The Long Way Home

Is this a Montana-thing?  Do people in other states hop in their trucks and “go for a drive” up a canyon, down the river, or over the mountain when they get bored?  When you’re traveling, do you take a longer route just because it’s more scenic?

Over the years, I’ve fallen in love with taking the long way home.  This usually equates to two-lane highways, dirt roads, mountain passes or roads along winding rivers.  And yes, it always takes me longer to get home than if I would have taken the Interstate, but I find that it’s usually well worth the time.

My absolute favorite stretch of road is Montana Highway 141.  It’s a state highway that connects Highway 12 with Highway 200 while winding through some of the most beautiful farm land, valleys and creek beds around.   It’s a two-lane road that isn’t heavily used except for certain times in the summer, which makes it perfect for me to travel on my trips to-and-from my hometown of Helena.

When going this route, the entire 120 mile route ends up being on two-lane roads (as opposed to split between two-lane and Interstate).   Only 30 miles of that are on Highway 141 but it always tends to be highlight of my trip, for reasons I can’t really explain.  Perhaps every other traveler on this road views it as merely a means to get to point “B.”  To me, there’s something completely relaxing about turning onto this stretch of highway:  no need to join the ranks of speeding cars, no semi’s whizzing by, hardly any other cars on the road but me.  I love settling in, turning up my music, rolling down the windows and getting lost in thought.  And it’s never failed to provide extraordinary scenery….dawn or dusk, spring or fall…Highway 141 is gorgeous and can wear any season.  Although my favorite is spring when the grasses, trees, crops and fields are turning green.

I just happened to be in Helena last weekend (yeah, why would I break a 4 week streak of being gone?) and of course had the chance to check out 141.  So of course…my blogging-brain took over and decided that since it’s one of my favorite things…I’d share it with you too.

I was a bit worried because there was a crazy snow storm as I headed out from Helena, but once again, I wasn’t disappointed.  I promise to post an update with a spring trip so you can see the real beauty of this road with all of the mountains, etc. that are hidden by fog here.

So sit back, kick your feet up, and take a ride with me.

Relax pops…99% of these pictures were taken with the vehicle in Park, which would account for the 20 extra minutes it took me to get home on Sunday.

Pretty amazing isn’t it?  I’m constantly reminded and in awe of how lucky I am to live here and take the long way home.



  1. When you turn onto 200 does it always remind you of the “counting the cars through the canyon” game? That bridge is where you start/stop counting!

  2. You know what’s funny? As we were driving past the turn onto Hwy 200, I thought to myself, I bet Janna turned and went that way. Kinda wish we would have gone that way too! Thanks for sharing the pics, it really is beautiful.

    1. Ha Ha. You know me too well sister!! It would be sweet if you guys turned off on 141, then continued up through the Seeley/Swan to get home to Polson. I’m sure that tacks on quite a bit of time to an already-long-enough drive though!

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