US Hwy 12 – Minnesota to Montana

Our two day auto sojourn westward on US Hwy 12 from Willmar, Minnesota, to Helena, Montana, was a delightful experience. The scenery was lovely and the two-lane roads were nearly empty of travelers save us and a few locals from time to time. There was even very little road construction – having remarked about that out load, we of course ran into a significant stretch of it just before entering Helena. My one regret about the drive was that there were far too few places to pull aside and admire the landscape or take pictures. And while there was remarkably little road kill, the road kill of choice seemed to be skunk. The towns we passes were few and far between. Most of them were very small, and while some were thriving, others were desolate and ghostly. The landscape, however, was breathtaking. Cultivated fields, large open pasture land, and wetlands were the dominant features, with the topography varying between flat lands and a hills. Houses and farms were sparse. Many older homes were abandoned and fading or falling down, with vehicles, fences, barns and other out building also left behind. We had no regrets about leaving the four-lane interstate behind and following the simple two-lane highway through part of America’s heartland. In fact, we cringed at how impersonal and commercial the forty-five mile stretch of US Hwy 12 was when it merged with I-94 between Miles City and Forsyth, Montana. We will definitely be looking for as many two-lane highways as possible on our way back home.

Central Montana farm land
Central Montana farm land

 

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