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Cowboy Wave

Montana is largely rural, and like largely rural states, it is pretty friendly to most who care to be friendly back. When you’re traveling the back roads, particularly the gravel roads, you’ll encounter a variety of waves from passing pickups and motorists.

The most common is the one finger wave, accomplished by simply raising the first finger (not the middle finger as is common in urban areas) from the steering wheel. If the driver is otherwise occupied with his hands or if it is a fairly rough road, you may get a light head nod. Occasionally you may get a two finger wave which often appears as a modified peace sign if the passerby is having a particularly good day. On rare occasions, you may get an all out wave.

The most important things is that whatever wave you get, be sure and wave back.

Excerpted from "The Ultimate Montana Atlas and Travel Encyclopedia"

12,000 Miles of Montana

There are approximately 12,000 miles of roads in Montana. Many roads are originally routes blazed by the Native Indian tribes and migrating buffalo. The trails were the ones that made passing through mountain passes, around rivers, and other geographical obstacles. The first engineered road was a military supply route to the Northwest which was the Mullan Road from Walla Walla to Fort Benton in 1862. This road linked Montana territory to a natural highway from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean.

Montana’s interstate system was completed in 1988 and includes I-90, I-94, and I-15. There are a total of 1,200 Interstate miles in the state. Primary highways cover 5,450 miles in the state. Secondary roads which include county, state, and frontage roads cover a total of 4,760 miles and over a third of those roads are not paved.

Excerpted from "The Ultimate Montana Atlas and Travel Encyclopedia".

Copyright © 2003 Michael Dougherty. Use of this material for radio and television programs, printed media, webcasting, and any other source of mass dissemination is prohibited without permission of the publisher.

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