Road Trip Scenes from The Big Empty

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I'm wrapping up a week's hiatus from magazine work, which gave me the chance to go visit some family in North Dakota.

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Even though it's a pretty long run, I like to get there by driving. It's a trip of over 1,100 miles, and this time, I covered quite a lot of it by getting off the interstate system and out into two-lane country, farther north.

Which, in eastern Montana/western North Dakota, translates pretty much to The Big Empty. Think "Lonesome Dove," when Gus and the boys finally make it up to northeastern Montana. Those scenes could have been shot just about anywhere up here.

Not only is there hardly anyone living out here, but, as I can attest from the traffic (lack thereof), hardly anyone ventures out to drive across these parts much anymore, either.

Yesterday morning, going west on Highways 2 and 200 toward Lewistown, the only "oncoming" I encountered in 3 hours' time was a set of cowboys, rounding up cattle that had escaped a barbed-wire fence. They were going right down the middle of the blacktop and were as surprised to see my car as I was to see them. (It doesn't take long to assume aloneness out in most of the The Big Empty.)

Sharing here a few on-personal-safari ?photos that I took while crossing a little-seen place of great American vastness.