One day’s exposure to mountains is better than a cartload of books. – John Muir
We pulled in late Wednesday night. Also our campground’s wifi is super slow. So tonight I’ll be a day behind.
Day 6 – Over the Mountains
What I learned:
My wife is not part of the Audubon society. Before we left the Black Hills, Jennifer was wondering what alarm was going off. It was loud and it happened at regular intervals. She didn’t believe it was a bird until I showed her. Noisy sucker. If you want to hear it click HERE.
11 hours with windy roads is harder that 14 hours with straight roads. The last bit of our treck was through Yellowstone. It is 2 lanes. Slower. Lots of cars. It winds. And it has some fun decents. I was exhausted by the time we got to our campsite.
Pull-through sites do not mean easy sites. I pulled into the site and realized one of my hoses didn’t reach. I corrected and realized my kitchen slide-out was too close to the picnic table. I moved, hooked everything up, and realized I couldn’t extend my awning because of a tree. Not a fun 20 minutes.
Pictures aren’t immersive. I realized that the reason a picture doesn’t communicate, is that it doesn’t show you what is on the left and on the right. It seems futile to try to explain to everyone how incredible the scenery is. Every time you turn a corner it is something new. Every bend in the road reveals some amazing formation. Every horizon holds a new treasure. And that was just on the road. It was amazing! Our favorite part of the drive was easily crossing the Bighorn Mountains. Majestic is a good adjective. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, you got to descend into an amazing canyon.
People get worked up over silly things. I was reading whether to use Hwy 14 over the Bighorns or Hwy 16. My initial research was avoid Hwy 14 because the descent can be treacherous. I had Jennifer look it up one more time just to make sure and she found a post of someone who claimed to be an experienced RVer griping about how Hwy 16 was so bad and that they would never do it again. I just didn’t see what the big deal was. And honestly I’m so glad I did it. It was breathtaking. You climbed this incredible ascent, into peaks, pine forest, and snow pack. Then on the way down it was a pretty smooth 6-7% grade. I barely had to use my brakes. I assume it all depends on your rig. If you have good exhaust or transmission braking you are fine. My Allison uses transmission braking and I rarely had to use my brakes. Very smooth ride. I checked and had 6.6 MPG at the top, 10.6 by the time I hit the bottom. Is it colder at the top. YES! I was a little too giddy the entire time. Honestly, the descent into Yellowstone was way more stressful. For some reason the National Parks don’t seem to think they need to put up a sign that says “Hey! Curves ahead!”
Taco Johns is not Taco Cabana. We saw a place called Taco Johns that claimed ‘West-Mex’ food. So we figured what the heck. Think Taco Bell and down grade it a bit. I wasn’t a fan. We miss Taco Cabana of Texas. It’s what Taco Bell could be.
Pictures don’t capture smell. I know I’ve said this before, but it becomes even more evident when driving into Yellowstone. Wyatt and Weston were bickering about who passed gas. Of course, it was the sulfur rising from the vents in the park.
The land is VAST!!! In Wyoming we saw beautiful mountains, a whole lot of nothing for a very long time, and then beautiful mountains again. If you want to disappear off the face of the planet, move to Wyoming.
Lastly, GPS’s aren’t always so smart. Mine refused to take us through Yellowstone. Even halfway through the park it was trying to turn me around and route me up through Montana. Finally it figured out what I was doing.
Route: Custer, SD to West Yellowstone, MT, via Hwy 16 and through Yellowstone
Campground: Grizzly RV Park
Time: Left 8:00AM CT. Arrived 7:20PM MT 11Hrs 40Mins