drive years ago, Gillette and Sheridan are interesting ranch towns(for an easterner) otherwise I don't recall anything interesting on this route.
Many years ago it use to be....FILL UP before you got on 212, but now there is numerous gas stations along the way to stop at. It doesn't save any time really, but the scenery is beautiful along the way. I run it about every two years when I go see my brother and I'll be doing it this August. Not sure about points of interest, I'm usually pushing to get to Billings where I stop for the night....about a 12-13 hr run. Be sure to visit Custer's Last Casino at the base of the battlefield.
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Old 07-04-2019, 08:46 AM   #4
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I thought for 60 mph driving it would save some time with 40 miles less distance and not taking advantage of the interstate speed limit. Also, is the scenery better on 212 than I90?
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Old 07-04-2019, 08:52 AM   #5
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I thought for 60 mph driving it would save some time with 40 miles less distance and not taking advantage of the interstate speed limit. Also, is the scenery better on 212 than I90?
Define "better". I love the Wyoming/MT/SD 'scenery'. I love spotting antelope, and looking for a Booner. I think it's beautiful country. Go through the Badlands south of you, too.



But this is more "amber waves of grain" than it is "purple mountains majesty".
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Old 07-04-2019, 08:55 AM   #6
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A lot more rolling hills. Not like the flats on 90. Although I do like to stop on 90 when Devils Tower comes into view. I put on some "driving music" and just cruise 212 and it feels relaxing over running 80mph on 90.

Side note: I love running the Bad Lands right at Sunrise.
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Old 07-04-2019, 10:37 AM   #7
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Depending on where you fill up around Sturgis you may find gas that has no ethanol. I know my Harley got about 5 mpg better running that when we were out that way.

Just a side note on the 80 mph speed limit. As stated by the trooper I ďtalkedĒ to ďthere is no plus on the speed limit - it is already 80Ē. Just sayin 🥴

Definitely recommend the badlands and devils tower. Iíd take the smaller roads as well instead of the interstate - scenery is just great all around there.
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Old 07-04-2019, 05:59 PM   #8
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Thanks all. It looks like 212 it is. No reason not to go the shorter route. The day as planned looks like 340 miles so I'm glad to save a few miles and the time.

I have been buying ethanol free gas. The ethanol gas looks like about 10% or so poorer mileage. So I'll pay a little more than 10% to keep the gas stops down. Throw in that typical wind out of the west and its definitely worth it to drive the slower route and make fewer gas stops.
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Old 07-04-2019, 06:08 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by jwfrede View Post
I'm heading from Badlands NP up to Glacier NP in a couple of days. Looks like I can save some miles and see some different scenery going on 212 west near Sturgis instead of I90. Anybody been on this route?

Heading to Custer's last stand for one night, it looks like I can save 40 mi and 8 min according to google 212 vs I90. Since I don't take advantage of the 75-80 mph speed limit I should save even more time. Its only 240 mi so gasing up in Sturgis should mean no gas stops. Anything interesting on that route? I've done the I90 drive years ago, Gillette and Sheridan are interesting ranch towns(for an easterner) otherwise I don't recall anything interesting on this route.
Any place has something "interesting" only if the observer is interested. I find something interesting whether it be mountains or desert, maybe sometimes the cities I find a little disgusting. Look close as you travel, you will find many things interesting if you do a little research as you go.
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Old 07-04-2019, 09:35 PM   #10
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As @BandJCarm mentioned, the Custer Battlefield monument itself is basically prairie with grave markers. Sort of like Civil War battlefields, you need to use your imagination to visualize what happened. But...

If you are in the area in June you might consider attending the Battle of Little Bighorn re-enactment. ( http://www.littlebighornreenactment.com/ ). I have no connection with it, we just attended it one year. [lived in Montana for 20 years before taking a job out of state]

I didnít know very much about the battle to that point. Read a little bit before attending to help refresh and it made the experience more enjoyable.

I donít miss the sub-zero days but almost everything else about Montana I miss on a regular basis. Oh yeah, donít miss the pay either!

In the Eastern half of the state in September? Lewis town has their Chokecherry Festival and that same weekend (and area) is the What the Hay contest, creative hay bale sculptures on the Montana Bale Trail (the real reason to go).

Around the same time in Reed Point, right off of I-90, is the Running of the Sheep. Think running of the bulls but with sheep. A fun time in a small community. Thatís something you donít see every day...
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Old 07-04-2019, 09:36 PM   #11
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Dang autocorrect. Itís Lewistown
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Old 07-04-2019, 10:10 PM   #12
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I grew up on a ranch 30 miles north of Custer Battlefield. You really need to study the backstory leading up to the battle to really understand what happened.

The next little town up the line is Hardin. There is a great Big Horn County museum that has a lot of displays and a great walking tour. Several pieces of my family history are on display there.
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Old 07-04-2019, 11:31 PM   #13
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I grew up on a ranch 30 miles north of Custer Battlefield. You really need to study the backstory leading up to the battle to really understand what happened.

The next little town up the line is Hardin. There is a great Big Horn County museum that has a lot of displays and a great walking tour. Several pieces of my family history are on display there.
I've been to the Little Big Horn Battlefield before. What I found interesting was the rifle pits and the terrain. When you see the hills you can understand how so many Indians where able to hide waiting to ambush, along with the fact that Custer thought he was going to wipe out the Indians and didn't scout,etc.
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