As the journey continues south east towards the US border, stage 599 ensures that Montana remains pretty much off the agenda in terms of a crossing point. Yes, Highway 42 is still north of Montana in terms of longitude, but the direction of the road is headed for North Dakota in a few stages time.
599 is a downhill stage once the initial difficulties have been dealt with. The rollout is downhill but with less than a mile on the clock, the road climbs through the small town of Brownlee to the highest elevation of the stage which is reached before two miles are out of the way. That’s a big reason why this a downhill stage. After Brownlee, the road descends steeply for a short distance before a gentle lumpy slightly uphill section to four miles where the road passes north of a small lake.
After that, it’s straight and either gently downhill or flat all the way to the finish: sixteen miles of unrefined bliss. The trick here, I think, is to find a bunch and just sit in. Highway 42 intersects with Highway 643 at Keeler at eight miles but it’s an interesting arrangement because H643 south is before Keeler whereas the H643 north is afterwards and there’s over a mile between the two junctions: at least it ensures that Keeler gets the passing trade.
A companion for the entirety of the stage is the railway line which has meandered close to and away from the highway since Elbow a couple of stages ago. At Marquis, at sixteen miles, the road that runs through the town on the other side of the line is the rather aptly names Railway Avenue. Marquis is not a big place but Railway Avenue runs from one end to the other.
The road is somewhat flatter after Marquis but no less straight. A common feature of the landscape are dirt roads heading north and south and the whole landscape is arranged into a jigsaw of intersecting roads at roughly one mile intervals. The finish is just after the third such junction heading south east away from the town: the finish is also the lowest elevation of the stage at under two thousand feet, the first time that that’s occurred in a long time.
Distance: 21 miles / 34 kilometres
Ascent: 118 feet / 36 metres
RGT Magic Road: 9qWdyq0pQGRO
Max elevation: 2063 ft
Min elevation: 1952 ft
Total climbing: 119 ft
Total descent: -226 ft
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