How to drive and behave in Montana this summer.

  1. The posted speed limits are 75 on the interstate and 70 mph on two lanes. This is viewed by Montanan’s as the MINIMUM speed to drive (A). Do not drive slower than the posted speed limit. Ever.

  2. The left lane is for passing only. You should take no more than 60 seconds to pass another vehicle. On two lanes, you can legally go 80 mph to pass another vehicle. Do so, because the oncoming traffic is coming at you at 75 miles per hour.

  3. If you are too scared to drive your motor home above 60 mph on a two lane road, don’t drive on a two lane road.

  4. If you have more than 5 cars stacked up behind you, pull over. NOW! It’s the law and it saves us from having to risk an accident by passing you or spend an hour driving something that should take 30 minutes.

  5. In my 4x4 pickup with a gun rack, big dog and Montana license plates, I can drive 10 miles over the speed limit. If you try this in your little car with out-of-state plates, you will get a ticket. Too bad.

  6. Don’t curse in front of our children, wives or little old ladies. Or the little old ladies will kick some manners into your ass, just the way they did to us. Seriously. Cursing in public is considered extremely rude and you will only get one polite warning.

  7. Say, “Please” and “Thank you”. It’s what civilized people do. And you’ll get a lot better service.

  8. Unless you are handed a wine list, realize that your choices for wine are red and white. Both come in a box. We don’t drink much wine. But nearly every bar has at least two micro-brews on tap.

  9. Eat at something other than a chain store for lunch or supper. If you want the taste and ambiance of real Montana, try some of the places below.

  10. If you are fishing from the bank, keep in mind that the rule in Montana is that if you can see another person fishing, you’re too close. If you come up on someone else fishing have the courtesy to ask if they are fishing up or downstream and proceed accordingly. We take our fishing etiquitte very seriously.

  11. Just because you are wearing $1000 in Orvis fishing gear or paying a guide $300 a day does not mean that you have special rights or that you should sneer at me fishing in my shorts and a cowboy hat with my dog sleeping on the bank. Remember, long after you’ve gone home I’ll still be fishing in Montana. If you are polite and nice, we might just tell a spot to fish where there are few people and you don’t need a guide.

And would you mind doing this before I head to West Yellowstone tomorrow morning? Thanks.

whistlepig, who from Wednesday morning to sundown on Sunday will have driven from Helena to Great Falls to Helena to Hamilton to Helena to West Yellowstone to Bozeman to Helena.

(A) Except within 150 miles of Missoula, where they all drive too damn slow year-round.

Here’s my suggested places to eat to get a feel for the locals. Most of these places are partially bars. Most restaurants in Montana are partially bars.

Glendive = Beer Jug
Miles City = 600 Club
Ingomar = Jersey Lilly
Red Lodge = Bogarts
Any Pickle Barrel = Missoula, Billings, Livingston, Bozeman
Helena = Windbag, Millers Crossing, Marysville
Livingston = Marks In-And-Out
Butte = Front Street Deli
Hamilton = Coffee Cup
Kalispell = Mooses
Somers = Del’s
Bigfork = Garden Bar
Libby = The place across from the Super 8 motel
Ovando = Trixies
Gardiner = Helen’s
Roscoe = Cowboy Bar
Emigrant = Old Emigrant Saloon - half the price of Chico
Missoula = Missoula Club, Zimorinos
Glasgow = Sam’s Club
Wibaux = The Mint
Norris = the Mexican place
Lewistown = The Mint
Manhattan = Sir Scott’s Oasis (make reservations)
Sidney = North 40

what ever happened to “reasonable and prudent”? I seem to remember that was the daytime freeway speed limit last time I was there 8 years ago. Not that it did me any good as 18 wheelers were limited to 65 max.

That was changed in 1999. It hasn’t been the law for years now.

And if you’re in Havre, eat at Uncle Joe’s. Get a steak if it’s suppertime and the downstairs is open, and get broasted chicken if it’s lunch and only the upstairs seating is open.

When I first drove across Montana, in 1996 in an old Toyota full to the ceiling with all my belongings, I decided that “reasonable and prudent” at dusk worked out to 99 mph. That was fun.

When we drive home (Southern Alberta), we get as far as Glendive on the Interstates, then we take 200 across at hit the Interstate at Great Falls. Two-lane and twisty, and beautiful, and desolate. There’s a fella who owns a (the?) gas station in Circle, who always tells me “I have property in Alberta, in Peace River area”, each time I go through and he asks where we’re headed. Every year so far. I hope he hasn’t sold the place by the time we go through again this year - it was up for sale last year.

If he has, then he’ll probably say “I USED to have property in Alberta…” when you tell him where you’re going.

Sorry, I meant to say that he’d put up his gas station for sale.

Not to pick nits, but points 1, 3, and 5 all seem kinda contradictory. Never drive under the speed limit. Montana… Montanians? Montana-ites? Anyway, Folks from Montana will always drive over the speed limit. If you do so you will be pulled over. So, instead drive exactly the speed limit (if you drive slower you shouldn’t be on the road), and pull over every time folks going faster than the speed limit (which will be everyone from Montana) show up behind you. Also, everyone from Montana has to risk an accident by passing all these slow-poke 75mph-ers so as to arrive at their destination in half the amount of time at an average speed of 150mph. If you don’t like it, too bad. But, be civilized. :smiley:

So, is there no way someone from out of state can drive in Montana that won’t get him either ticketed or tailgated?

Oh, and don’t forget to mention the way that Montana highway police (or whatever they’re called there) will give you a speeding ticket and act as judge and cashier on the side of the highway.

Oooof, that Rt. 200 is a hard, long ride. :smack: I used to take it all the time from here to Bismarck and Mandan.

I stop in Jordan for gas, and from there to Glendive, there ain’t nuthin. The only radio I get is an AM station out of Miles City. Thank God for CD-Rs.

Gingy, give me a holler if you pass through anytime soon.

I seem to recall that back when the national speed limit was 55, the fine was $5 payable on the spot. Keep some fivers in the sun visor and burn rubber all the way there.

Montanans have never been too enamored of the Feds dictating how fast we drive on our own roads.

Drive at the speed limit or five mph over.


I’m guessing the answer is “no”!