From MI to MT....
Around the last week of May I plan on driving from Detroit, MI to Missoula, MT over the course of five days. Driving from A to B takes about 30 hours, but I'm willing to take more time getting there. Like I said, a five day maximum. Along the way, I'd like to see a few things.
I'm looking for things to see or do and events occurring the between Detroit and Missoula and in the last week of May, give or take a few days. I'm really into American history and culture, especially the that of the Old West. Beautiful landscape is definitely a plus. I've never planned a road trip before, so I'll take any advice you are willing to give.
**I'm not planning on driving any farther south than the southern border of S. Dakota.
WElcome to the forum. If you looked at Mapquest or some other mapping system the pace of 30 hours doesn't include traffic, construction, closures, etc. It may take longer. You're looking at 6 hours a day and with stops for gas and just to stretch around 8 just to get where you are going on a five day pace. Stopping and sight seeing would have to be fast. So i would suggest quick stops at national parks and nothing too far off your path.
You are looking at about 1900 miles, which if you drove normal days on Interstates with no sightseeing or detours, it's 3.5 days. This gives you some time to play with. If you take I-90 through SD, there's the Badlands, Wall Drug, and Mount Rushmore - and the Corn Palace in Mitchell.
I don't think you have enough time for Yellowstone, but if you are making a return trip, I'd try real hard to make time for it then.
Mining history in Montana
Hopefully you'll have a chance to stay in Missoula for a time. It's a great town. Be sure to breakfast at The Oxford early in your stay for some real, and eclectic, local flavor.
Butte has a great mining museum which is well worth the modest price of admission. Much of the Old West history is mining-related, so that seems to fit your desires. Also in Butte is an observation deck overlooking the Berkeley Pit, one of the largest open-pit mines on Earth. The Pit speaks to more recent mining activity, but is shouldn't be missed as long as you're in Butte.
Just west and just a handful of miles off of I-90 is Anaconda, with one of the world's tallest smokestacks at the decommissioned copper smelter there. I'm told there's a good mining museum in Anaconda, too, and I plan to visit it myself in July of this year.
The Grant-Kohrs Ranch, an attraction depicting the massive scale beef cattle ranching history of Montana is at Deer Lodge, just west of Anaconda. Again, I've never been there, but have read much about it.
Taking "The Scenic Route" (MT Highway 1) from Anaconda back to I-90 bypasses Deer Lodge but buys you a trip through Philipsburg, Montana's coolest little town (shussssssh--please don't tell anybody). A handful of miles away from P'burg is the ghost town of Granite, another exhibit of MT mining history.
Have fun planning and taking your RoadTrip.
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