Day 2 – Trip to Beartooth Pass


Day 2 route

Day’s distance: 330 miles
Total trip distance: 804 miles

It was a bit warmer today with lows in the mid 50s and highs in the low 90s. Mostly clear skies after the overcast that blanketed Missoula burned off.

I felt no wind except for the last section in Laurel, and even that was very light. I am not camping on this trip, so I was able to leave the top case at home in case the winds were an issue.

I started the day on Interstate 90.  I took Highway 12 east near Garrison to ride through Helena. The road was in good shape, sometimes two lanes in each direction, and 70mph, even when traveling through the narrow canyons of the Helena National Forest east of Townsend. You have to love Montana for its liberal speed limits.

Below is the view from MacDonald Pass looking east.


After the pass, you get into a lot of rolling grass covered hills. This was the most common scenery until I would get back on I-90 later in the ride.


I had a great brunch at the Hwy 12 Caffe in Townsend, just east of Helena. It was shortly after 11am, when the cafe switches from breakfast to lunch. But they suggested I try the quiche.  It was wonderful – good flavor and a delicate crust. Recommended!


Soon after lunch, continuing east I cut south on Hwy 89 to get back to I-90. Long stretches of essentially straight two lane in good condition.

One might be tempted to exceed the already generous 70 mph limits because it feels so desolate, but I did notice a police car waiting for speeders some 20 miles from nowhere. Luckily, I was only tempted to go faster.

Tomorrow I head over Beartooth Pass.

The latest weather report remains materially unchanged from yesterday. I’m hoping for good light and and absence of haze. Fingers crossed!

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