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Old 04-28-2015, 03:09 PM   #1
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Route 2 to Great Falls

I noticed in another forum where this Route 2 was suggested as a way to get to Great Falls from the Upper Peninsula, MI. I'm very interested in this route coming from New England, and eventually want to head north to Alaska. I like the idea of a nice scenic road and less truck traffic. We are in no hurry. Are there a lot of camping options along the way? I've done up and down the entire East Coast, but this will be our first time west in a MH and toad. Any suggestions will be helpful and appreciated!
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Old 04-28-2015, 03:18 PM   #2
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One of the things that makes Route 2 interesting is that it is probably the only US highway that has two unconnected segments. The first starts in Maine and ends at the Quebec border of Vermont/New York and then it starts up again in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. It's a very scenic drive across the UP and the northern tier of the US. Some interesting stops are Teddy Roosevelt National Park and Fort Union as well as the Mall of America. Be aware that in Eastern Montana fuel is less available than you are probably used to in the East.
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Old 04-28-2015, 03:19 PM   #3
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Great Falls, MT or Great Falls, VA?


I can't help you with the Great Falls, VA part.



I grew up in Great Falls, MT.
Really two options heading west: US2 and I90/I94. US2 will be generally scenic through the badlands of ND, but you'll end up going through the Bakken. Time your stop so you don't have to stay overnight in Williston--it's busy! Minot is nice. There is a lot of truck traffic there, but it's very concentrated an hour east and an hour west of Williston.


The Interstate will generally have more spread out truck traffic, but there are nice stops along the way as well.


You can take an even more southerly route through SD and catch Mt. Rushmore.


I grew up in Great Falls--what brings you to Montana?
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Old 04-28-2015, 03:37 PM   #4
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MT 4 Runner, what brings us to Montana is the fact never been there before and heard it is beautiful. Also looking to cross the border into Canada and eventually Alaska. Want to visit sites along the way. Due to a major family health crisis, we are planning this trip on short notice as our other plans got crushed. I'm trying to gather as much info as I can. Want to head out in two weeks! Will we run into snow??
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Old 04-28-2015, 08:07 PM   #5
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We drove US 2 eastbound from Everett to St Ignace last fall with a 35' class A pulling a dolly/toad. No problem, very scenic. Plenty of campgrounds but we did plan our trip to avoid Williston and the oil fields. Most days we did 200 to 300 miles.
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Old 04-28-2015, 09:00 PM   #6
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CoupevilleDF,
We also do about 300 miles daily. It looks like we need to avoid Williston and the oil fields. Do you recall where you stayed once out of that area? Also, you mentioned Everett. Is that in Washington state?
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Old 04-28-2015, 10:30 PM   #7
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We stayed in Malta, Mt (county campground) and Minot, ND. (Private CG, not impressed). I can't remember the driving distance that day.

Yes, Everett is in WA at the western terminus of US 2 and I-5. If you want to come this far west, you can take I-5 into Canada.
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Old 04-28-2015, 11:31 PM   #8
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One campground I'd highly recommend is Fort Peck Corp of Engineers in eastern Montana near Glasgow. It has huge grassy lawns at the sites and is a nice stop. We've traveled Hwy 2 from Michigan to Washington a few times and really enjoyed it.


It's 255 miles between Minot, North Dakota and Fort Peck, Montana - a nice day's drive. Plan on staying in both to avoid the Williston area.
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Old 04-29-2015, 07:39 AM   #9
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Thanks, we really like the COE parks.
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Old 04-29-2015, 07:44 AM   #10
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When we did US 2 we took it from Glacier to Minneapolis and then back down to 90 to home. We ran across eastern Montana fairly quickly as the road is nice with very little traffic. We did have to dodge the occasional combine, but other than that it was a very neat drive. If you go to Great Falls, catch the Lewis and Clark Museum there. It is one of the better ones. I was stationed in Great Falls many years ago and it has changed dramatically over the years.
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Old 04-29-2015, 10:02 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wnytaxman View Post
If you go to Great Falls, catch the Lewis and Clark Museum there. It is one of the better ones.
The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center is very impressive. It's been there maybe 15 years. I would rate the exhibits at the same level as Smithsonian Exhibits...albeit a smaller overall scale. Very, very well curated.
Nearby Giant Springs is also a must.

There is TON to see and do in Montana. There is so much more to see and do than just Great Falls (but GF is worth 2+ days). If you're driving all this way, take the time to hit Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks.

What time of year do you plan to be here?
What are your general interests? Sightseeing? Boondocking vs parks? Hiking? Photography? Wildlife? Food? Microbreweries? (MT has the highest number of microbreweries per capita in the US)

Quote:
I was stationed in Great Falls many years ago and it has changed dramatically over the years
That's funny, I grew up in Great Falls and don't feel like it's changed much.

Probably the difference in perspective from a hometown kid who couldn't wait to leave vs. a person who knew it as an adult
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Old 04-29-2015, 10:22 AM   #12
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If there is any snow left it will certainly be gone in two weeks. Well, in Minnesota if you don't like the weather, just wait a few minutes.

I would cross N. Dak on the Interstate. Not too much to see until you get to the Western portion. Then you get into the N. Dak Badlands and the TR Nat. Park. Very scenic but it is also on the Interstate.

There is a nice KOA in Jamestown, ND, and a nice campground in Glasco right in town.

Pay attention to fuel and fill up whenever you can. It can be a really long ways from one to the next. Tha Bakken Oil Fields are something to see in themselves but of course the traffic will be heavier.
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Old 04-29-2015, 10:33 AM   #13
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We drove west on US2 last year in mid-June. We stayed in Jamestown, ND, then took 281 north until it T's with US2, then turned west. We were in a 41' motor home towing a toad. Stayed on US2 all the way to Havre (doesn't rhyme with Favre), MT, then 87 down to Great Falls. We stopped for a night in Glasgow, MT. Absolutely no problem with roads, traffic or fuel along that route.

We did NOT see any significant traffic issues as we passed through the Bakken oil field area. With the decrease in oil prices, I'd expect that activity will have diminished some this year. I know that the oil companies have stopped leasing exploration rights farther toward the western end of the Bakken.

Kinda fun, as you approach the Havre area to see the Rocky Mountains growing above the western horizon.

Good info on the sights to see in Great Falls.

We'll be a little north of Great Falls (Choteau) for the 4th of July. Parade, steak fry in the city park, rodeo and fireworks. Nothing better than that for the 4th!

Take care,
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Old 04-29-2015, 10:44 AM   #14
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When in Great Falls check out the Charlie Russell museum.
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