The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

10 July 2004

Out of the mountains

Williston, North Dakota — 1972.3 miles

When they assigned so-called "US" highway numbers back in the Jurassic period, east-west routes got even numbers, and the numbers increased north to south. Highway 2, therefore — there is no "US 0" — would presumably be the farthest north, and generally it is; the western leg of US 2, which runs 2100-odd miles from Everett, Washington into Michigan's Upper Peninsula, is pretty close to the 49th parallel. Which gave me an idea: since the major failing of "oldies" stations is the overfamiliar playlist, I opted to track down a Canadian station, assuming that Canadian content rules would at least expose me to some hitherto unknown tunes. And it worked, to some extent: for instance, I'd heard of Edward Bear — their "Last Song" was a big hit in the US in 1972 — but I'd missed "Masquerade," an earlier song that had made chart noises in Canada but not down here. While I might disagree with the premise philosophically, today I was a fan of Canadian Content, and thank you, CHAB, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.

Almost a third of those miles on US 2 are in Montana; in fact, the last milepost in the state is Mile 667. If there's a post for Mile 666, I didn't see it, and believe me, I looked.

I did see, however, some signs touting a highway-improvement measure billed as "4 for 2," which would expand US 2 to a four-lane road. Not being a Montana resident, I couldn't tell you whether this is a good idea or a bad one, but traffic this Saturday didn't come close to filling the two lanes that exist.

And then back into Central Time and into the spiffiest hotel in Williston, North Dakota. It's small but cozy, and what's more, it has a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Posted at 5:31 PM to World Tour '04


My wife and I once contemplated her pursuing an NWS opening (if one occurred) in Glasgow, MT. Haven't been there but the miles and miles of miles and miles in the vicinity remain appealing to us (unrelated, I'm sure, to the traffic on Atlanta's I-285), and in the extremely unlikely event that our own planned 2005 excursion to the West permits, we toy with the idea of arranging to have a look-see.

Posted by: McGehee at 11:42 AM on 11 July 2004

I doubt seriously any town east of Havre on US 2 is ever going to get to be as big as Havre is now, which is to say, Not Very. If you want to be away from it all without trudging back to Alaska, this seems like a reasonable choice.

Posted by: CGHill at 4:01 PM on 11 July 2004