We’re on the road again and are pleased to report we love the rv route on Hwy 3 from Billings MT to Glacier National Park so far! We are making our way to Glacier, slowly but surely, and had a great trip today. Today’s rving tips and tales are to help you find answers you want to know when traveling this way…because we couldn’t find our answers no matter how hard we tried, so we just took a chance and went with our gut.
When you are leaving Billings, Montana you have a few options. The problem for us is that we only had 50 miles under our belts since our big breakdown and repair in Hardin, MT. So our confidence was down, to say the least. When something like that happens, it takes some distance to start feeling comfortable like you did up to that point. We really wanted to save some money on mileage AND avoid steep grades…and we did!
Most rvers stick to the interstates, assuming they won’t get into trouble. But I guarantee that if you are planning to head west from Billings to Missoula, then up toward Glacier Park, you are going to hit three passes and they are tough going up and steep going down. We’ve got new hubs…we want hills at this point…not mountain passes. PLUS when you go the interstate route you add on about 100 extra miles and with the gas mileage we are getting, um…no thanks!
So that left two main options: Highway 3 or 87. We found a bit more information about 3, including the fact that it has small towns quite frequently (no worries, they don’t slow you down) which is great for emergencies. The only trouble is that Billings has this damn cliff you need to go up on 3 to get out of the city – the airport is at the top of it, too. The word cliff isn’t exciting to rvers – but we decided to just go for it, knowing it is a short drive to the top (though steep and slow). Turned out we were at the top in no time and, no…for those of you worried like we were, what goes up does NOT come down – you never have to deal with cliffs once you get to the top (and the view of Billings from up there is spectacular).
So here was our route today, for any of you following our path (hopefully not stalkers, that would be creepy). Hope you enjoy the “drive” with us!
Highway 3: Billings to Lavina, MT
First trek is about 48 miles. There are hills but never grades or anything of concern to rvers. Little fly-by towns pop up about every 10 miles. You can see mountains in the distance but it is mainly wheat fields. Absolutely no traffic, road was in great condition. Felt completely at ease/safe on this road. Got great gas mileage because plenty of flat road. Yeah! Good gas station pit stop in Lavina, by the way.
Highway 3/12: Lavina to Harlowton, MT
Next segment is 46 miles and it was just like the first section. Little towns never make you feel completely stranded. Great roads, some hills but nothing too steep. Harlowton is a great pit stop and even has a rest area right at the next junction we took.
Highway 3/191: Harlowton to Eddies Corner MT (close to Moore, Montana)
What we thought would be our final leg of the trip today was only 40 more miles. It was a hot one so we wanted to get off the road early, relax and enjoy the scenery. We had planned to stop for the afternoon at Eddies Corner RV Park, costing only $12, which is at the junction of 3/191 and 3/87/200. BIG MISTAKE. Hear that rvers who are thinking of going to Eddies Corner? Don’t do it…honest. More on that in a bit.
The 40 mile drive was stunningly pretty with mountains on the horizon but rolling hills to drive on. We passed through the Judith Gap Wind Farm which was pretty neato to see, as you can view in our photos.
Got to the junction – a gas station/motel/rv park/diner and whatever else they could throw into the mix…all squished into about 1 acre. Maybe I exaggerate, but there were truly no rv sites. Right by the gas pumps were supposed to be 7 sites side by side. It was just parking lot spaces that were too small to fit a pop up, with electric outlets. We would have had to unhooked but people’s cars filled up some of them, so even though all 7 sites were disgusting anyway, most were blocked by cars. The one site there that was open which we could have taken (barely would fit our 5th wheel) had the electric outlet taped up with a sign that said “no!” NO? What the hell? Anyway, it was hideous. The motel was right there, too…about 5 “rooms” and 2 of them were turned into business offices. PLUS the noise from the gas station. Honestly, wouldn’t have stayed there for free.
So down the road we went…with that lovely feeling of “where are we going to stop tonight?”
Highway 3/87/200 to Stanford, Montana
Fortunately, only 28 miles west of Eddie’s Corner was a town called Stanford, MT. Right on the road was a little rv park called Double B. Very small but we were relieved to have a place to stay. The older couple who run it are as friendly, helpful and nice as can be. $25/night but they have full hookups and a little bath house and laundry, so can’t beat it. A great overnight spot.
We decided to obey the sign that said “visit historic Stanford!” as we came into town. The RV park is on the main highway and we couldn’t see the “city” from there, but discovered it was about a mile walk. We rarely go out to eat and thought it would be nice to have “linner” (that’s when we eat a big meal around 2pm, a combo of lunch and dinner, and that’s it for the day) at a cafe. There was also a museum on the way, so thought that would be fun even if a couple of miles walking in the hot sun.
However, this walk turned out to be quite funny. First, we saw maybe two humans throughout our excursion – houses looked inhabited but there was no one anywhere! Not even children! Looked like they all evacuated and we didn’t get the memo. Plus, the entire town shuts down on Monday and guess what day of the week today is? Yep…everything was closed – every single thing with exception of a bar that had bar foods. That was our linner. Even if it wasn’t Monday, there really isn’t much in Stanford, MT. Didn’t see any tourist shops or touristy-type things here. Got some nice exercise, anyway.
So that’s our story for today…tune in tomorrow as the Billings MT to Glacier National Park trek continues….For your entertainment, Spot our rving cat has posted his own rv story on his blog about almost running out of his fricking Fancy Feast Chicken Classic cat food…he’s quite a handful.
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