Aug. 31-Sep. 1 2010

The morning was all about I-15, and here we're continuing north on that road approaching Dillon, MT.

The apparent former US 91 is to the right of I-15, and the rail line is to the right of that. I say apparent because this time, what appears to be old US 91 probably never was US 91 (though it's possible).

Still I-15.

I-15 with what is likely old US 91 on the right - and the rail line predictably to the right of that.

It's likely we've entered Silver Bow County - which is mostly filled by the city of Butte. Since 1977, Butte-Silver Bow has been a consolidated city-county: Butte takes up the whole county except separately incorporated suburbs.

I-15 in the rural southern part of Butte. Old US 91 is on the left. The way to remember the pronunciation of the city's name is that it's a beaut, not a butt. Butte is also one of very few places in America where drinking alcohol on the public right-of-way is legal.

Approaching exit 99 in southern Butte.

Mountain scenery at exit 99.

Ominous clouds on I-15 in Butte. We think that's South Buxton Frontage Road on the right, which we believe is the former US 91. Just as striking, the left side of I-15 misappears. It's on the other side of the hill on the left side of the photo.

We think that now I-15 has merged with I-90, and we're heading towards central Butte.

Continuing east on I-15/90. I noticed Montana highway signs like to talk about the "city center", as if they have some allergy to the word downtown.

North on Montana Street in Butte.

Continuing on Montana Street.

I'll never forget walking around downtown Butte in the pouring rain looking for lunch and not being able to find a single restaurant. This is Park Street, signed as Biz I-15/90.

"Meth: Not Even Once." This sign in downtown Butte has often been ridiculed by people who scoff, "Then how about twice?" They think it's funny, I guess.

Heading back west on Park Street.

Another good view in Butte.

I'm not sure exactly where this is, but it's definitely in Butte.

I-90 on Butte's west side. We think this is nearing exit 211. The road on the right could be the old US 10. Modern maps alternately mark it as Sheep Gulch Road or Bossard Road. (Bossard, not Brossart.)

From I-90, it's a view of the Anaconda Smelter Stack. The town of Anaconda is consolidated with Deer Lodge County. Anaconda once elected Socialist Party members to many of its public offices, and the county hasn't voted Republican for President since 1924. Good for them!

The historic Anaconda Smelter Stack (built in 1919) doesn't look that tall from I-90, but it's 585 feet high. The smokestack was once the tallest masonry structure in the world, and the Washington Monument would fit inside it. The smelter itself was long ago demolished.

On I-90 in Anaconda, we encountered one of the lowest speed limits ever posted on an Interstate. Thirty-five?! The Peace Bike has almost beaten that! As this was a construction zone, the 35 MPH zone was assumed to be only temporary.

The town of Deer Lodge is the county seat of Powell County. This is north on Main Street (Biz I-90 and probably also old US 10) going into town.

Main Street in downtown Deer Lodge. This is where I ate at a restaurant where I saw a Jim Hightower look-alike.

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