Laurel, Montana

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It’s tough to get past Laurel, Montana’s industrial feel, especially when you enter town on US 310, coming from the south, as I did.  Before you get to I-90 or downtown, you pass through the middle of a huge Cenex refinery, which processes 55,000 barrels of crude every day.  Then, after the highway underpass, there are railroad tracks to cross, before you finally land in Laurel’s downtown.

I had arrived in Laurel just after sunset, so I took advantage of whatever sunlight was left.  The railroad tracks are lined with silos and grain elevators, and just one block behind them…

… is Laurel’s Main Street.  DJ’s Steak Palace and bowling lanes looked like the only place that was still hopping, this late in the evening.  The north side of the street looked like a nice small town business district, but the south side, along the tracks, adds to the town’s gritty industrial feel.

But… if you can find beauty in a grain elevator at sunset, you’ll feel right at home here!

After exploring Laurel, I hopped on I-90 for the 15 mile drive to Billings, where I spent the night.

Note: This trip was first published in 2008.

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