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Driving in the Big Sky
By Shannon Jackson
1 Michael's family was on vacation in Montana. They were traveling from Yellowstone in the southwest corner to Glacier Park in the northwest corner of the state. Michael was reading a tourist pamphlet he had picked up at the restaurant where they had stopped for lunch. "Hey, Dad, what's the Continental Divide?"
2 "That's the line of mountains that separates the rivers running west into the Pacific Ocean from those that run east to the Atlantic Ocean. The Continental Divide winds through Montana."
3 Michael thought back to the time his family had driven to southeastern Montana, when they'd gone to Montana's largest city, Billings. It almost seemed as if it were in another state. It was so different from his grandparents' home near Missoula in the western part of the state. He was used to seeing lots of evergreen trees and mountains on the horizon. Over in Billings, he remembered, the sky had seemed so vast. His mother had explained that that's why Montana is called "Big Sky Country." The grassy plains in that part of the state were certainly impressive.
4 Michael remarked, "This sure looks different than Billings."
5 "There are two major land regions in Montana," his mom answered. "One is the Great Plains, and the other, where Grandma and Grandpa live, is the Rocky Mountains." His mom continued, "Did you know Montana is the fourth largest state?"
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