Day Three – Billings MT to Whitefish MT
Miles: 479.5
Elapsed Time: 11:43

Perkins was right across the street from the motel so it was a nice and easy start. After filling up and gassing up we were on our way but after only a mile or two we were up on the ridge to the north of town where we stopped for a pic and one last look at Billings. It was a nice from the top and we could see our motel and Dehler Park, but we needed to get going and we rattled off a hundred miles before we stopped in TwoDot MT. On the way to TwoDot we rode through Harlowtown which we had ridden through in 1998, but we didn’t have any recollection of it Harlowtown was the Eastern terminus on the Pacific Extension of the electrified Milwaukee Road rail line. The downtown area has an Electric Milwaukee Road locomotive right in downtown. We just rode slow through and went on our way. We did stop in TwoDot and had planned to go into the famous Two Dot Bar but we arrived there a little too early in the day and all we got as we parked out in front on a desolate street was some peeks through the pulled curtains. We only stayed long enough to take a few pics and to talk with a local old timer who stopped his pick up in the middle of the road to strike up a conversation. A short 70 miles and we were at a stop near the Showdown Ski area on the Kings Hill Pass byway. This was by far our best riding of the tip to date and we took advantage of the uphill climb and the twisting roads. We stopped on the South side of the summit at just above 7k feet. The ski trails could be seen in the distance and I don’t think there were more than three cars that passed us in the 10 or 15 minutes we were there. Continuing north on US89 took us through the Little Belt Mountains on nice a fresh road. US89 seems to be a great road everywhere we’re on it. We stopped just on the other side of the summit to catch a glimpse of Memorial Falls but it was too far of a hike for us to take the time. We continued on and stopped again at an overlook of Sluice Box Canyon. This canyon is a state park with sheer ledges and soaring cliffs as it slices its way towards the town of Belt following the Belt Creek. We were riding towards Great Falls and I knew we would be passing Harvest Moon Brewery in the town of Belt but it was off the main road and I knew the brewery was not likely to open but we saw a sign for Belt Creek Brew Pub and it was lunch time so we took the short side road into Belt. The food was average but we managed to have a pint of the Harvest Moon which is made just down the street. After lunch we cruised into Great Falls to see the falls on the Missouri River right downtown. We stopped at Rainbow Falls,

Black Eagle Falls,

Giant Springs

all within probably five miles of each other. I’m sure the falls were quite impressive when Lewis and Clark first saw them but after Black Eagle dam went up in 1890 and Rainbow Dam in 1914 the result is less than beautiful. It’s worth a stop, but it’s not really a destination point. We also saw Giant Springs and
Roe River, the shortest river in the country before we continued on towards Glacier. Great Falls was at the intersection of our figure 8 route. We stayed on US89 and blasted north toward Glacier. We knew it was going to be a long day but we were in good shape time wise. As we approached the East entrance to Glacier we saw a massive weather front coming in. We stopped in Browning to gas up and put on our rain suits. We couldn’t really tell where the rain was going to hit only that is was indeed going to hit. We got on the far side of town and consulted the weather radar on the iPhone (a whole other conversation on how technology has impacted our trip). We saw on the radar that the Going-To-The-Sun Road was completely engulfed in rain and US through the southern portion of the park looked fairly dry. It was disappointing but really an easy decision; we would have to skip the famous road and ride to the South. Our rationale was we would be seeing plenty of scenery and there is no point in riding this in the rain with almost zero visibility. The ride through the park was really quite nice and completely dry. We stopped at Three Forks Cafe in Columbia Falls for a quick bite at dinner time. We were close to our final destination so we thought we would go next door to the brewery and pick up a growler for the night. We tried several different tasters but nothing hit our fancy we just said thanks anyway. I’m sure they thought what a couple of goofballs. We arrived in Whitefish, found our motel and made the walk to Great Northern Brewery and were very pleased.