Monday, June 18, 2018

Elko Nevada to West Yellowstone Montana

Although we only had a little over 400 miles to go today, we were going to lose an hour when we crossed into the Mountain Time Zone so we were up at 5:30 AM. It was 44 F under overcast skies when we checked out of the Elko Travelodge.

Cool grey morning in Elko

We stopped at the McDonald's on the way out of town, There was no one else there except the staff. The lady who took the order hardly spoke any English and the one making the sandwiches forgot the bacon on Sandy's bacon, egg and cheese McGriddle with no cheese and a round egg instead of a folded one. When I took it back in, it looked like they gave her extra bacon.

I-80 between Elko and Wells was quiet

Let me tell you a story about a man named Jed....

At Wells, Nevada we exited I-80 and headed north on US 93. I noted at the exit that solar powered LED lit traffic signs were getting popular. US 93 was a two-lane highway without much traffic.

This looked like a wildlife or livestock crossing

Note the deer fencing

We didn't meet much traffic but.....

This was south of Jackpot

I can't find anything about it but it looks glacial

Rest Area

With a canyon

Some of these inscriptions were a long way up

The last spot in Nevada was the little town of Jackpot. It looked like it had more casinos than people.

Crossing into Idaho, I switched my watch from 8:20 AM to 9:20. The GPS, car and phone all made the transition by themselves.

Welcome to Idaho, the "Gem State"

Dotted line and no clear view - bad combination

We encountered a long line of southbound traffic, leading me to believe there was a flag person and one lane stretch of road coming up. There was and we were the first in line. The flagman told us it would be about fifteen to twenty minutes. He was about right. I had service so I did some Facebook things while we waited.

Eventually, the pilot car came through with a line of southbound vehicles. Then he turned and we were off.

When we got to the line going the other  way, the pilot car pulled off but I was left facing southbound traffic in my lane as they tried to get around a work truck on the other side. We finally got a clear shot and I found us on the only paved lane in unflagged territory. Then we ran off the pavement before we found the next flag person.

Eventually, a few more vehicles came by behind another pilot car. Then it turned and we headed on.

We stopped at McDonald's in Twin Falls before following US 93 over the Snake River to I-84. This was also US 30, the same highway that we have followed across southern Pennsylvania on more than one occasion.

US 93 crossing the Snake River

Lava beds

The car speed limit on I-84 was a generous 80 MPH, but the trucks were restricted to 70. I don't like the idea of a semi doing 80 but I still don't like split speed limits either. Eventually I-84 cut south and we continued on the new I-86 to Pocatello.

You can legally cover a lot of ground here

Heavy rain to the south

Blue skies to the north

The Snake River

In Pocatello, we switched to I-15 north to Idaho Falls, where we stopped at a Love's Truck Stop for fuel and coffee.

I wonder how fast he was going?

Leaving Idaho Falls, we went northeast on US 20, the same highway we sometimes use in Upstate New York. Maybe some day I will pick one US highway and follow it from end to end. We climbed in the spitting rain as the temperature dropped. By the time we reached the Montana state line, the temperature was down to 49 F.

US 20 damp and cold

Glad we aren't on a bike

Pine trees at elevation

Good cattle density

People like living on hills

Welcome to the Big Sky State

Our destination - West Yellowstone Montana

The Days Inn here commands $231 per night during the week at this time of year. I traded 15,000 Wyndham Rewards points for a free night. This was the same number of points I would have needed to book a $40 room somewhere else, so I believe I traded well. Being in West Yellowstone left us poised precisely for what I planned to do tomorrow.

Tomorrow will be through Yellowstone Park, over Beartooth Pass and down to Worland, Wyoming. The next day will be through Tensleep canyon, over Powder River Pass in the Bighorn Mountains and on to Deadwood, South Dakota with a stop at Devil's Tower. After that, I have no idea.

We ordered a pizza delivered. They make large pizzas out here. We only finished half of it.  BTW, it had lots of pineapple on it. If you can't handle that, too bad:-))

I caught up all the blog work before going to bed.

Today's Route (427 Equinox miles):

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