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.